Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thrift Shopping for Gems Overlooked

Yep, that’s one of the things I did last week while waiting for my computer connection to be repaired.
We went to the new Goodwill that opened here not long ago. We spent over an hour in there and BJ, our friend Jody, and I all came away with something new to us, something that filled current needs. We left because we had no spare cash to get more.
I found something—an electric fuzz shaver—that I’d been looking for in stores and catalogs for at least six months. Btw, it works great. I also got a set of new flannel sheets for $5. I couldn’t beat that with a stick.
Later, while in the same frame of mind, I looked on my desktop’s hard drive when I got home. My poor documents directory was full of stuff that I had yet to do something with. There were articles for children and adults, literary essays that only needed a finishing polish before sending them out, as well as stories for all ages and in all genres.
Among the poetry files were two books that needed those finishing touches. Both could go to competitions. I knew that. So, why hadn’t I already put together a poetry chapbook to enter, or polished the full-length poetry book so that it could begin the rounds of agents/publishers? What about our travel book and the women’s novel?
I had no real excuse. There were some good pieces within my personal slush pile, and I was ignoring them in favor of new ideas or flights of fancy. I’d delegated these potential gems to a littered cache on my desktop to languish unappreciated until some undefined whim moved me to rescue them. How could I have so little faith in myself and my abilities?
That’s when the truth raised its arms and brought the 2x4 down, hard, on my head.
It wasn’t a lack of faith that had intervened and prevented me from completing the writing cycle on any of those wee gems. It wasn’t fear, either.
It was because I had more interests and less discipline than I needed. I saw potential in everything. “Ooo… That would make a great little filler piece for the travel mag that we enjoy so much.” “Hey, I could do a piece on that dog sled race from last weekend. We have pics available, and it could go for kids.”
My problem was that I’d lost control of my ideas, again. (I really have to carry more ropes with me so that I can keep them corralled better.)
I’d diagnosed the disease. I looked for a treatment, one that I could begin immediately. I realized the only way to do the job justice was to take the time to do them all now and be done with it.
“Travel slowly and grasp the details.” became my new work motto.
I chose to take one piece every other day and revise, edit, rewrite, redirect, or whatever it took. Before I could begin work on another, I had to submit the first one somewhere. A paying market wasn’t as important as simply beginning the submission process and having the thing out of my drive. I could easily live with it sitting in a submission’s tracking program.
Now that I’ve begun slowly, it will be easier to move forward. Before I lost my connection with the Internet, I’d already placed three poems and this week I plan to send out at least two articles/stories. I’ve finished a revision on one article and begun the marketing process. I can submit the one article tomorrow since I’m back online.
I spent today doing marketing research that I’d never heard of before, but which seemed to be a good fit for some of what I have to send out.
There you have it, peeps. I’m doing a bit of thrift shopping in my own computer for future published pieces. The cool thing is that a few of the ones I glanced at gave me ideas for at least two or more articles/stories out of that same subject that I can peddle to other venues.
I think I’ll shop closer to home more frequently. How about you? Oh, I also found several pieces that will make great children’s books for a couple of publishers I’ve been investigating.
A couple of weeks away from the net and I’m energized again for these projects. My new scheduling program will work well with this newly intended writing activity.
Dive into your personal slush file and see what you can drag out into the light. Distance lends perspective, they say. Have a great week, all.
Until later,

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