Welcome to Chapter 6 of our discussion on the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts.

For an overview of the chapters we’ve covered so far and the direction we’re heading, click here.

 

Chapter(3)

 

And here’s the video for Chapter 6, featuring co-authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig — packed with great insights, as always!

 

***

I remember exactly where I was sitting and what time of the day it was, the first time I submitted an article to an actual online publication.

It was late at night in South Africa, and immediately a mix of “What did you just do?” and “What if they say ‘yes’?” bubbled up in my stomach. It was a combination of that sense of accomplishment when you actually set out to complete a task and finish it, and that guttural dread that someone is actually going to read what you wrote.

Then the awful waiting period commenced.

Thankfully, with this particular publication, the wait was not unreasonably long. Within two weeks, the editor got back to me — and she said “Yes!”

I coughed in disbelief.

Her compliments about my writing motivated me to send her another article for consideration. She liked the second one even more, and because of the time-sensitive nature of the topic, asked to publish it that same week.

This one editor’s confidence in my ability bolstered my courage.

I began researching other publications like it was my job.

I sat up late each night, clicking link after link, creating spreadsheets to record websites and magazine titles, submission guidelines, topics of interest — you name it.

Before long, I had a decent directory of places where I felt I could submit work. The trouble then became the fact that I actually had to write articles that would meet the guidelines of each unique publication!

I then started a new spreadsheet to record the places I submitted work, the title of the article, the date I sent it in, the date I expected a response, and the response I got when I did hear back.

I’ve since stopped recording in that spreadsheet, but just for kicks (and hopefully to encourage you), I opened that file today to check out my stats. Over the course of several months, I submitted 87 articles to a number of different publications. 48 were accepted; 39 were rejected.

That’s a 55% success rate — hardly anything to write home about! I share this just to give you a realistic picture of what you’re getting into if and when you submit work for publication.

Rejection letters stink, no matter which way you look at it — but we have a choice in how we respond to them.

They can discourage us so much that we give up writing altogether; or they can motivate us to keep trying.

I want to encourage you to choose the latter.

 

Get up, dust yourself off, and

For today’s post, I thought I’d compile a brief list of a few places that accept guest blog post and article submissions:

The fabulous and popular website, (in)courage, opens up for submissions four times a year.

For a full description of guidelines for submitting to (in)courage, click here.

 

Other places to consider submitting your work (click titles for direct links):

Ruminate Magazine

Bronwyn Lea

I Love Devotionals

She Loves Magazine

Devotional Diva

Start Marriage Right

Thriving Family

Mudroom

Literary Mama

MOPS

 

What suggestions can you add to this list? Share in the comments?

Wishing you all of the best as you research potential sites, compose pieces that are compatible with the submission guidelines, and eventually click SEND!!

 

Link-up topic suggestions:

Write your own blog post or journal entry on one or more of the following topics: 

If you haven’t sent any work anywhere yet, what is holding you back? What steps can you take to make it happen? What goals do you need to set? What fears do you need to overcome? 

If you have submitted work, how did it feel? What was the waiting process like? 

If you’ve received a rejection letter, how did you react? What encouraged you afterwards? 

Share a success story about a submission. What was it like to have work accepted by another party? 

Explain the process you go through to submit work; how do you record your submissions and responses? 

Next week we’re tackling chapters 7 and 8, namely the important topics of PROMOTE and DISCOVER. Click HERE to look ahead to the upcoming link-up suggestions.

 

Go ahead and share your thoughts on SEND in the comments and/or link-up below!

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30 thoughts on “on being a writer :: send {chapter 6}

  1. kate, Funny, I thought 55% return was actually pretty good! different perspectives I guess, from one that’s not been published to one that has 🙂 I love your get up, dust yourself off and keep writing quote! Again, I cannot tell you how valuable and FUN doing this discussion has been! I only wish it had been before the retreat! Just means there needs to be another one next year 🙂 have a wonderful day!

    • Thanks, Christy! Just curious — could you expand on why you think it would’ve been better/more helpful to have this discussion before the retreat? It will help me plan ahead if/when there is a next time! 😉 Thanks!

  2. Kate, can’t thank you enough for the whole series (my mindset has totally shifted from ‘I can’t call myself a writer’ to ‘I am a writer’: amazing!)….and thanks for the list of publications…(so kind of you). I also thought your 55% rate was very good! (Go you!). Very much appreciated today’s prompt, which has definitely made me ‘concrete’ things and stop being so wishy-washy about my writing. THANK YOU.

  3. Kate – I love that you started a spreadsheet to track your submissions! And I’d say a 55 percent success rate IS something to write home about. Then, with the 45 percent that didn’t get accepted on the first try, have a back up plan, a plan b, even if it’s just a spot on your own blog (or maybe that should be plan C). Sending out your work is more art than science, it’s more about the timing, the trends, what’s happening in an editor’s life that day. YOU are an inspiration!

  4. I agree with the others- I thought a 55% success rate was good too. I think we can sometimes be harder on ourselves than we are on other people.
    And as a tiny contribution to the discussion, here is another site that accept guest blog posts: http://bravegirlcommunity.com/contact/
    I’ve never submitted anything but have enjoyed reading several of the posts there.

  5. This is really interesting — I’m now going to go back and read the previous posts in this series! Besides blogging, the main writing I do is fiction and poetry and I would say my success rate is more like 5%. But I still keep submitting. I don’t lose anything by trying (unless the editors are starting to think “Oh, no, her again?!”)

    My most discouraging moment, though, was to submit a story and have an editor say “This isn’t for us but please send us more stories or a revised version of this one” (and they explained why it wasn’t quite right). I worked very hard on the revisions (my writing group helped) and resubmitted it … and they rejected it again. Bummer. But … I keep on keeping on.

    • Ahhh, Jeannie. I am really sorry for that discouraging moment regarding the request to resubmit and then the eventual rejection. I’m really glad to hear that you aren’t letting that keep you from keeping on. A writing teacher told me once that it is often just as likely that a publication will accept a resubmit as reject it (I imagine this is perhaps dependent on the type of market; I think this comment was made more in reference to literary journals). The process can be so subjective.

      In the aftermath of making the revisions, did you submit your story again to other publications? I hope so!

  6. Thank you, Kate, for including the list of topics and due dates for the (in)courage submissions! And all the other links as well! I’ve always wondered how folks find out about these things (but haven’t yet felt motivated and/or equipped enough to actually get in there and dig around)! Thank you so much for doing that legwork– I sincerely appreciate it.

    I’m going to start praying about this and poking around those links now to see if any might be a good fit for me… Yikes!!!!

    Thank you again.

  7. Kate, Thanks for this list of outlets. I’m new to this discussion, but thanks for providing a great outlet to mull over some thoughts I have needed to for awhile. I thought the video was helpful as well as the questions to ask yourself before hitting send. I tend to write about the things God is convicting me of or showing me so three questions I ask before hitting send are:

    1. Does God want me to send this now?
    2. Whose feet am I washing? I ask for a clear picture of whom the Lord is asking me to pray for and serve through my words.
    3. What am I asking the Lord to do in and through my writing?

  8. Kate, thanks so much for organizing discussion around this topic (and I agree with others that 55% is fabulous! well done!). Yes, rejection is definitely a part of the writing life. I appreciate the encouragement to just keep going and not let it paralyze you from sending out the next submission. These things really can be so subjective.

    A couple of other thoughts I had related to my own relationship with rejection are:

    1. I have found that receiving rejections has been a great way to help me continue to improve my writing. In the beginning I did receive several acceptances that were so encouraging to a new writer. However, I think the acceptances in some ways made me complacent as a writer. I felt less need to seek out ways to improve my craft since whatever I was doing seemed to be working. The rejections (and there are many of them ☺) have actually motivated me to look for ways to grow as a writer whether through taking classes, connecting with writing groups, reading books about writing, etc.

    2. When I look back on my spreadsheet, I see that there is a trend in the areas where I receive the most rejections (even as I have continued to improve as a writer). As I have prayed about this, it has occurred to me that perhaps this is Holy nudge about where I should be investing my efforts. Since the reality is that we can’t write for every type of publication, in every genre, all the time, perhaps rejection can be viewed as an invitation to concentrate more effort on the places it seems God is using our voice and words. Of course, I don’t think that this means we shouldn’t try and try again. I think this comment relates more to patterns you might see when you look back on your history of rejections and acceptances.

  9. I avoided this chapter for a week! I don’t have a great longing to be published (although I do have a couple of book ideas that keep churning in my head and heart). I guess I want to learn to write well more than I want to be published. I want to be helpful more than I want an audience.

    I’m in the position of being asked to write blogs, books, articles, etc so there’s no shortage of opportunity at this time, by God’s amazing grace. My primary issue is that I’m often paralyzed by fear and feelings of inadequacy. I need to remember that it’s not ultimately about my time, energy, wisdom and creativity but more about trusting that the Lord guides my pen and that what comes out on the page is a result of His working in me. So with shaky hand, I write and send.

  10. Thanks so much for the Mudroom mention! The 5 Minute Friday prompts were what brought me back to writing after losing heart for over 10 years. I participated for three years and it helped boost my confidence, build community, generate ideas, and eventually decide to launch a collaborative blog. You and Lisa-Jo have done so much over the years to encourage writers and I am thankful for you both!

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