This is a post I wrote this morning. I arrived at work slightly earlier than usual and found there were only two parcels to pack, so that was soon done. I don’t access WP from the work computer, as I don’t want to blur too many lines, but I do sometimes check my emails, so I emailed this to myself.
After posting last night, I spent some time looking at poetry to see what I could do to improve. First stop was a magazine that usually rejects my work. The editor does give me advice from time to time, which only increases my confusion. I don’t always understand what they say to me, and I definitely don’t understand why things identified as faults in my work are acceptable in the work of others. I found several examples and spent half an hour studying them for clues as to what makes them publishable when I am not. I looked at all sorts of things apart from the writing and the content, including subject, voice and style, and I couldn’t se what the successful pieces had that I didn’t. I’ll have a go in a few months and see what I can see.
Better informed, but mystified, I moved on. If I keep seeking, I am sure I will find something to explain it, and even if I don’t , I am bound to learn something and improve, simply by looking at things in greater detail.
I found two by someone from the UK and decided to look him up. I do that sometimes. He writes in several forms and has published nearly a thousand pieces in 20 years. He belongs to two writers’ groups, reads in public and plans all his poems out. I’m already sensing several differences in our approach. I don’t like the idea of writers’ groups, don’t like speaking in public, and although I do think of planning I rarely do any. I say “rarely” but if you were to pin me down on detail, I may alter that to never. But I do sometimes thing of planning, which is nearly the same. However, despite the differences there is one similarity – we keep writing, learning and submitting.
My normal planning process is to think “I’m going to write something.” I may have to look at that again.
At that point, or some defined point in the future (generally after eating or watching TV) I write. Then I write some more and try to add something at the beginning that is also mentioned at the end. If you do that it looks like you had a plan. Then I take all the bad words out – long words because they are just showing off, adjectives because they are frowned on in poetry, and clichés – shards is one of the main ones that people go on about but myriads, hosts and cerulean are also unwelcome.
Then I leave it to rest. Some of my published work has been resting for a couple of years, with a gentle nudge and a prune now and again. Sometimes I add a bit, but mostly it’s a process of reduction. Then one day I send it out into the world. It often returns. So I cut, shape and send it out again. If it comes back too many times, I think about reusing bits of it.
It’s sometimes difficult to judge. Some poems go out four or five times and are eventually accepted. Others go once or twice and get parked. It all depends on how much confidence I have in them. One went out five times before being accepted, another was accepted on its fourth attempt (four days after being rejected by another magazine). As Chuck Berry said ” It goes to show you can never can tell.”
I do admire your perseverance
Some people have talent, others have perseverance… 🙂
I’m sure you know the quote about the balance between the two
Was it this one?
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
I was thinking about this one: “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” said Thomas Edison. Sorry to have been obscure
Not at all, it was me failing to connect my brain. 🙂 IT is, of course, correct.
I was thinking of this one: “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” said Thomas Edison. Sorry to have been obscure.
Onward, ho! We might be old, but we can still learn.
Learning is one of the fun parts of getting old,
I admire anyone who writes poetry. I haven’t the patience or the vocabulary. All those rejections must be so wearing but you just keep going.
I won’t argue (though you are wrong – it just takes practice to write poetry). 🙂 Ys, the rejections can be wearing, but learning to cope with that is part of writing. If I can eat salad I can certainly shrug off a few rejections. 🙂
Perhaps the editors don’t know very clearly why they prefer one contribution to another. I have occasionally judged music competitions for children and would have been very hard pushed to totally justify my preference for one player over another. There are so many variables.
Yes, it must be difficult. I don’t think being an editor can be too much fun. All those people criticising… 🙂