The process of a chapbook

Last week, I completed the manuscript of We’re Smaller Thank We Think We Are, a poetry chapbook containing a variety of pieces written over the course of about two years. Just completing the manuscript was a huge accomplishment for me, and I had a lot of great help along the way.

I’d been trying to put a chapbook together for a few months, but had been floundering. I had poems, but I didn’t have any clue how to actually turn them into a cohesive book. Plus, my poems were competent (a term my college poetry professor Jerry Harp used to refer to his own work once), but they needed some work, and I was blocked.

I turned to local poet Abe Louise Young for private coaching. Over the course of six weeks, we worked one-on-one to hone my revision techniques, get my poems up to par, and arrange them in chapbook form. Abe has been a fantastic mentor. I feel like a better poet, and now I have a sense of what makes a manuscript complete.

I also had help from my husband, Jon Eric, who read the first version of the manuscript and gave me some feedback that helped shape the final manuscript into what it is now. My friends Reesa, Carly, and Lynn also served as encouraging beta readers. I’m grateful for their support.

Now comes the process of submitting the chapbook to various places. As well as writing more poetry. Because I’m not going to stop at just one chapbook. 🙂

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