A Success Story + A (Paid) Submission Opportunity

by | Jul 30, 2021 | Weekly Prompt

As we wrap up our month devoted to publishing your work, I’d like to share a publishing success story with you as well as an opportunity to submit your work.

The success story comes from Gregg Murray, a dear friend, poet, and essayist who participated in the Studio Friend January Challenge at the start of this year. For our workshop, Gregg shared a draft of a luminous essay called “Water.” He has since revised the essay and submitted it to publications, and found a home for it at a journal called Eckleburg.

I asked Gregg some questions about how he navigated the submissions process.

How did you approach revising your essay?
I approached it with my workshop notes in hand. I had a strong workshop with excellent insights from the team. When I took notes, I wrote them in terms of which changes am I really going to make. Sometimes I can be too ambitious with notes — or too vague (i.e. think about x or y) — I just made decisions about what concrete changes I would make.

How did you know it was done, and ready to submit?
I made the changes and then read it again a couple of times. Then, when I thought it felt like a more solid draft, I went ahead and shared it with 2 separate people. I asked them to tell me if anything tripped them up or was confusing. Not big picture stuff. I wanted to know what was unclear or erroneous. Copyedits too. I always wait, as well, giving the piece time to breathe, time for me to forget it and then look at it with fresh eyes. In this next look, I tried to remind myself not to overdo it, not to rewrite too much. The feedback was positive, and I didn’t want to ruin anything magical in the first draft by changing it too much.

How did you go about choosing where to submit? Did you do a simultaneous submission to more than one journal?
This is a hard one for me. It’s a bit of a pain point for me — I’m sure I’m not alone — to submit my work. Obviously, rejection hurts. I just submitted to a handful of places I could think of off the top of my head. I aimed high, though I don’t know how the relative levels of competition, only that I didn’t want to submit to The New Yorker &c with this. I just didn’t want to go an entire year of getting rejected, especially when the piece is time-sensitive. I talk about COVID-19, a recent film, a couple of other things from 2020. I also didn’t want to spend too much time researching submission specs and journal fit — I’ve done that in the past.

What made you decide to submit to Eckleburg?
I’ve read essays in there over the past few years, here and there. Mainly, I like and trust Vipra [Ghimire], the CNF editor. That was the biggest factor. I knew she’d give the essay a good read and would take care of it if she took it.

How would you describe Eckleburg and its aesthetic?

I feel like Eckleburg’s CNF is very honest, very well crafted. I appreciate the diversity of perspectives, experiences written about. The diversity of styles.

When can we read your essay in the journal?
This essay was picked up pretty quickly, but I haven’t discussed the edits yet and don’t have a timetable. I will check in with the editor in the next couple of weeks, since “Water” would probably be more effective this year than next.

Prompt: A Submissions Opportunity

Urban Ivy seeks submissions for a forthcoming coffee table book called Daydreamer. They are especially seeking prose submissions of between 500-1000 words, so this could be an ideal opportunity for placing something you wrote in response to a Write Away prompt. Urban Ivy will pay $75 for accepted poems and $125 for prose.

Here are the details of what they are looking for–a prompt in itself!–and here is a link to where to submit with even more detail:

What do you dream of? What pulls you out of the mundane, the monotonous, and elevates your thoughts? We at Urban Ivy want to hear from writers around the world and throughout our creative community. We’re looking for personal essays, poems, songs, and stories for our next coffee table book that are playful, interactive, transcendent, and evoke the inner child. We want to create something with you that hasn’t been made and make space for unique pieces that have yet to exist. Bring your daydreams, your good vibes, your bright thoughts, and your most creative ideas. As always, we thank you in advance for trusting us with such content.

The last day to submit is August 11.