Five. That number might not mean anything to you, but to me it represents so much. What exactly it represents has changed for me many times. First that number represents the number of times that my work has been rejected. Which means, it is the number of times I failed. The stories I worked so hard on and spent so much time crafting and laboring over… I did all of that just to receive emails that looked like this:
“Thank you for sending your story “Enter Title Here” and we thank you for your interest in our literary magazine… Due to the large number of submissions… we read through many and we are sorry to say that we are not able to use yours at this time….We wish you luck in all your writing projects.”
Of course they are much more professional than that. That was just off the top of my head!
Recently, I sent a manuscript to a litmag I really like and when I got my rejection email….that’s right, you guessed it. I cried. Who cares if i’m an adult…it really hurt me! I knew before I sent my work out that I was going to get rejected many, MANY times. But I didn’t realize it would feel so crappy. I thought I knew what I was signing up for when I decided I wanted to become a writer, but until it actually happens, you can never really be prepared for the sting that comes with getting your work rejected. Rejection. The word looks ugly and it tastes bitter. But its something all of us writers and artists will have to learn to deal with at some point.
I stopped sending my work out to litmags. Its only temporary until I can freshen up my work and let my wounds heal. Part of that healing process is not being hard on myself. From now on, every time my work gets rejected, I write the number down where I can see it.
Five isn’t the number of times I failed. It is simply the number of times that I tried. I wanted something and I went for it! It also represents the number of times I allowed myself to share my work with someone else. Which is something that is hard because my writing is very personal to me. And even though an editor hasn’t published my work yet, that doesn’t mean that my work sucks or that my ideas are bad. (Well, maybe that’s what it means 😉 It also means I have another chance to try again. And I will continue to try until I get to where I want to be. Getting published is something that I really desire, so my only option is to continue doing what I love.
I recently read something about getting rejected. When it happens, immediately send that manuscript to another magazine. I thought that was so great and empowering! What a way to take control of your writing career! Just because a few say “no”, doesn’t mean that’s the end. There are plenty of other publishers out there and you just have to find the right one for your story. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!
For those of you who have not submitted your writing yet, what’s stopping you? When do you think you’ll be ready to take that step?
Every month I pick a literary journal to focus on, in hopes of getting published in one someday. I’ve made a list of my favorites and will go back to it later when I have material that I feel the journal might like. Here is the literary journal I have my eye on for May.
Literal Latte has been around since 1994 and was one of the first literary magazines to have an online presence. They accept poetry, fiction, essays, art and more. They look for great writing and mind stimulating stories. Why Literal Latte is a magazine you should consider submitting too:
- Submissions are accepted year round
- They accept writing in all styles and subjects
- 98% of what they publish comes from the “slush pile”
- Simultaneous submissions are welcome
So if you have a short story or essay you would like to submit that’s up to 6,000 words, short plays or poems that are up to 4,000 words, or any art such as cover art to paintings I invite you to do so! Click here to check out the submission page for more details. They also have fiction and poetry contests throughout the year. The “Short Short Contest” ends on June 30th and their “Poetry Awards Contest” ends on July 15th. Cash prizes can be won in both contests. Feel free to click the above links to check out the contest pages. So…I encourage you to polish up your prose and get to submitting! Happy Writing!
Her grey hair was pulled up into a tight bun. Her clothes were nice and neat and she wore thick black glasses that sat on the tip of her skinny nose. Her presence was that of a teacher you once feared or a deceased grandparent you respected. I watched her reading my story and knew exactly what she was going to say. When she was finished, she threw it at me. The pages slapped me in the face and some fluttered around my desk. In a very loud, intimidating voice she yelled,
“This isn’t good enough! No one is going to want to read that. That doesn’t even make sense!”
I’m talking about her. My inner editor. When she isn’t yelling at me for creating work that no one is interested in, she’s busy telling me how my ideas are stupid or that I might offend someone if I write a certain thing.
Well this weekend, I decided to shut my inner editor up. This weekend all I did was write. I wrote exactly what I wanted to write and didn’t care if it was publishable or not. I just wrote because I love writing. I allowed myself to get lost in the world I was creating and enjoyed spending an entire day playing with my characters.
At the beginning of the year my personal goal was to send out a certain amount of stories each month to literary magazines, hoping that I would be published in one of them. Since I had the mindset to produce work to send out, I got lost in the process and my writing suffered because of it. Writing felt like a job instead of a hobby. I dreaded editing my stories because I wasn’t in love with them, they weren’t special to me. They were shallow pieces I quickly put together in order to make the literary magazine deadlines. So this weekend, I decided it was time I wrote for myself again.
I’ve heard that when you write, you should do it with someone in mind, for a certain audience. The audience I often picture never likes what I have to say. What I write is never good enough. On Saturday, my only audience was me. Just me and my imagination, writing whatever the heck I wanted and getting lost in it. And you know what? Its the most fun I’ve had with writing in a while! I’ve been writing for fun since I was 7 years old but I’ve been writing seriously for only a couple months. Its amazing how the desire for perfection overwhelmed me and chocked my creativity so much! I went back to that 7 year old me and just wrote for the fun of it. And have decided that is how I am always going to approach my writing. Write just because its fun. Write something because you would enjoy reading it. Write without boundaries.