It's hard to submit. Not only does it take time to research guidelines and editor's preferences, but, given the number of rejections that a piece may receive, it takes a massive list of markets to find a home for your writing. After I finished my MFA program, I resolved to write short works, build publication credits, and concentrate on the professional aspects of being a writer. Part of that was finding a submission process that worked for me.
On the one hand, as someone with experience working on a lit mag, I understand how tiresome it is to wade through otherwise-valid submissions that don't meet requirements, or read something that has no place going out for publication yet. On the other, I have received rejection notices that are as unprofessional as the Comic Sans font submissions that read like someone's first time in a word processor.
For writers to produce the work and struggle with it is hard enough. Then, they must wade through tons of listings, inspect the requirements, and analyze the market. It's easy to fall into the trap of writing and editing in one phase, and then searching for submissions in another. But by doing so, you lose a lot of deadlines and potential markets that won't be reading by the time you think about publication.
Just like the writing process is a stream that goes through my daily life, I have made the submission process into something I should always be doing unless there's a valid reason not to (hint: there never is). Incorporating my interests as a visual artist made the process harder. It made the research I did easier, because I was ruling out markets anyway, and harder, because I had to keep track of what work I wanted to send out, and because artwork--especially oil painting, but also post-processing photography--has a different time to completion than a writing project.
As I keep track of my publishable work, I start to envision a home for it. Sometimes, any home is better than no home. Sometimes, I want to aim higher with a piece, so I'll hold back from certain markets until after I've received rejections. Here are some tips:
I'm feeling very accomplished this month because I have works to submit and a list of markets to match before AWP, which means I have to submit by March 29th for the late March/early April deadlines. Good luck with your own submissions!
I used to hate the idea of using pre-stretched canvas. "It's a necessary evil," I told myself, even while fearing that people would look down on me as an artist.
I live in an apartment; I have a bunch of unsold paintings hanging in random places from when my boyfriend went on an art-hanging rampage (I was away), and I just don't have the space or the capacity to bother with rolls of canvas right now. I know it's better in many ways, but it's not better for me.
However, buying canvas, especially in odd sizes such as the 3x9 projects I'm working on, can be annoying. Even art stores have customers in them who might pick up a canvas and 'dent' it, stretching out a piece and distorting it. A canvas is like a notebook. It should be treated with respect, because you're going to fill it with valuable content. Shipping artwork is also difficult because even the best intentions in packing can go awry.
Thankfully, it's easy to fix these problems with a spray bottle of water, a towel or paper towel, and patience. It might take a few rounds, but if your canvas gets a weird dent--not a hole--you can fix it by spraying with water, wiping off the excess water, and waiting for it to dry back into shape. The same is true if you're fixing the distortion that a hole has caused in your canvas.
I always get frustrated by how slow the process takes. I've been wrangling my 3x9 canvases all morning because the stretcher bars are so large relative to the 'open space' where the back of the canvas is exposed. You may have to wet the canvas behind where the bar is by putting your fingers underneath the bar and spreading the water in there. Of course, improper ventilation means that you should use artificial airflow to get in there and dry it faster, or make sure that you're not in a humid climate. You may actually have to stretch out other parts of the canvas in the process of getting the entire back to tighten.
Anyway, that's why I'm sitting here, annoyed at imperfections that realistically, I'm the only one who will notice, waving around canvases like they're glowsticks and I'm the last idiot at a rave.