Monday, November 26, 2012

'Tis the Writing and Submitting Season.

One of my mother's best pieces of advice -- really more a slice of wisdom -- was:  Timing is everything.  Though she didn't work outside the home, and dated my father exclusively since the age of 15, she offered the adage to me when I was in my 20s, in relation to bosses and dating. And boy was she right! I've found it holds up in many other areas of life, too.

Like when it comes to timing our writing submissions. 

Last week, two former writing students asked me about venues where they could submit holiday-themed essays. By now of course, the choices were daily or weekly newspapers (and their online versions), and websites.  Monthly, or less frequent print publications, were out of the question.  

One writer, whose piece revolved around an event unique to her area, decided to stay local and submit to regional newspapers and websites. The other, whose essay was wider in scope,  brainstormed a list of web venues and major daily newspapers. Both resolved to start the submission thinking process sooner next year.

The ideal is to have plenty of time to submit the work to the top venues on our lists, which often means planning out and beginning submissions many months (sometimes a year) in advance.  

Which brings to mind my own philosophy about when to write  (not submit) the seasonal essay, and explains why -- four days after Thanksgiving -- I'm working today on a Thanksgiving essay, and why last week I was revising a piece about visiting a child's college in the Fall for Parents Weekend. 

Do you write ahead like that?  Storing up an inventory of pieces to submit at some future date when the timing or season is right? How does timing fit in with your writing or submission process?


Barbara McDowell Whitt said...

Lisa, while I have known for many years that editors often seek seasonal writing weeks or months ahead of time, I have never been one to make those submissions. I prefer writing about something that has just happened or is about to happen soon. My blog, where I transcribe the diary entry that I wrote 50 years ago to the night, falls within those parameters. However, I admire those of you who do write ahead of time to make our publications timely.

Amy Morgan said...

I've always been aware of hte deadlines, but when they roll around, I am not in the mood or frame of mind to write about the holiday. In my goals for 2013, I will add the seasonal deadlines. I hadn't really thought about writing them a whole year in advance while the feelings and thoughts of the "moment" were upon me and then waiting until the rolling calendar of submissions the next year to send. Great tip - thanks!