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The Submission Spreadsheet

Sending poems out into the world means that pieces move from the composition book, to a sheet of yellow loose leaf, to a printed page. Hopefully at each step they are getting better, a little more refined, a little closer to finding their form.

It’s a way to honor the work, to ensure that it has a life outside the moment of inspiration.

As a part of her own Homeschool MFA, my friend Tresta Payne, set the audacious goal of 2 submissions each month. I was overjoyed when I heard! She keeps track of her reading and submissions in a spreadsheet.

At first I thought that wasn’t a method that I would use. I could simply log submissions in my calendar. But then I made a simple chart to log what I submitted and when and how long till I might hear a reply…and what that reply was. And this has become an invaluable resource.

When the response is no, I follow the advice that Sally Thomas offered:

I made a submission tracker for you too! Don’t get too excited. My spreadsheet skills are extremely limited. But you can make a copy of this doc and then edit it for your purposes.

To see all the posts in the series Listening to My Life :: Homeschooling an MFA in Poetry, click here.

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