On Tuesday night, a few folks from my writers group gathered for a Submissions Party. We brought extra copies of poems, envelopes, stamps, journals we’ve received during the past—and desserts (can’t leave out desserts!)—in an effort to jumpstart the process of sending submissions.
Part of the evening was spent swapping war stories: receiving our poems back without a rejection letter or slip; publications that take a year to respond; online submissions that get “lost”; comments sent by editors missing a sensitivity chip; multiple rejections from reputable places that publish inferior work (I know, poetry is in the eye of the beholder). You get the idea.
Just vocalizing our hopes for publication makes the process seem more real. And now, we are more accountable to each other than ever before. The stakes are higher because we’ve invested in each other. Not only have we committed to submitting work, despite our individual self-doubts, real or imagined, we have raised the stakes as to where we want our work to appear.
It will be interesting to have another submissions party later this year to see whose poems have been picked up by which journals. I'm incredibly optimistic about the odds of success, however. There’s something about putting our goals into the universe as a collective and seeing what comes back that just feels right.