The Closet Shelf

The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home.
John W. Campbell

I’ve used this quote before and I love it because I think a lot of writers keep their work tucked away and then wonder why they aren’t published. At some point if your goal is to be a published writer/poet the work needs to come off the closet shelf, from under the bed, or the hard drive and sent out for consideration. For many writers this is a scary proposition. It is much safer to keep it home and then commiserate to your writing friends that you’re a failure. Not this year, not in the year of the ox. The hard working ox sets limits for surfing the Internet, checking email and watching television…there are fields to be plowed. And if the ox dreams of seeing his/her name on the cover of a bestselling book while he/she is browsing the aisles at the warehouse store…it’s time to get to work!

1. Make a goal to gather all of your work in a central location, be it a file cabinet, a memory stick, or a notebook. It’s rewarding to see all that you’ve written in one place.

2. Design a spread sheet to handle your submissions. If Excel scares you, use a notebook.

3. Act as editor and review your work. Know when to let something go.

4. Sort your work into folders. These are my folders…design what works for you.

Edited and ready to submit.
Needs Work
Published Work (for the reprint market)
Content Writing
Food Writing

5. Using the Writer’s Market or another source, find a market for your work and submit.

6. Don’t wait around for the acceptances/rejections. Keep writing, organizing and sending work out. Now get back to work!

The Writing Ox (Nag)

*Need help with grammar? I still don’t “get” the difference between affect and effect but Mignon Fogarty makes grammar fun.

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3 Replies to “The Closet Shelf”

  1. Pat! I just struggled with affect/effect today – but i am writing to note that you spelled her surname FogErty and it is actually FogArty!!! I must google her instantly!

  2. Good post, Pat.

    This is one of the next aspects of being a writer I’d like to tackle… the transition into being a ‘published’ writer.

    Duotrope is a great resource for finding publishing markets and they have a submission tracking system as well.

  3. Thanks Karen, for noticing oops! And when I wrote it I was actually thinking of telling you that. Must fix it now!

    Thanks Yvonne, I love Duotrope!

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