Sunday, May 22, 2011

BIC

74ยบ ~ it's a soggy one out there friends and fans of the Kangaroo, severe thunderstorms all morning, now clouds and humidity like a lung-cloak, Little Rock's new motto: The Sauna City

Rowers on the Mississippi in the Quad Cities, IL/IA
Today's work at the desk has been all about the BIC principle.  That's Butt In Chair for those not in the know, one of my guiding rules of writing, and the rowers pictured above demonstrate the rule so well.  I've been dilly-dallying a bit over the past few days and giving in to the inertia of couch-lounging.  This always leads to bouts of guilt, guilt, guilt about not getting good poetry work done while I have the time.  After all, during the school year, I cram the poetry in wherever I can and promise myself that I'll "write all summer."  To fail to use a free day for poetry must be sin, right? 

Yesterday, I made a poetry to-do list to try and contain the guilt.  This morning, after my usual Sunday jaunt to the grocery store, I took a deep breath and put my butt in the chair.  First on my list, a big one:  Submit Poems.  Just two words, a straight forward mission, easy-peasy, right?

Not so much. 

First, I opened my Excel spreadsheet of journals and highlighted all the ones that seemed to have current reading periods.  (More on that "seemed to" in a bit.)  Then, it dawned on me that I needed to know what poems I had available to go out in order to make some decisions about journals.

So, I grabbed the stack of folders that had been building up in a pile on my desk after recording rejections and began my review.  I went through a dozen poems and most of them needed minor tweaking of word choice here or linebreak there.  One poem, one that I've loved a lot since the end of last summer but hasn't gone anywhere, suddenly rearranged itself on the page and I saw the solution.  What had been three solid and longish stanzas is now broken up on the page and indented here and there.  The subject is one of heaviness and a bit of magic and the dense stanzas were making the whole thing too heavy to sustain.  Another poem saw some deep cuts and then a decision to put it on the DL (disabled list for those non-baseball fans out there) for a bit and come back to it later and see if its healed up some.  And, yes, one poem made it from the minor leagues to the majors (moving from the in-progress folder to a folder of its own).

The revision process consumed three hours; however, I was so engrossed that I didn't even feel the time pass.  Heavenly!

Finally, I went back to my list of journals and started investigating those that I'd highlighted.  Guess what?  At least three major journals that used to read year round now have reading periods from Sept - April.  Several others now have "submissions closed" signs up due to backlogs.  No matter how much I tend to my spreadsheets, I have to spend quite a bit of time updating this information whenever I sit down to submit poems.  On the other hand, I also discovered quite a few journals that used to be steadfast postal-submissions-only folks that now use online submission managers.  Woo Hoo.  To recap:  reading periods shortening; online sub systems gaining strength.

Where things stand now:  3 X 3 X 3.  I have three stacks of three poems each matched up with 3 journals for each stack.  Tomorrow, I will do the sending out, as my BIC rule has resulted in certain muscles beginning to ache.  Still, the BIC produces amazing results, so I'm not complaining (too loudly).

13 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

bic is a good rule. for me, i think i'd add nf (no facebook)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yes, Nancy, no FB and no email. :)

Karen J. Weyant said...

Have you seen Diane Lockward's blog -- she has been posting a list of journals that do accept submissions during the summer!

Kathleen said...

Good work, BIC woman! Diane Lockward's Blogalicious is very helpful on the journals with summer reading periods! The last three entries break them down, by chunks of the alphabet!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K&K. I do follow Diane's blog. So helpful.

Anita said...

BIC works. Every writer needs to try it. :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Hi, Anita! Thanks for stopping by.

drew said...

I'm exhausted just reading about your routine. :) You are a model of determination.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ah, Drew, my bursts of determination are outweighed by bursts of couch-sitting. Thanks for the support!

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

I enjoy your use of the DL for poems, and I have some documents that are still in the "minors," perhaps only high A or AA ball at this point.

Also, keep in mind some fantasy baseballers (Razzball writers in particular) call the DL the "Disgraceful List." You're work isn't going there, however.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Hey, Q. Glad I'm not alone, and thanks for the info on the Disgraceful List...hopefully neither of us have writing that ends up there! :)

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

The incorrect use of "you're" deserves the Disgraceful List though. Yeeesh.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, Q., I'll have to join you since I didn't see it until you pointed it out!

;)