Welcome to the first installment of Class Notes!
Before we get started on today’s lesson, let me first give a brief introduction into what you can expect. Through this series, my desire is to equip writers and poets with useful knowledge that will help them reach their full potential and become noticed by a wider audience. The information presented will come from books that I’m reading, personal experiences, and other resources that I come across.
So with all that being said, let’s get started!
Great writers are also avid readers. Never be content with where you are as a writer. Study from the masters, but also be aware with what is being published by your fellow poets. Take a few minutes out of your day and just read. Get inspired by the thoughts, emotions, and viewpoints of the author. Be critical of other people’s work, while at the same time learning what to avoid in your own work. Read enough quality work so that you can produce something that other people will enjoy reading.
2. Find Your Style.
As a writer, there are plenty of tools at your disposal. And it would be beneficial to be adept at multiple forms and techniques. However, you will eventually find a certain style that will define your writing and better express your “poet’s voice.” Once you find your style, find opportunities that will naturally bring out your best work and lead to favorable feedback.
3. Be Business-Minded.
Whether you write as a profession or a hobby, there is a market that is available to you. I believe that every artist should be compensated for their art. Although it may take some time, be on the lookout for contests, resources, and websites that are accepting submissions. Chances are, you may have already written something that will qualify. If not, then you have another challenge to tackle. Either way, try to treat your work like a business. You have merchandise that will appeal to certain customers.
4. Start Small.
You may be really talented. But so are other people. Not every poet is treated equally, so it’s best to begin in a less competitive space. As time goes on, you can upgrade to the more popular markets. For now, slow and steady is the best pace for you.
5. Professionalism is Key.
Follow the guidelines. Pay attention to the rules. Be respectful and courteous.
A good first impression is everything. Especially with people who you never met before. Proofread your poetry before submission. Choose the poems that may resonate the most with the editor. The little things communicate attentiveness and professionalism to the editor, increasing your chances of getting accepted.
6. Have a Tracking System.
Once you get into the groove of writing, you will lost count of the amount of writing that you’ve done and you don’t want to submit the same piece to different places.
Be sure to keep track of the following: title of submission, name of publication, date sent, estimated response time, date accepted, date returned, pay received (if any), and comments.
7. Expect Rejection and Learn From It.
Art is subjective. As a result, some people may not accept it. Truth is, rejection is just a part of the process. Don’t let it slow you down or discourage you from creating more content. If you received any comments or feedback, take them into account. Understand their reasoning and have an open mind. Set your ego aside and confront the criticisms.
As a writer, you should expect rejection and learn as much as you can from it. It doesn’t define you, but it should inspire you to do better.
(The information provided are my notes of a section from “Poet’s Market 2017.”)