When I first started submitting my stories to contests and magazines, a question bothered me: would the judges praise me for my goddess-like storytelling skills or want to cleanse their eyes after reading my garbage?
My naive mind couldn’t handle being rejected from my first submission. I felt like giving up on writing and didn’t pen anything for months. I eventually realized that my expectations were unrealistic and developed a new mindset. It goes a little like this…
It’s not impossible to win or get accepted, but it’s also not a guarantee.
Why do some writers feel disappointed when they receive a rejection or lose in a writing competition? I think it’s hubris (What do you think?).
The reality is that it’s unlikely your fiction will come out on top if you consider the slew of other writers who submitted along with you. Think about it: if you submit your fiction into an international contest or magazine, your piece will be competing against BILLIONS of other pieces.
This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to win, but it’s most definitely NOT a guarantee!
Don’t be snooty!
Non-paying avenues can be just as beneficial to your writing career as paying ones.
If a free-to-enter, non-paying magazine with a large audience base features your work, guess what? You’re getting exposure on a well-established platform with readers looking for awesome writers. It’s a chance to grow your platform and advance your writing career.
Rejection means not for them. Not “not for the entire world!”
Whether your piece wins a contest or is accepted at a magazine depends on the judges and editors reading it. They’re humans—like you—with unique tastes and they may not like your work. That’s fair. Get over it. Art is subjective and fiction is art. You can’t please everyone.
Rejection doesn’t devalue your writing. It just means you have to keep submitting until you do find those who will like your work (side note: some contest judges and magazine editors will give you a free critique—use it to improve your writing…or not!). You can even use your stories to build your readership on your blog or sell them as a collection.
Ever since I adopted this philosophy, I stress less when I submit my stories. It’s not a full-proof plan, but’s it’s something!
2 Replies to “How I View Writing Contests and Magazine Submissions”
It’s difficult not to feel bummed after a rejection email. We want to make it big and want to make it big now, with our very first submission. Only, yep, box of tissues please.
Honestly, I still feel bummed out when I receive a rejection letter (why can’t anyone understand my genius!), but it doesn’t bother me as much as it use to.