Friday, October 28, 2011

The Trick to Getting Published

Yesterday, something reminded me of this poem I wrote long ago. I couldn't find a copy on my computer, but I found a printed one in my rejections file and updated it a bit. (It's still true!)

The Trick to Getting Published

The other day, I had a thought, a topic to explore
that some enlightened editor would surely pay me for.
I found my tattered notebook, quickly filled a page or two
with details, every nuance, every angle to pursue,
fetched a cup of coffee and considered with delight:
the object of this effort is to write.

I visited the library and checked the latest facts,
browsed my local bookstore for some current paperbacks,
logged onto the Internet and searched for writing tips,
joined in a discussion on the use of paperclips,
then briefly had a moment of incredible insight:
the point of this endeavor is to write.

Yesterday, I canned a dozen quarts of pickled beans,
continuously thinking of my target magazines.
I wiped my dusty monitor and took apart the mouse,
washed three loads of laundry, vacuumed the entire house.
Now I must admit the thing that’s caused me such a fright:
the trick to getting published is to write.

I rearranged my office, bought an ergonomic chair,
scoured the cupboards till I found the chocolates hidden there,
studied my Thesaurus in a search for hidden clues,
looked again for e-mail, checked the weather, watched the news,
racked my brains and thought about escape with all my might,
and now it’s time to buckle down and write.

I’ve invested in a program to keep track of my submissions,
learned about legalities and contracts and permissions,
listed editors who will accept what’s not exclusive,
outlined the procedure, but my goal is still elusive.
All this preparation, yet the end is not in sight.
Somehow I really must sit down and write.

I’ve packed the lunches, sent the kids off on their way to school,
practiced every exercise and studied every tool,
found recycled paper, matching envelopes to stuff,
called my sister for support, then said enough’s enough.
Now that my enthusiasm’s reached its utmost height,
It’s finally time to settle down and write.

Don't forget to enter our Teaching Authors Book Giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth! Read Esther's interview with author and annotator Leonard Marcus here.

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Random Noodling. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken


Diane Mayr said...

I haven't pickled the beans, but I've done quite a bit of the rest! Nice job, JoAnn.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks, Diane! I haven't actually pickled beans, either--let's call that poetic license!

Robyn Hood Black said...

I've eaten pickles. And beans. And can come up with a thousand more distractions if you ever start running low... ;0) Thanks for sharing!

Mary Lee said...

Love how the ramblings always lead you to the only way to get the job done -- sit down and WRITE!!!

K @houseofprowse said...

Too true - just sit and write!
Visiting you from Twitter land

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Robyn, ha! As if I needed more distractions, right?

Yes, Mary Lee, I just keep heading back to my desk. Or my comfy loveseat. Or the front porch if it's nice outside!

K, of course--sounds easy, doesn't it? I'd better go find my notebook & pen!