I've been writing a column for Monkey Bicycle on life after an MFA, basically tips on the writing life outside of academia. According to the editor, it gets about as many hits as their fiction does, which is pretty awesome. I started a new project with it in which I'm trying to get published in journals in all 50 states. I came into it with publications already in over half the states. The challenge I've set is that it isn't enough to just be published in a state; I'd like to be published WELL. That means in a solid journal that I respect. Prestigious journals would be nice, too. So, for example, when it comes to Massachusetts, I can list nearly a dozen journals I've been in, but none of them is Ploughshares, so I've held off adding it to the list. But I may well change this because I have several journals under my belt that I respect more than some of the prestigious journals. (Read the forthcoming entry to get more explanation of this.) I've also focused primarily on print journals, though I've thrown in some online ones as well.
The column is going well. It ties in nicely with my literary journal review column, also in Monkey Bicycle, since I still need a few states, which means I need to research some journals, etc.
It's been really interesting researching literary journals in various states, seeing what each have to offer. What I'm finding is that there are fewer journals with actual ties to regions than I had thought. There are many, many online journals that rarely really connect with particular state (often because they have editors in multiple states). But, to be honest, I'm not targeting very many online journals because I see many of them as being simply white noise. This isn't true of all by any means, but let's be honest, there are hundreds of online journals out there, and it wouldn't be that hard to connect them to states and place something with them. What makes this challenging is selectivity.
I also have a fiction review column in Prick of the Spindle called The Lit Report which gives me an excuse to read some recent and forthcoming fiction, which is something I often neglect in favor of poetry. Of course, I also have a poetry review column in Coal Hill Review, the online wing of Autumn House Press. So I'm reading a lot of what's being published these days.
Busy busy busy.