Submitting Your Writing Is Scary, Here's How to Make It Easier
If you've ever submitted your work to a literary magazine (or really any publication) you know it's a nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing process. You pour your heart (not to mention countless hours) into writing and editing a creative work to perfection, then you submit it hoping editors will love it as much as you do.
When I first started submitting I would compulsively check my email, looking for any sign that an editor had laid eyes on my work. I'd drive myself mad checking my email so many times a day---and not just the regular inbox. I'd check the others too, just in case.
Primary inbox, promotions tab, spam folder, trash folder, repeat. It's not healthy, to say the least. Especially if you have an addiction-prone personality (*raises hand*).
Since I've been submitting more of my creative nonfiction to literary magazines, this is something I've been struggling heartily with. So I asked one of the savviest writers I know: the one and only Javacia Harris Bowser, founder and CEO of See Jane Write.
Her advice? Submit to so many places that you can't even remember where all you've submitted. That way, when you get an acceptance (or rejection) it's a surprise. You can't stress about it if you've forgotten it's coming. Keep submitting until you get acceptances and they feel like unexpected presents from the universe.
When she first told me this I thought there was no way I could do it. I felt way too obsessed with the status of each submission to forget I'd submitted.
Then, sure enough, it happen. I submitted an essay called "The Letter I Never Sent Harper Lee" to a couple of publications. I got two rejections, then the publication that I'd COMPLETELY forgotten I'd submitted to was the one that accepted it.
[Important note: Make note of everywhere you submit so you can withdraw submissions from publications when your piece is accepted at one of them. But don't freak out over your spreadsheet on a daily basis.]
Because I'm a stubborn person I'd asked Javacia about submitting months ago and I'm really seeing it happen now. When you're hustling hard and submitting your work to a lot of magazines, it's true, you really don't have the time or the mental energy to get too hung up on any single publication.
Submit far, submit wide, and keep calm and write on.