Ready To Submit your Writing? Get a Submission Tracker

Ready To Submit your Writing? Get a Submission TrackerA couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of getting your work out there, and a couple months ago, I gave some pointers about submitting to literary magazines. Now that I’ve given you the how and why, you’re at the stage where it’s time to start defining your submission plans. What would I suggest?

Make goals

Aim for one hundred rejections. That’s right. This may sound like a glass-is-half-empty kind of approach, but I’ve put a positive twist on it. If you set a goal of one hundred rejections a year, then that means you’ve submitted your work one hundred times. Think about that for a minute.

But if 100 rejections feels like a little too much your first time out, then lower the goal. Either way, make one. Lay out your plan.

Don’t hang your hopes on one piece

The more work you’ve completed and prepped, the better your odds that something gets published. While one piece is away, don’t stop to wait around for the responses. Put it out of your mind. Work on something else; make it even better than what you’ve sent out. You’d be surprised how quickly time passes when you’re focused on something else.

Track your progress

Keep track of when and where you send your stories. If you’re — like me — ridiculously lazy, then I’ve got great news for you! There are tools out there to help you keep track of your story submissions. Thanks to Robyn, I was acquainted with one some months back, and I’ve been using it ever since, but I’ve since learned of others that I think may be beneficial to share with you all. See below.

Submission Trackers

Sonar: A simple, free program developed by author Simon Haynes. It lets you plug in your manuscript name and when/where you send it. When you get a response, you simply check a box, fill out any relevant information, and Sonar does the rest. It tells you how long the submission has been out, too. This is the one I am currently using.

Duotrope: Not free, but apparently quite extensive. Membership (after a free trial period) is $5.00 a month. They have a search that allows you to sift through the market, which makes finding the ideal submission places much simpler. They also have their own custom submission tracker.

Writer’s Planner: Unlike Sonar, this one is an online tracker. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen it recommended elsewhere, so if you’d rather keep it online, then perhaps this one will work better for you.

The Writer’s Database: This one is also an online tracker, and I quite like the layout of it. In addition to the submission tracker, they have a searchable market database and a word count tracker. It’s free, too.

Matt Bell’s submission tracker: For the Excel lovers, this one is a pre-made template, so if you like Excel, but you’re too lazy to make your own tracker (as I would be), then you’re in luck.

In conclusion . . .

The submission process doesn’t have to be a stressful, daunting task. Using current technology can greatly ease the transition into publication. If you’re dealing with multiple or simultaneous submissions, then tracking your output is one way of ensuring you don’t bite off more than you can chew. And since so much of it is free, there’s really no excuse not to give it a try. So there you have it. Submitting made easy! Get your work out there!


Have a special tracker you use that you’d care to share? Any experience with the ones listed above? Let me know in the comments!

Marcy McKay’s Creative Monsters 10-Day Writing Challenge

Creative Monsters 10-Day Challenge

Photo Used with Permission

On Friday I mentioned that Marcy McKay over at Mudpie Writing is holding a 10-Day Writing Challenge. Whelp, guys, it starts tomorrow. And it’s FREE! So if you’re one of those people who battles perfectionism, self-doubt, procrastination, and other forms of writing fears, then this is the challenge for you.

Here are the details according to her site:

“The purpose of this Challenge is to give you valuable information about writing fears, direct access to me to answer specific questions, as well as to get to know other writers.

It will be FUN, INFORMATIVE , INTERACTIVE and NO PRESSURE!”

You can get more information at her site: http://mudpiewriting.com/creative-monsters-details/
Or you can sign up here: http://forms.aweber.com/form/36/1198015036.htm

If you want to learn more about Marcy, then you can probably check any post on the Sarcastic Muse and read one of her lovely comments. But if you want more detailed information, then you can learn more about her HERE.

So there you go guys: Go sign up! You won’t regret it.

Why You Should Track Your Written Words

As 2014 draws to a close, most of us are a) wondering where the heck the time went, b) perusing holiday recipes we don’t have time to prepare but want to eat, or c) reflecting on what we accomplished over the last twelve months.

Progress in writing is subjective, of course, and depends on the stage you’re in. If you are already publishing, it’s tempting to just count titles. If you have yet to think about sending your work out, you might find it hard to believe you’ve accomplished much at all.

I have a suggestion. I can hear the echoes of the other muses through the headquarters: “of course she does. She always has a suggestion.” Well, that’s partly true. Chalk it up to experience. But here’s the suggestion.

Track your words.

my tracking

Sounds simple, right? But what do you track? My answer is to track everything. Record how many words you write in blog posts. Record your word counts on each fiction project. Estimate your handwritten word count by page and record your journal input. Log your pre-write and outline efforts. If you write as part of your job, you can record that, too, if you like. Keep track of words edited in a separate column.

At the end of 2013, I sat here wondering what I’d accomplished besides novel drafts. I found a blog post (for the life of me I can’t remember who/where or I’d link it) from another writer who talked about tracking overall words written and decided to give it a try for the year. As a result, I’ve found that my naturally competitive spirit gives me a push to have something to record every day, and I also have amassed twelve months of data on how much I write, when I write it, and what I wrote the words for.

I’m suggesting it’s not a bad idea. If you set a reasonable goal or set of goals, or just track your words out of curiosity, you’ll have a new way to reflect on what you’ve accomplished by the end of 2015. If you are at all competitive or like to fill in numbers, you’ll also find that it gives you the push to get daily writing done.

I’ve made my own word tracker for 2015. I  used My Big Damn Writing Tracker for 2014, modifying it for myself with a few simple formulas to add the various columns. I keep editing separate from word generation. Take a look at different options and design your own or use one “out of the box.”

The biggest difference for me between December of 2013 and today is what I’ve learned. I have hard numbers, which is great, and can track by project or type. But I’ve also learned there’s an ebb and flow between journal and fiction, between editing and and story development (seems new ideas arrive by the boatload while editing), and other interesting tidbits. I suck at statistical analysis, but even I can figure out a few trends. Of course, the big rush is looking at my yearly word count total!

Svenja Gosen does a yearly tracker and offers it for free. Here’s the 2014 tracker. Watch here for 2015, due out this month.

Jenny Trout developed the one I initially started using. I’ve since modified it quite a bit and hope to share it soon.

If you run across a tracker out there on the web, please link to it in the comments. We all have different tastes, needs, and skill levels.

I’ll have my 2015 tracker ready in the next few days and put  a link up on our new Resources page (that will debut before the 31st). I’ve added an image above as well.


 

Do you track what you write? If yes, how. If no, would you give it a shot?