GOAL: 100 Rejections a Year

I’ve been hearing poets online say they have a goal of accruing 100 rejections a year. I’m not sure where this trend started, but in mid-2016 LitHub carried an article by Kim Liao “Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year,” about flipping your perspective on submissions and failing best. The advice is simply this: “Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too.” It’s Samuel Beckett who wrote, “Fail, fail again, fail better.” It’s good advice. Obviously, you could send out 100 submissions to The New Yorker. That would be missing the point. Each submission should make sense given the fit between your work and the target journal, taking into account the journal’s acceptance ratio. Keep writing. Keep submitting.

I’m taking the advice to heart. I haven’t been sending my work out much over the past couple of years and a major goal for 2018 is to remedy that. In the past week, I’ve sent out over 50 poems. Two acceptances so far (one being a same-day turnaround). Not bad, or so I tell myself.

Reading in 2017

GOAL: Read 100 Books in 2018

This is my annual reading goal. I slightly exceeded my 2017 goal. My Goodreads tally says 106, but I know that includes one short story, some poetry collections, and some rather short nonfiction books.

Favorite Books in 2017.  Out of 106 read, these deserve special mention, though there are even more that I liked a lot!

Fiction General
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (An All-Time Favorite!)
Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
Shelter, by Jung Yun
Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle Zevin
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
The One-in-a-Million Boy, by Monica Wood
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

Fiction Mystery
All Things Cease to Appear, by Elizabeth Brundage
A Deadly Affection, by Cuyler Overholt
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, by Amy Stewart
Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
The Woman Next Door, by Cass Green
Liar, by K. L. Slater

Short Fiction
Roy Spivey, by Miranda July

Nonfiction Memoir
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, by Dani Shapiro
My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy

Nonfiction General
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis
The Case Against Sugar, by Gary Taubes
Secrets From the Eating Lab, by Traci Mann
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Audio Nonfiction
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah (Best Audio Ever)
Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen
Light Falls: Space, Time, and an Obsession of Einstein
The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, by Charles P. Pierce

The Billy Collins Experience, by A. M. Juster
The Whetting Stone, by Taylor Mali
Application for Release from the Dream, by Tony Hoagland

Writing Books
The Successful Author Mindset, by Joanna Penn
How to Make a Living with Your Writing, by Joanna Penn
How to Write Pulp Fiction, by James Scott Bell

Happy 2018!

Happy 2018! A new year and a new start. I started this website in 2014 and have been a complete failure as a blogger. But I’m starting over. Inspired by The 2018 Poet Bloggers Revival Tour, I am pledging to post here at least once a week, or at least one poetry-related post a month. I’ll also try to post occasionally about my reading and writing life, and I have a lot of plans for both of those areas for the coming year.

I’ll post my 2018 goals at a later time when they’re more clearly articulated. They pertain largely to writing and publishing projects. And I always have a goal of reading 100 books a year — all kinds of books. I have very eclectic reading tastes, including contemporary and classic fiction, memoir, poetry and poetry criticism, and many areas of science.  I usually have more than one book going at a time (though usually in different genres), as well as an audiobook or two. I was motivated by Chris Wolak (of the Book Cougars podcast), to make Willa Cather’s My Ántonia my first novel of 2018. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read it, even though that’s my name and my mother (whose middle name is Antonia) always told me to read it.

My first goal, though, is to get this website up and running again. . . .  so away we go.