Clifford Brooks

Clifford Brooks

Poet | Writer | Teacher

If you want to change the world, educate it. If you want to get through education in the time of COVID, focus on the “power team”. Life is different. To stay ahead of the curve with your kid’s education – bring in a tutor.  They are a strong linebacker. Zoom and Skype allow scheduled meetings…

The post The New Education: Learning in the Time of COVID appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

If you want to change the world, educate it. If you want to get through education in the time of COVID, focus on the “power team”. Life is different. To stay ahead of the curve with your kid’s education – bring in a tutor.  They are a strong linebacker.

Zoom and Skype allow scheduled meetings that are 100% safe. Think of a quality tutor as someone to fill in the blanks left between teacher and student. It is not for lack of trying. I believe that there are as many ways to learn as there are those who do it. Tutors may be able to decipher something in a new way or flesh out an idea.

It is a specialized niche not heard about outside of school libraries. “Tutors” is a word, that because of its uncommon use, considered a less than precious commodity. Check their credentials. Understand they are not miracle workers. There are folks you can contact to point you in the right direction.

It helps if you like your tutor; that your kids work with them. Tutors are objective, positive influences in this shelter-in-place-lifestyle. It is not about sacrificing things. This time is to forge a new path. We’ll get back to live music (please God) and open parks sooner than we think. It feels like more people are doing the right thing.

As a tutor, it’s not my job to have an opinion. No kid of yours will have to answer the question, “What does Cliff Brooks think about..,anything?” A quality tutor leaves pulpit and soapbox at home. What is important is that you hire someone who makes time to touch base with teachers to make sure they follow the right path.

The “power team” is you, your spouse, teachers, and a tutor. It closes the wagon train around a solid foundation in good learning skills. As one on the spectrum, I understand those high functioning. If something is over my head, I’ll be honest. Hammer on honesty.

If you’re grown and think about getting back into your creative life, a tutor never hurts there, either. We have more time to think. There’s more to read. Do you want to put something on paper to work through COVID, leave a mark, show you were here? You can do it all on your own, but the helpful advice from a professional gets around hard pitfalls they stumbled into.

Writing poetry is important. I think that short stories are a higher form of art than novels. A tutor brings expertise. “Those who can’t do teach.” That’s terrible. Where did that start? Why would you want to learn anything from anyone who can’t do – that thing? A sense of humor is important now but I’m not trying to be funny.

Learning keeps the mind busy. The productive mind is less likely to abide negativity. An education allows you to hold an idea without accepting it. Creative writing takes you out of your head, away from the bubble. Yet, you focus on you. How do you feel? How did you stay sane? How did you heal?

Your story is important. Call a tutor, or email, what suits you. Your comfort the point and your schedule met. Ask for a resume in any case. Like I said, this can be considered a broad field. Be safe. Be smart.

 A tutor is there to make your child’s life easier. If the first one, legitimately, doesn’t gel, you may need to try another. Quality tutors will provide referrals. Learning is important, not egos. There are options. COVID brought back an old trade in a time full of new things. Think of tutors as something familiar in an often uncomfortable climate. Take the fear out of education and hire a tutor.

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Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: September 19, 2020, 3:31 am

Trust. Forgive to get out of it. Let them walk.

The post How Do You Get it Back Together? appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Get love figured out and it finds a way to wriggle out of knowing. It’s alright to admit you got duped a few months after a breakup, but not much makes it suck less in the meantime. Let me tell you now that you must forgive – for you, not them. I’ll bet you my last silver dollar that spite will burn you to the bone. Trust. Forgive to get out of it.

I poetry-ed the bu-jeezus out of my time. May was miserable but words, good ones, made a symphony from a heart jangled out of tin cans.

I don’t dig. I don’t blame. I don’t go too hard at where the wrong was and where I think the right oughtta be. When it’s done there’s nothing but open wounds with one more prepared than the other. There’s no good breakup. There’s not an amicable separation I’m aware of where someone didn’t hold their heart when the lights went out.

There are dark places to get out of, but I swear the demons you bring out aren’t all bad. Wait: not “demon” but “daemon.” (That extra vowel makes a big difference.) Daemons are in Greek mythology and ran messages between the gods and men. Makes sense where Cupid came from and why he flies around.

I have no jokes to barb at that bare naked baby. The dark spots in and out of love give you perspective. You don’t have to agree with the situation. If they walk away – let them walk. Struggling and begging and bartering once hate is the only language in the room are all horrible noises on deaf ears.

Perhaps the daemon responsible for your current nightmare was drunk when he set y’all up? It wasn’t you. It wasn’t them. That rascal the Almighty trusted that evening you two hooked up was as bad at love as the rest of us. Let it go. Let them walk. Blame whomever you want but the responsiblity of action and reaction rests squarely on you.

Five Things to Keep You on Track:

  1. Lose their phone number: What’s been said has been. Nothing new with do anything but get you lit in a swivet. Toxic people preach against drama while being drawn up in it.
  2. Block, block, block: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. If they didn’t love you enough to stay up in your Kool-Aid they shouldn’t know the flavor from afar.
  3. Pick a few good friends but don’t wear them out: You talk out the worst parts. Pick those folks you bleed on carefully. The hurt was all I could handle the first few weeks. My family consists of the genetic and selected variety. I talked too much. They still listened. Still – watch for wear and slowly try to process silently.
  4. Hold to your faith: This should be Number 1, but it always is on this list. I don’t preach because I am not a preacher. I do profess that God reminded me in the worst times that sober and single is far superior to dating in a damned situation. God works.
  5. Exercise, meditate, and figure out you: In my case I got the heirachy ass-backwards as I went along. Shit happens and it can blur the lenses worn to get through every day. In the time I’m not stressed over what’s wrong I rediscovered my love of running, morning meditation, and (at first) uncomfortable silences where big questions loom. It’s not uncomfortable now and those big questions are tamed.

Figure out you. I don’t make out that any of this is funny or easy or a scene where you play James Dean. I waited out the panic. I went into the solitude sober for the first time in my life. It’s cheaper than heartbreak on a bender. I am respected far more and worry Momma way less.

There are cracks and there are sore places I can’t reach. Life is good. Love is forever. “Alone” isn’t “lonely” unless you let it be. Don’t chase someone who lost the good sense to stay by your side. God’s got someone better. Be patient. Be still. Blame the daemon but don’t beat yourself down. The world does enough of the beating.

The post How Do You Get it Back Together? appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: June 29, 2020, 10:22 pm

The secret to sheltering in place is to pick a place you love to shelter.

The post Love in the Time of Coronavirus appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Hope is cool stuff. Hope saves lives. We hope this virus gets rubbed out sooner than later. We hope our loved ones stay safe and healthy. We hope we never run out of toilet paper. We hope the urge to murder passes after a week inside with family.

Rational people understand that social distancing is a smart move. For once our country is getting ahead of an emergency. Put politics aside and agree that sticking to the rules of quarantine is a great idea for all parties. Study up on government, politics, bird-watching, canoe-making, watercolors, or any instrument of your choice. Do something productive with this time.

Surviving quarantine goes by a bit easier with a few things:

  1. Get a hobby: Pick one or more and learn to entertain yourself. Seriously. No one wants to hear how bored you are, Eeyore.
  2. Create a schedule: Stick with it and the malaise of “too much free time” won’t be a burden. As much a free spirit I am it costs me lost time if I don’t use it. I adopted a Stoic philosophy of time management.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week: Gyms are closed. Pools are closed. Parks are closed. Your yard isn’t. The sidewalk isn’t. Trails you reach by foot are wide open. Sanity comes from sweat. Pick the time that’s best for you and get outside.
  4. Challenge yourself: Take this time to learn a new language. Read a book. Do some research into what, why, and how you believe. Unplug from what social media wants you to believe and discover the truth for yourself.
  5. Be inquisitive: Socrates said, “Know thyself.” That’s important. Look outward as well. Talk to your spouse, child, parent, friend about what they’re feeling. Listen to their answers. Ask them in-person or from afar what they value, what keeps them optimistic, what gives them hope.

Hope is groovy stuff in a time that isn’t. Please stay six feet from everyone else in public. Stay out of public as much as possible. Quarantine life doesn’t have to take on the vibe of The Shining. Take a breath, take a walk, or take up a new hobby instead of mullygrubbing. You can’t waste time if you appreciate its passing.

The post Love in the Time of Coronavirus appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: April 5, 2020, 6:45 pm

Owning a dog awakens latent maturity - thank God.

The post My Daisy is a Godsend appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Dude, I get it. There are scores of folks out there I owe an apology. In this case I’m referring to dog owners. I know why you think they speak English. I know why you take countless photos. They are quadrupedal people.

Last Christmas I got a dog. Carolyn, my girlfriend at the time, spoke passionately that I would feel calmer owning one. I’d never owned a dog. My parents made it clear when I was a child who would carry the canine’s responsibility (poop-scooping, mainly). I wasn’t that guy (then).

Forty-five years later I find myself in Mostly Mutts. My fairweather Roswell family felt it time to introduce new members. Carolyn let me experience “real dog life” with an animal well-trained, fun, and even-tempered. There grew in me a hankering to get one.

I named her Daisy. Don’t know why I picked Daisy. We walked into Mostly Mutts with zero expectations. Twenty-four hours later we returned to take Daisy home. I was terrified.

(I’m less, but still, terrified.)

Daisy quickly grew into a soft jewel my recovering heart starved to feel. She was my anxiety dog easing autism stressors. So new was it to have something so incredibly excited to see me.

That’s why when heartbreak exiled me and she and kept Daisy, the blessings of my puppy’s memory are fresh. I miss my dog.

This too shall pass.

Though Daisy is in the hands of someone with no love for me, I still want you to know the virtues a dog brings to your life:

  1. Dogs Promote Chill: I won’t lie. Daisy came eerily pre-programmed. Minimal toilet drama. Nearly zero barking. I am blessed. When anxiety gnaws at me Daisy knows it. I never believed it until it happened. Like God it’s there but indescribable.
  2. Promotes Maturity: Yeeeaaaah….I got behind in this virtue. Good, bad, or train wreck – on the other side there’s selflessness enough to let more in. Daisy isn’t fussy, but she will throw one unattended. I can’t get too full of myself when a life depends on me.
  3. Increases Patience: More than once I’ve said that patience is a super power. The last two years built up my reserves to handle my hairy child. I watch her. She’ll wait long for me to finish writing, but whine when it’s time. I get outside.
  4. More Exercise: You are guaranteed more exercise unless you’re an awful person and lock the critter indoors. Take the dog outside. Safe distance from other people, but chummy with your mutt. Dogs are great listeners. Pretty sure Daisy’s going to blackmail me when she’s old enough to drive.
  5. Awareness of Time: I still have an issue with this. Time. Not so much “late” as “locked-too-long-in.” Attention is given to people in time convenient to them. Daisy is mine to worry about. Responsible for life, for my better decisions, to keeping the little lady in check.

I urge you to think hard about adopting an animal. Let the high wear of, wait a few days, and then make that leap. If you don’t worry a little you should be worried. Getting over that fear, watching the puppy grow up, get gangly, trip, seem to laugh, and lick on you – it’s magic every day.

Mostly Mutts is a no-kill shelter run by phenomenal people. Their staff matches owners with dogs meant to share good days. Never rushed. Professional but compassionate, theirs is an establishment I trust and endorse. I promise dogs make your heart bigger.

The post My Daisy is a Godsend appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: March 21, 2020, 5:15 am

Building a successful podcast is all about confidence, variety, music, and professionalism.

The post How to Build a Successful Podcast appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Building a successful podcast is all about confidence, variety, music, and professionalism. There are scores of radio programs and thousands of podcasts. What makes yours different? What makes it stand out? What’s your demographic? Why are you doing it in the first place?

These are important questions to ask. Do not allow the number of existing shows to sour your enthusiasm. Think of what you want to hear in a show. Research other programs you admire, note what they’re doing right, and jot down notes on what’s missing. You want to fill that hole. Attempting to replicate an existing format will fall flat. Look for an original angle.

WUTC/NPR 88.1FM fell into my lap because I enjoy what I do. Based in Chattanooga, TN, WUTC is a hub of NPR standards and local flair. A friend of mine got me a spot on a show recorded there in 2014. I read poetry and the Misty Mountain String Band made the day perfect with bluegrass. Of course I was nervous and sweaty, but also felt blessed to experience an interview with NPR. I kept my language clean and stories honest. The General Manager, Richard Winham, enjoyed it.

Richard Winham said, “Clifford, you need your own show. In six weeks, once our fundraising pledge drive is over, shoot me an email and we”ll set something up.”

Bullshit,” I thought but didn’t say. What I did say was, “That would be awesome!” Then I left and Richard went back to work.

Seven weeks later I sent that email. Within the same day Richard set a day and time for me to come up and record the first show. I brought fourteen friends, no hint of a plan, and enough excitement to power the whole city.

“So, Clifford, what’s your formula?” Richard asked, not concerned about the dozen or so folks clogging his waiting room.

“Formula?” I answered. (I swear I almost added aloud my radio show wasn’t about chemistry.)

We brought in all the guests and Richard’s editing wizardry sewed it into a palatable whole.

“What do you want to call it?” He asked me.

“Dante’s Old South,” was my answer.

I chose the name to fuse two ideas: 1) The classical tradition of Dante Alighieri, and 2) A term typically held in a negative light. My mission from the start is to squash the uneducated, racist, “yee-haw” stereotype of the South without being ashamed of my roots. Thus far I think we’ve done a solid job.

So, from a slipshod start, now the show has a formula. I bring in folks from all walks of life and find out what makes them tick. I choose guests from my neck of the woods in Georgia and some from the Chattanooga area. I break up the interviews with original, up-and-coming artists from Sofar Sounds of Atlanta. I don’t care if you somehow sound like James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, and Malcolm McDowell at the same time – eventually all-talk will rock listeners to sleep.

How do you create a successful podcast?

  1. Have fun doing it.
  2. Don’t do it with vain intent.
  3. Create a formula that fills a public need.
  4. Vet all guests beforehand to avoid embarrassing grandstanding.
  5. Bring in local artists from all genres to appeal to the whole art community.
  6. Invite guests from outside the norm like mathematicians, land surveyors, engineers, landscapers, teachers, etc. Anything done well and with love is art. Get all of it on tape.
  7. Start an archive of your shows on iTunes, Spotify, etc.
  8. Don’t be afraid to tweak your formula over time to prevent stagnation.

For the first three years Dante’s Old South was broadcast four times a year. Starting in January 2019 we began a monthly spot on the third Sunday of every month at 8:00PM. It’s a labor of love I enjoy every time we get into the studio. I pray you find the same satisfaction as you build your own successful podcast.

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Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: December 8, 2019, 11:31 pm

Your magazine will only be as good as the quality of company you keep.

The post How to Create a Successful Literary Journal appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

How do you create a successful literary journal? Today’s art scene is not short of magazines devoted to them. The internet opened the floodgates for a deluge of new ones. The cost to produce a print magazine is staggering. To publish one online, the startup fee is the price of a domain. The secret to staying in the game is a mix of traditional framework and innovative thinking.

Print magazines carry prestige. They’ve earned it. Online magazines, or ezines, must raise the bar with content and design if they hope to play the game. To gain momentum, the vision must be concise. Leave some room to grow and adapt. Teamwork is essential for true inclusion. Do not get mired in ego.

Five years ago The Blue Mountain Review walked into the world. After the Southern Collective Experience gained traction, Peter Ristuccia, an excellent friend of mine, suggested we create a literary journal. He’s the one who name the gorgeous beast. The two of us spoke for hours with an excitement kids enjoy on Christmas morning. That joy of art for itself alone is tantamount to breaking above mediocrity.

Here are 5 suggestions to follow to build a literary magazine that works:

  1. Ask Yourself, Why am I doing this?: Is this a vanity project, or a desire to elevate the quality of art? Be honest with yourself and check your heart. The intent behind anything eventually rears its head. If a genuine desire for creative inclusion doesn’t exist, the project won’t make it above room temperature.
  2. Hone Your Vision and Incorporate Teammates: What are you trying to accomplish with your idea? What genres to you plan to incorporate. The wider you cast your net artistically, the greater your potential audience. Choose editors that are experts in their field. Pick people who share your vision, but stay open to their suggestions. When you pull the right folks together for the right reason you’ll rarely hear a bad idea.
  3. Do Not Budge on Quality: Your magazine will only be as good as the quality of company you keep. If you set the standard, do not dip below it for any reason. When your primary goal is to publish the best, the best will come from all walks of life. It is better to have a few poems of exceptional quality than massive collection of fair-to-middling efforts.
  4. Do a Line-by-Line Edit: Go through every line before you release the final product. Mistakes happen, but integrity is built on proper grammar. If you strive for perfection, you’ll never get the goods to market. However, rushing creates a hasty end. Sometimes formatting is lost from acceptance of the submission to its arrival on the designer’s desk. Those whose work you accept deserve to have their work displayed as they penned it. It’s your job to see it’s printed that way.
  5. Put Time into Design: If the design chosen to showcase that work is sloppy it cheapens the overall product. This is where hiring a professional graphic designer is the best call and money spent. Find a designer who, like the editors, sees your endgame. Ask to see examples of their work and a resume. Let their imagination run with your energy. Listen to their aesthetic suggestions.

Creating a successful literary magazine is a titanic endeavor. Patience, people skills, eye for detail, and commitment to your vision are essential tools for this kind of literary construction. We decided to go with Issuu.com because it mimics the tactile experience of reading. Submittable is a great way to generate funding for design. Once you gain traction consider selling advertising.

Our decision to incorporate interviews with creatives from the art world as well as life experience came from adding an innovative spin on a traditional standby. Landscapers are artists. Booksellers are artists. Engineers are artists, and all of these people bring a fresh perspective and inspiration. These interviews reached outside the norm to define the BMR as a “journal of culture”.

I pray that these suggestions help you flesh out your dreams to create a successful literary journal. If you have any questions, please let me know. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the new Blue Mountain Review, and feel free to submit at any time.

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Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: November 3, 2019, 2:48 am

Being happy isn't about deception. It's about being honest with yourself.

The post How I Think Love Works appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Honesty: It works, honestly.

Honesty is a brackish tack to swallow. Love is patient. Truth is not kind. Truth doesn’t care who’s right. Love and truth aren’t always in agreement. Love is a farce without honesty. How honest can you be without becoming brutal? Is it possible to poetry-speak something to death?

But seriously, this is how I think love works:

  1. Be Open: Don’t keep secrets. Do not compartmentalize. Personal space is essential, but a mental and emotional closeness/honesty keeps communication easier. The things you feel like can’t be discussed, need to be discussed. Be open to your partner and yourself.
  2. Keep Friendships Clean: We all know what talk is appropriate for “friends,” and talk for those “more than friends.” Men and women can be friends with zero fuss. A goal of all involved is to keep boundaries strong.
  3. Leave Fantasy to Itself: Reality is not a burden. At least, it shouldn’t be. It is a fist-fight often lost, sure. Throwing caution to the wind for a fantastic world where all troubles are immediately eased by one person – that’s a dumpster fire waiting to happen. Never put your faith in a human being. Never go to war with a noun.
  4. Learn What Makes Them Laugh: Laughter is medicine. In the pursuit of love, missteps are inevitable. An appropriate salve is equal parts humility and humor. Good time or bad, their laugh is music. Make it play often.
  5. Bring Up Issues Immediately: Do not bring issues up immediately hot. First evaluate why this event or individual hits a nerve. It’s a bad idea to let it linger. Once you understand yourself, be honest and lay it out for your partner.

These are a few ideas gleaned from the last year of my life. I am vocal about who I cherish, but private in our affairs. Too much on social media leaves too little for those in love. The backbone of love is balance, and balance is not a word often found on my lips.

God keeps all in perspective. Fallible creatures will fail. Putting anyone on a pedestal is an injustice to all-involved. I thank heaven every day for the understanding and calm I experience. A wonderful person to share it with is a tremendous blessing.

The post How I Think Love Works appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: October 19, 2019, 2:53 am

An interview is a keyhole into your life. Take it seriously.

The post Take the Misery Out of Your Interview appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

There are many pitfalls on the creative road to success. How you beat these odds to gain respect and notoriety in the writing world is a herculean feat. Invariably others will want to know how you did it. This curiosity could come from a magazine with a desire to put your story in print.

I’m here today to give you a few tips on how you can take the misery out of your interview.

  1. Stay within the Guidelines: Often your Q&A will come with a set of instructions to follow when you return it. Read-them-closely. Follow them to the letter. If you need guidance, don’t be afraid to ask.
  2. Be succinct: Less is more. It is easy to go on and on and on in undigestable blocks of text. Feel free to gush out every thought in the draft process, but then go over every word to leave only those essential to your meaning. What one thinks is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to the reader sounds windy and self-absorbed.
  3. Edit: It doesn’t cast you in the best light when bad grammar and misspellings litter every response. Do not depend on the one interviewing to comb through, correct errors, and follow up to make sure they guessed the correct intent. Submitting tightly-written and properly edited pieces will earn the undying gratitude of that journal, and others hoping for your input.
  4. Submit Only High-Quality Photos: You want this interview to snap. The flash will dull with photos of you and/or your book when the pictures are poor. It’s not the personal taste of the interviewer but if the graphic designer can use them. The specifications needed are listed in the guidelines. If you are unsure, ask.
  5. Be Brave and Fill in the Blanks: The interviewer is not in your head. If there was a particular person, trial, triumph, or epiphany that created the person you are today, but they fail to ask about it – ask them if you can fill in the blank. I urge those I interview to do that. Not only does it give their audience a full view of its subject, you don’t go away feeling something vital is missing.
  6. Abandon Ego: Do-not-take-everything-personally. If more information is needed, oblige. If the interviewer sees where fat needs to be trimmed, don’t take it as an insult. If the magazine needs better photos, it’s the quality of the photos – not your face. The journal you’re working with has an image and standard to uphold. All they want is to show you in the best possible light, and look professional doing it.

Other good tips are to stay on deadline. If an unforeseen event causes you to fall behind, immediately tell the magazine. We are all human, and in many cases, more time can be allowed. If you see an error in the interview once it’s published, politely send one email with the issue stated. It will be corrected if the Q&A is online. If it’s a print journal, I suggest more read-throughs and peers enlisted to fish out mistakes before it’s submitted. In the end both parties want a human appeal to an interview. Take the misery out of your interview by adding care and common sense to your creative mix.

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Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: September 24, 2019, 1:20 am

Expect difficult people, but expect more of yourself.

The post Dealing with Difficult People appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

Difficult people are a close third with death and taxes as unavoidable forces in life. The brighter you burn, the harder you work, the closer you come to your purpose – the chance you’ll encounter difficult people leaps exponentially. I’ve met a few difficult people, and I’ve been difficult more than once. The place I write from is one where I’ve been on both sides of the argument.

Manipulative individuals don’t like paperwork. The more someone urges you not to worry about a written agreement, the faster you should run away. Protect your investment. It’s good business. Publications, speaking engagements, advances on new projects, artwork commissions, and copyrights all require a contract. Keep your grip tight and legit from square one.

A quality attorney is quintessential to avoiding costly headaches. My dad told me, “Cliff, contracts save family and friendships.” True friends and real family will agree. Difficult people change the rules to suit their comfort level. Contracts keep everything clean. Signatures cannot be argued. Your art is your child. Contracts act as the kid’s health insurance.

Be empathetic, but not a pushover. Stand firm. Do not not be ashamed to say, “No.” If you get that “U-Oh Feeling,” something Greater is suggesting you take a moment to reflect. If it is a pain in your ass, and the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, you owe it to yourself to decline.

The best way to avoid difficult people is to surround yourself with good ones. Choose friends that keep your ego in check, understand your moods, gifts, foibles, and in spite of it all – loyal to the cause. There’s a natural, easy flow in relationships unburdened by pettiness. If a relationship is work, that’s to be expected. If it’s a chore, then you need to lighten the load.

Don’t let people rattle your cage. Don’t let the bastards get you down. I’ve written extensively on the chinks in my armor of self-esteem. If you can’t grow stronger, you’ll grow jagged – or give up. I try every day to be better than my mistakes. I fill my time with good works. Difficult people fill their emptiness with your anxiety. Why that’s true has no good answer. The only answer they deserve is, “No.”

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Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: September 9, 2019, 2:27 am

Often the easiest way for a rebel to get in print is by following the rules.

The post Increase Your Chances of Getting Published appeared first on Clifford Brooks.

To increase your chances of getting published, just follow the rules and use good manners. This is not a trick. This is proven effective. I cannot tell you where inspiration comes from, but I can tell you what will increase your chances of getting published.

  1. Follow the Submission Guidelines: Really. Submission guidelines are there to streamline the process. Read them carefully. Accept them as gospel truths. If you do, you can be sure the submission gets a fair shake. If you don’t, the work is immediately dismissed.
  2. Less is More with Your Bio: Keep bios short and sweet. Some mystery is good. Add three-to-five previous publication credits, one sentence that describes you outside of letters, and the link to your website.
  3. Make Cover Letters Professionally Unique: Again, less means more. A genuine greeting, note of gratitude, and specific reasons you enjoy a publication and/or what drew you to their door are good ideas. “Genuine” is the word of the day. A succinct show of respect goes far.
  4. Let Us Know if It’s Published Elsewhere: Simultaneous submissions can be a headache for magazines. If your submission is accepted elsewhere, immediately tell the others. Magazines often plug in content as it’s accepted. If failure to communicate prior publication requires editors to redesign the next issue, that leaves a bad taste.
  5. Be Patient: Patience is a super power, and appealing to – everyone. Editors make effort to respond to you in good time. Don’t follow up about the status of your submission until the specified time frame is past. Getting fussy or rude does no favors, and may eliminate any chance of acceptance now, or in the future.

Make sure the magazines you choose to submit publish material in your wheel house. If there’s a theme they want, be sure to match it. If you see an error in formatting once the issue comes out, kindly let the journal know, and they’ll be happy to make it right. In the event they pass on your work, do not take it personally, and do not rage on the editors. Good manners and an eye for detail will do wonders for your submissions. It’s an art form unto itself. I hope this helps you navigate creatively choppy waters.

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Author: Clifford Brooks
Posted: September 9, 2019, 1:11 am
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