How to face rejection from your story/poem submissions

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If a journal or magazine doesn’t scoop  up your writing, does this mean you’ve done a poor job?


And let me tell you why.

Usually when we feel disappointed from rejection it is because of two things: 1)We believed the best too much 2) Those who will be judging our works tend to be professionals and whatever a professional says about our poems and stories must be right…?

So when you receive a rejection notice that begins with “We regret to inform you”, what is the first thing you do? I have been rejected twice before for a longer essay piece some years ago. Honestly, it never bothered me when they returned my piece back to me stating that it was “too long and maybe I should purchase their magazine to see how to really write.”

It never reached my heart because I knew I was a good writer and have been told by strangers and professors, however I also understood that maybe my piece was not what they were looking for at the time. It stung a little, sure, but out of thousands of writers submitting, did I really think mine would make it?

I can say no, but then that would mean I had no faith in my writing abilities. I am not the best writer in the world, or maybe in  the nation, but I am always truthful and have an active imagination- two ingredients for success.

But  if your submission has just been rejected, don’t fret. Here’s what I’ve done:

  • Make sure to submit poetry to different journals, magazines, websites. It is good to submit multiple poems suitable for their audience. This is a good time to be organized(i.e., seasonal poems,. love poems, abstract, avant-garde, etc.)
  • Re-read the poem you’ve submitted. What could have gone wrong? Was it too right? Was it perfect and they just didn’t want it? Submit elsewhere if you can.
  • Have someone else read it. Take their opinions into consideration. It is probably best to have strangers read it- maybe posting it online for others to read and get honest feedback?
  • Trash/delete/stash away the poem and forget about it for a while.
  • Keep writing

There is no magic formula for winning contests. But there is always a place that believes in you. Try them out and good luck!



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