I’ve grown accustomed to my hometown feeling like a winter dream only a few times every year, but lately, the cold has been aggressive and chaotic with a gray sky always surrounding me. That means I’ve been spending more time inside and setting writing goals for the new year. As October came with renewal, December comes with endings. It’s often bittersweet for everything we’ve held in the past year to conclude in one month. This season feels like a sharp, tricky lesson that gives way to sentimental longing. To prepare for 2023 I’ve been thinking about what I want to pursue creatively in the future. Writing is often a slow journey that delivers an ache not so different from these winding seasons. It’s one that doesn’t have a timeline and is best when guided by inspiration. That said, like any other passion there are many tips that can push one forward in their career.
An important lesson that is helpful to remember is that to set new goals we must appreciate what we’ve already accomplished. Maybe you feel ready to dedicate the next year to new projects that will expand your writing into different genres or perhaps you feel compelled to publish your first poetry collection or third? Whatever direction you choose, take a moment to look back on your past writing successes and rejections, so you can know how to best move forward.
A goal I made in early 2022 was to create a manuscript of past work and submit it to several presses for consideration. After many rejections throughout the year, I finally got accepted by one press. The knowledge I gained about the publishing process was eye-opening. For example, finding the right home for your work, which takes research, is just as important as the finished product. Knowing the intent of your manuscript is a crucial first step before submitting your work for consideration. Treating this part of the process with just as much dedication as the writing process is beneficial to saving you time. Refining the theme of your submissions and researching journals/presses that will be interested in your writing is likely to set you up for more success. The page Poets and Writers is a great resource and one of the leading databases for publishing information. There you will find literary magazines, publishing presses, and journals that are categorized by genres. Submission windows and deadlines are included too. Look into each option and take note of the requirements as well as the style of work they publish. Social media can also be valuable in finding current calls for submissions, the Instagram pages CLMP and Chill Subs are great resources as well.
As I’m sure every writer can relate, navigating between finding validation and continued passion in the literary world is difficult. Waiting for a response takes time and can be stressful but remember this is part of the long journey of writing. If your work isn’t chosen don’t become discouraged, instead allow yourself to feel whatever emotions are necessary. Give yourself space to reevaluate your next options and when you’re ready, submit again. Often that same piece will get accepted somewhere else. Embrace this growth and remember even the best writers face both rejections and wins.
I hope this December brings you beautiful memories and that you have an abundance of writing successes in your new year!