Lori A May’s Guide to Doing your To-dos, organizing your organizing, tracking your submitting tracking and other things…
As you navigate the wonderful and, perhaps, overwhelming assortment of to-dos you’d like to accomplish in your term(s) and overall writing life, you may want to create some organizational lists, spreadsheets, or other systems for keeping it all tidy and clear. The clearer your goal-setting, the easier it is to navigate your wish list! Here are some resources to get you started in plotting out your dreams, wishes, and actionable to-dos:

Here are some resources to help you find a time/project management system to work for your needs—
  • Setting (& achieving) S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  • Time and project management

Sample ACTION PLAN with SMART Goals
Desired Goal
Specifics: How will I achieve this?
Ex: finish manuscript
Write 1 page every morning before/after work
July 1 - Dec 31
183 days = 183 pages
Ex: send out essays
Submit 1 essay to 1 new journal every other week
-write an essay every other Friday, submit every other Wednesday
July 1 - Dec 31
26 weeks = 13 submissions
Ex: submit op-eds
Submit 1 op-ed every month
-write op-ed on 1st of the month, submit by 10th of the month
July 1 - Dec 31
6 months = 6 submissions
Tracking submissions: freelance, lit journals, agent/editor queries
Writer’s Digest magazine has some great templates for tracking your submissions, and I’m including a few of the most useful ones here. This is the direct link if you want to see other savable files they offer: https://www.writersdigest.com/workbook-17/free-writing-trackers
You can download these files and then adjust to your own needs, aesthetic interests, etc.
Best of anthologies & notable places to publish short pieces
  • Best Canadian Essays annual series
  • Best American series (best essays, best travel, best food, etc)
  • Journals read for Best of the Net anthology
  • Someone thinks this is the list of the top literary journals. This may not be fully accurate as far as ranking, I dunno, but at least it shares some of the most-read journals, so it’s worth a look:
  • ...and a few more resources on Canadian lit journals

Short publications leading to book deals
Hi all. At some point we’ll be discussing how placing essays in prominent journals can lead to book deals, as editors and agents read and seek out authors of interest. So I wanted to share a few examples of where that has actually happened, with an article or essay leading to an agent, leading to a book deal:
  • First appeared in 2016 in VQR, then reprinted in Best American Essays