Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A tisket, a tasket, a template

Continuing along the lines of tracking and keeping track, I want to revisit, for a moment, the idea of tracking submissions to journals.

First, thank you for sharing your systems.

For those of you who don't already have a system and just haven't gotten started, I put my simple little Word document into a template that you can download.

And if you already have a swanky system that you love, and if it uses an Office program such as Word or Excel or Outlook or OneNote, you can share your own template on the Office Online site.

Now, back to our previously scheduled heat wave.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deadlines? Did I mention deadlines?

In addition to last week's crazy work deadlines, I know that contest deadlines are coming up. How do I avoid missing them?

See how in the new Writer's Guide to Office video, Don't Miss a Deadline! This little solution pairs OneNote and Outlook, so that you can keep an easy-to-read history of which contests you've entered and get a gentle reminder that it's time to send out your manuscript.

Also, a couple of people have asked me whether I've tried the solutions in my videos, so I want to answer that: Yes. This is the way I work. The video series started out by trying to explain how I use OneNote or how I put together a manuscript. I realized it would be easier to show someone. And I'm always eager to hear more about how you work.

How do you keep track of deadlines and get your work in on time?

Monday, July 27, 2009


Jane posted a photograph of her beautiful new collage.
I guess life is always a collage, scraps and snippets colliding to become something new, moments arriving and going away, people connecting. I know, that seems obvious. But sometimes, it's a celebration. Sometimes, it's overwhelming. And lately, it's been careening back and forth between the two extremes.
A bit about what's been happening around here:
FSA Grand Prix bicycle races. A lot of cheering from the sidelines.
An acceptance from Painted Bride Quarterly!
Tom's birthday dinner. Four courses, including gnocchi!
A romantic Saturday lunch at Place Pigalle, and an intriguing conversation about a painting. Weekend birthdays last all weekend.
Deadlines at work. A crazy Friday.
Shooting down the street from poetry group last Wednesday. The definition of tragedy, senseless, loss.
And now we're in a heat wave.
How is the summer treating you?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I'm working on this week

An essay entry for this and a poem about this. But I don't think there is any connection between the two.

What are you working on?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two days left

I'm two days into the intensive writing class at Richard Hugo House. That means I'm at the halfway mark, and the experience has been amazing.

The class is taught by Karen Finneyfrock, and it's small--only six of us. We're meeting every afternoon for two hours, learning and writing for the four straight days.

This means I get to work early so I can leave early, and that means I haven't gone to the gym all week. But I get out of the class and I feel so great and where I need to be.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poets hike

Up on Rattlesnake Ledge

In the blue distance

"Architecture in Literature"

Raven Chronicles has a new issue out, with a ton of writing (including a poem from me), photos (including pix by Sean Bentley), and reviews (including a review of Weathered Steps).

Porch picnic

Friday, July 3, 2009

Will free mean cheap?

I haven't posted for a while, but it hasn't been because I didn't have any ideas. I've had ideas that I wanted to share, but I haven't had the time or the energy or enough of either at the same time to pull it all together.

Today, I have a day off, and it's sunny, and I can think for more than five seconds at a time.

And time is the theme today. Time and money (just like the old saying).

One thing that got me riled up this week was a post on Seth's Blog. The post is about Chris Anderson's new book Free, which I guess is about the new economy where everything is free. (This is the upside or the downside of the Internet age, depending on how you look at it.). In this post, Seth Godin is responding to Malcolm Gladwell's comments about the book..

I'll confess right now that I haven't read Mr. Anderson's book or Mr. Gladwell's article, but one thing in Mr. Godin's blog post got me pretty steamed:

In a world of free, everyone can play.

This is huge. When there are thousands of people writing about something, many will be willing to do it for free (like poets) and some of them might even be really good (like some poets). There is no poetry shortage.

Always picking on the poets!

On the one hand, I agree that it's great that everyone can play, and everyone can get their work out. Everyone can share, and we all know that sharing is good.

But if everything is free, how does anyone get paid? Or is all this sharing in the status of hobby? Because at the end of the day, you probably need to eat. I know that I need to eat. So if everything is free, you need a day job or you need to be married to someone who has a day job or you need a patron.

If everything is free, there are no longer any professionals, and I guess that's what bugs me about the example: The assumption that Professional Poet is an oxymoron. I'd just been thinking earlier in the day that maybe as poets we need to respect ourselves a little more, be open about what we do, instead of mentioning it out of the corners of our mouths.

I could go on and on and on, but this is my day off from my day job and I'd like to work on some poems, so I'm going to try to get off my soapbox without tripping now.

Thanks for listening. Feel free to share your thoughts.