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Tips for Developing Submission Habits (Tip #1)
Written by
Anna Leahy
May 2011
Written by
Anna Leahy
May 2011


On Friday, May 6, The Submission Mission had its first live chat among SheWriters. Out of the conversation emerged some tips for developing—or redeveloping—submission habits. I’ll post these tips throughout May as we prepare for the next live chat on June 3.


The Submission Mission’s live chat occurs once a month, so it makes sense to use each live chat as a deadline for a certain number of submissions. One SheWriter did just that on May 6; she committed to two submissions within the next month, with plans to increase her rate over time.

I didn’t want to put the work off, though, so my goal was to submit several pieces within 48 hours of the live chat. A closer deadline feels firmer to me, and I have a better sense of what the schedule for next 48 hours looks like. I’m happy to report the goal was achievable. I sent work to 13 journals, a few of which were contests. I surprised myself. In fact, I can hardly believe it. It took six hours, but I had more work waiting than I had thought and did some simultaneous submissions.

I was pushed not only by the live chat on Friday, but also by the Let’s Submit event on Facebook posted by Megz Pokrass. In her words, “have gotten lazy about submitting- if we (a group of us) do it we can celebrate and motivate and... oh crap. I'm lazy. So the goal is 10 submissions by the end of the day. Saturday. Tomorrow.” By about 10p.m. on Saturday, she posted that she surpassed her goal, doing 12 submissions.

I know of one writer whose long-term goal was to be published in at least one literary journal in each of the fifty states. Don’t confuse publication goals with submission goals, but an arbitrary submission goal may push you but also be achievable. If your last name begins with L, why not submit poems to a journal starting with the letter L? If you have a bird poem, maybe that goes to The LBJ: Avian Life, Literary Arts (LBJ, it turns out, is not a reference to the president). Or maybe you have something edgy for The Laurel Review and The Los Angeles Review.

Set a submission goal today! Write it on a post-it and put it on your computer. Or type it into a comment on this post and report back. Or state it on Facebook for all your friends to see. Submit something—or several somethings—before June 3. If you can do it one month, you can do it month after month.


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