Writing, Success and Many, Many Rejections
Something I know about myself to be 100% true. I am terrible at rejection.
I take it personally. As if, it is some how a reflection on me, my personality, who I am.
As I step further into the writing world, I'm learning that it's part of the fun (I use the word fun very, very loosely). I've now finished my cancer treatment and am dipping my toe back into the world of submission. I currently have six of my babies out in the world, waiting to hear if an editor or judge somewhere thinks they're cute.
You think I'd be used to it, before I got sick I performed my work wherever someone would have me. But performing and submitting to literary journals or competitions are very different things.
When I perform, I have a chance to get the audience on side. A decent pre amble or a good delivery can usually mean a enthusiastic response. Performing is where I'm comfortable, it’s where I know what they want from me.
Not so much with submissions. Every editor or judge is looking for something different. Maybe on any other day, your poem would have appealed to them, but that one day they just weren't in the mood. Or someone else's was just that bit better. Majority of the time, they won't tell you. You'll just get the email in your inbox, the familiar thanks but no thanks. It doesn't mean your work is shit, it just means not it's not for them. And that's fine.
But that doesn't mean we give up. It means the opposite. Last year I went to a writing conference in Edinburgh. On stage, the amazing Stella H Birrell told us about the year that she tried to get one hundred, she only got to eighty (she had too many acceptances), but she never would have progressed if she'd given up at the first hurdle. At the first 'Sorry to inform you' email.
There are some things you can do to try and improve your chances of being accepted. The awesome Gaynor Jones wrote a great blog post about this: 'Five Reasons I Stopped Reading Your Story' and it's well worth a read.
Make sure you're also mastering the basics:
1. READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (a thousand times)
2. Finish the work and then give it some space between reading it again so you can check for errors with fresh eyes
3. Use your spellcheck
Apart from that, it's a mixture of trying, talent and blind good luck.
Got any tips on submitting? Let us know!
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Love and hugs