Monday, May 15, 2017

The Submission-a-Month Plan: Mid-May Report

My chief goal for 2017 is to submit a different project somewhere every single month. It can be a creative project or a scholarly project; it can be a big project or a little project. Options include: children's book proposal, completed children's book manuscript, academic philosophy article, academic children's literature article, personal essay, poem, grant application, and more. I don't have to have a single submission actually accepted, mind you. Whether something gets accepted is up to the universe. Whether it gets submitted is up to me.

I am loving this plan so much. As soon as I press SEND, I feel a shiver of anticipation: now, there is at least a chance that something nice can happen. Admittedly, the nice thing is unlikely to happen any time soon, as the review process can drag on for months. And in some cases, it's unlikely to happen at all. But it is definitely sooooo much more likely to happen than if I hadn't pressed SEND. Pressing SEND is key.

So far this year, this is what I've submitted:

January: grant proposal to the Kerlan Collection of Children's Literature at the University of Minnesota for travel funds to spend a week in Minneapolis researching their archived materials on several children's authors I adore - Maud Hart Lovelace, Eleanor Estes, Carol Ryrie Brink.
VERDICT: Accepted. I head for Minneapolis next week.

February: massively revised philosophy paper on artistic integrity, submitted to the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. This is a paper I've presented to a number of university audiences over a number of years, with increasing embarrassment at still dragging the same old thing around with me wherever I go. It was time - long past time - either to do something with it or just consign it to the flames. VERDICT JUST IN: "Accept with major edits." I'm stunned, actually, as my usual verdict is "revise and resubmit," and this is a step up from that- and for a paper I almost abandoned. This may very well be my philosophical swan song, and I'm glad I've had the chance to sing it.

March: significantly revised academic children's literature paper on Pinky Pye and Ginger Pye of Eleanor Estes, the fruit of a research trip to the University of Connecticut library last fall. I submitted this to the Children's Literature Association Quarterly last November (I think it was) and did indeed get my usual revise-and-resubmit verdict earlier this year. So my task for March was to revise and resubmit, which I did. CURRENT STATUS: waiting to hear and cautiously optimistic.

April: a children's poem submitted to Highlights. This is a first for me, to submit one of my poems somewhere, and it's a long shot, as their website says explicitly that they are overstocked with poetry right now and are especially interested in non-rhyming poems, which mine is not. But, hey, you never know, right? CURRENT STATUS: waiting to hear, but not very hopeful. Still, I kept to my submission-a-month goal.

May: an academic children's literature paper submitted to the journal Children's Literature. The paper is called "Trying to Be Good (with Bad Results): The Wouldbegoods, Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, and Ivy and Bean: Bound to be Bad." This is a major expansion and revision of a paper I gave at the Children's Literature Association conference in June of 2015. It was a ton of work to overhaul it, but great joy to press SEND last week. CURRENT STATUS: waiting to hear and expecting a verdict of "revise and submit."

For June I'm trying to decide if doing the major edits on the artistic integrity paper (February's project) and resubmitting it is enough to count as meeting my goal for June, or if I need to submit something completely new, which means coming up with (i.e., writing) something completely new. I'm inclined toward thinking major edits on the paper is good enough. Anyway, I'm the one who makes the rules here, so I get to decide.

Then, that will be half a year done, with a delicious six months to go, when I'll turn my attention back to creative rather than scholarly projects. The rest of my life may be in flaming ruins (as in fact it is right now), but at least I'm sticking to my submission-a-month plan. At least I have that.

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