December 3, 2012 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
The final count: 26 rejections in 30 days.
Here’s the thing: rejection hurts and all that, but if you don’t play, you can’t possibly win. Of course you occasionally read about people who win major poetry competitions with their first ever submission, because it happens, but more often than not, the contest winners/published poets/grant awardees have been sending out dozens if not hundreds of entries/submissions/applications. I could probably crunch the numbers on my lifetime acceptance/rejection stats, and it would be depressing reading if you only focused on the rejections, but when you look at the good stuff, well, that’s not too shabby.
Many and many a year ago, in a city by the sea, I won a Fulbright scholarship. To this day I can hardly think about the phone call which told me I’d won without starting to hyperventilate out of sheer joy (as I did at the time). When I was able to breathe again, I went back over my list of grant applications for the previous few years and found that I’d applied for something like 40, and had won a couple of tiny things here and there, but mostly they were rejections. Even the dippy little local ones which couldn’t have had many entries. If you’d looked at my rejection list, you’d have thought I was hopeless.
But here’s another thing: selection committees and editorial boards don’t see your rejections. They only see what you’ve placed in front of them. And sometimes, when the stars align and someone thinks ‘hey, this is awesome’, then there no rejection to be found.
Thanks for playing along. Maybe next year I’ll try something easy, like NaNoWriMo.
The final list:
1. Science Fiction Poetry Association
2. Scottish Book Trust Writers in Schools
3. The Carson Prize/Mixed Fruit
4. Folkestone Writers Short Story Competition
5. The Carson Prize/Mixed Fruit sub #2
6. Neon Magazine
7. The Ilanot Review
8. A-Minor Magazine
9. Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition
10. Thrush Poetry Journal
11. Counterexample Poetics
12. Mobius: The Journal of Social Change
13. A grant for foreign travel
14. SmokeLong Quarterly
15. Choc-Lit Short Story Competition
16. Lancelot Andrewes Awards (Southwark Cathedral Poetry Competition 2012)
17. Foundling Review
18. Redheaded Stepchild
19. An artistic symposium
20. Agent query
21. Dragon’s Pen at the Glasgow Women’s Library
22. Troubadour International Poetry Prize
23. Flash Fiction competition, Book Week Scotland (but my entry can be read in the image 3 pdf)
24. The Pedestal Magazine
25. The Helen Schaible sonnet contest
26. Agent query