Lessons Learnt from Submissions

I’ve been pushing myself to submit more this year, particularly poetry (since I write so much of it anyway). I’ve submitted to ten literary journals or competitions this half year (which is a big improvement to the 5 I did for all of 2013).

round-yes-no-buttonsAnd here’s what’s happened with these ten:

6 rejections

1 rejection with a very encouraging message

1 poem longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize

1 acceptance (two out of the three poems I sent) – I am sure I will crow about it once they are published!

1 still waiting to hear

One good thing about this process is that I am starting to take rejections much more stoically. The first one back in March or so was like salt and pepper being rubbed into an open wound and knocked me out for 2 days (going on two weeks). The latest one arrived tonight and I just shrugged it off and said blithely to my husband: ‘Oh, look, darling, another rejection!’

Another discovery is that there is no such thing as a good or bad poem (well, other than the obviously dire ones, which I hope mine aren’t). It’s all a matter of personal taste, timing, fit with the journal’s philosophy etc. The poem that was rejected by one journal was the one that was longlisted by judge Ruth Padel. One of the poems that has now been accepted had been rejected elsewhere.

So the moral of the story is that the obvious sayings are still the best: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, tweak and try again!’