To understand the title of today's post, you'll have to click over and read Kelli's post "Submit Like a Man." As one of the editors of Crab Creek Review, Kelli discusses the gender difference when her journal sends out a rejection that asks the writer to submit again. Apparently, male writers submit again right away and female writers wait too long. While this is purely anecdotal, I'm mesmerized by it. I confess, I've usually waited at least six months and most often until the next submission period if the journal has one. The world is full of stories about how swamped journal editors are and one wouldn't want to offend by submitting too often, right? Well, after reading Kelli's post, I've changed my approach this fall.
In October, I resubmitted to a journal that specified they wanted to see more work and I should disregard the submission period. I haven't heard back from this journal, but I appreciated their pointed comment that left no doubt about how long I should wait.
Today, I've just resubmitted to a journal that rejected me at the end of November. I know this is a terrible time to submit as most editors and first-readers will be taking a break over the holiday, so my poems will just sit there gathering dust for a few weeks. For me, however, this is fine. I'd rather have them out there waiting around a bit because I tend to forget about resubmitting once I've filed the rejection away. I've tried making notes on post-its or leaving the journal's file folder out on the desk, but the clutter usually wins.
As I was working, I was also mulling over this word: submission. Like many words, there are a variety of definitions, of course, but I was caught by the idea of giving up authority...to submit to some Other that holds some Power, to be submissive. (Here, the idea of the Alpha dog kept insisting that I acknowledge it.) In the act of sending the poems out there, we are also giving the power of judgment to the editor. This means admitting that we value the judgment of that editor and are willing to lie down and lower our eyes in submission as good members of the pack. Woof.
I know that this may seem obvious to many of you, Dear Readers, but I'm a slow learner.
In any case, as rejection (or being winnowed out as one blogger (name I can't remember) recently put it) will always be a part of my life as a writer, I'm always searching for better ways to make it work for me rather than against me. Perhaps recognizing my own part in giving up some of my personal power will help with that. If not....there's always chocolate!