Poetry, Writing

Killing Submission Phobia

This is what Michelle Seaton has to say about battling submission phobia:

In 12 years of teaching at Grub Street, I’ve learned three truths about students:

  1. They don’t submit enough, especially the most talented ones. Read that sentence again and then ask yourself how many times you’ve submitted something in the past year. Yeah, I thought so.
  2. Many of my most talented students never submit anything. This makes me crazy.
  3. The students who publish most often submit constantly, as though it’s their job, or their final year on Earth. And guess what? It works.

Read the rest of Michelle’s article here. I vividly remember being a starry-eyed English major in Ye Olde Uni days – I had submitted a portfolio of my prose and poetry to my creative writing teacher, Associate Professor Anne Brewster, from UNSW. She loved my work, and said to me, “You should submit your work to a literary journal.” I remember feeling delighted and embarrassed. Her writing was phenomenal, and to have her praise my work was a serious ego-boost. But did I submit any of my work to any literary journal? Nope. Not until late Tuesday night. After more than ten years of writing since my creative writing days at uni (this is not counting all my angsty teenage writing), I finally bit the bullet and submitted two of my poems to Overland journal. Eeek! It could take several months before they get back to me, and it could very well be a rejection letter, but you know what? It’s only upward from here. The more I submit my work, the more likely it’ll get published. It’s scary to put yourself out there, and rejection isn’t fun either, but as Michelle puts it, “Rejection is all powerful. You think rejection is proof that you have no talent or that the work is no good. Actually, the only thing a rejection proves is that you sent out your work. Good for you. I suggest you collect ten of these and then reward yourself.” 


1 thought on “Killing Submission Phobia”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I too submitted my first poem to a literary journal after my professor read my poem aloud to the class and advised me to submit it. I submitted it to one journal only and it was rejected, and it took me several years after that experience to submit again.

    The writer’s advice is so true! You have to submit to many journals to be accepted by a few. Don’t get discouraged by a rejection. It has nothing to do with your writing as many journals will tell you. Try another journal, and try another. I’m actually writing some tips on the submissions process, which I’ll have up on my blog soon.

    Keep submitting and don’t give up on what you have to say to the world 🙂

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