I've been focusing, ahem, trying to focus on writing, etc lately, along with the usual cram of useful/not-so-useful get-togethers that summer seems to inspire. There's something about summer that makes me feel the time is extra, a catch-up. As in, can I get everything I didn't do last year into this year via summer? Can I get far enough ahead in what I want to do this year so I can relax in Autumn? The box of years is a mostly useless distinction, but yet I still keep lists of books read, films seen, books I want to read and films I want to see, odd budgets (this I won't explain), home improvements, dog training, wardrobe adjustments, fitness programs. All of this is acknowledged by me yearly. Perhaps it's crap for me to say I don't "do" new years' resolutions. I don't do them, I have it all figured out well in advance of that holiday what I want and don't want from my year.
What I'm doing this week: re-ordering Money for Sunsets, which in some forums has developed a new title. What I've found particularly useful: the use of a three-ring binder (though darling has given me one that will fit 240 pages, the flipping through and movement sans computer has been a healthy adjustment to having fourteen electronic versions that haunt me (did I save the right version and where?), as I'm mostly a disorganized writer choosing to focus on the process of writing rather than the storage of it, the submitting of it, all of which leads to regular trouble finding the "it" I'm looking for), a newfound honesty with what doesn't work, several new poems that do, and this article from Tupelo Press editor, Jeffrey Levine:
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Poetry Manuscript:
Some Ideas on Creation and Order
by Jeffrey Levine, Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press
From the January 2007 issue of AWP Job List. © 2007 The Association of Writers & Writing Programs.
Some considerations, a bakers dozen, are offered here by one who reads 3- to- 4,000 manuscripts a year. Admittedly, a good deal of what I say is concrete, generic, and in some cases, "merely" stylistic. Since style is, as ever, informed by matters of taste, you must take into account that these thoughts reflect my own prejudices and preferences, and that I've made no attempt to gather a consensus from other editors. Beyond style, however, other advice here concerns more abstract matters: what makes a book a book? How is the artistic process applied to making a poetry manuscript cohere? What are some useful approaches to the art of transforming individual poems into a transcendent whole?
The rest can be found here:
Full of obvious tips on submitting that trip many writers up to real truth on how to get dirty and get things arranged, this is one of the better guides I've found on this subject.