POETS, How Might Submitting Your Work Work For You?

Meeting Nick Drake, published in *82Review, 21.1
Lately, I've been thinking about what it means to submit work to literary journals, and my process of doing that. At the beginning of 2024, I had grand plans for my submitting my poetry to journals across the world. I would write and submit every single month, update my submission spreadsheet regularly, not delay in resubmitting work when the inevitable rejections came through. etc. etc. How's that going for me? Well, I did submit work to 4 journals in January then wrote a submission for an arts grant in February, and haven't submitted anything since! I planned to get back into this month and was all set to submit to Westerly Mag but I didn't bcs I wrote the wrong date in my diary & missed the deadline LOL. Truth is, I suck at these kinds of plans, and I know I suck at them, so why do I persist in the planning?

I think it has to do with intention and process. Firstly, intention. It's a little trick of the mind. I know that if I intend to submit to 3 journals every month, then I'll submit to 3 journals some months (maybe 3 or 4 months in the year), and I'm okay with that. I don't always get published, but when I do it's a good little dopamine hit. I love seeing my work in context with other writers & artists. I really am blown away by the number of excellent writers, poets & artists in the world.
Sometimes you will hit home runs in a single month. This month, for example, I have work published in four journals: 
Having work published in 4 journals in one month is a first for me and I began submitting work over 10 years ago. It's far more usual for me to have 4 poems (or less) published in a whole year.
Secondly, submitting work is about process. I spoke to another poet recently who said it takes her all day to prepare and submit poetry for a journal. I understand. Sometimes the guidelines for formatting are fiddly and it takes time to check and re-check that you've got em right. But it's also lovely to spend a whole day with your poem/s. I know they're not babies or children (I kinda hate that comparison), but the spit and polish we apply at the submission stage is a tender act. Even when we send a poem out that we know is not ready, it lives in our bodies, our thoughts & emotions and we hope that it receives a soft landing, even if we did send it out in a cardy when it really needed a coat. Or sumthin.
Ancient Dream of Good Fortune, published in *82Review

Once upon a time I would have beaten myself up for not sticking to the submission plan. These days I tend to shrug, sometimes chuckle. C'est la vie, I say to myself. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal to not  submit. Like my partner is always telling me, "When it's time, it's time."
And when my work isn't published? I don't take it personally. There are all kinds of reasons work isn't accepted by an editor. Having submitted the work some of the time is enough.

So rather than seeing submission & rejection as any kind of failure, it's worth asking yrself: How can I make submitting my work work for me?
In the meantime, I'm double checking the deadline for the Tom Collins Poetry Prize. It's March 31st btw. Here's the LINK.