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You Have To SUBMIT Your Work To Get It Published
by Lori Hazen Robinett

I have fancied myself a writer since my high school psychology professor caught me after lunch about fifteen years ago and said, "Hey, Slick, you’ve got talent!" He was referring to a fictional story I had written for class about a girl considering suicide. He handed me a flyer about a seminar for young writers and encouraged me to submit my story. I did and my story was "published" in an anthology of short stories written by other high school students. I was hooked – seeing my name in print was a tremendous rush. I had been successful once, but for the next fifteen years, I was afraid to submit my writing to any publication. What if my next story wasn’t good enough?

I love writing –- expressing my deepest feelings in a creative way. But I was not prepared for the backlash. My parents suspected that I was considering suicide. Other students thought the story was strange and I found myself being critiqued from all sides. For the next fifteen years, my writing was my private passion. I still longed, though, for the thrill of being published.

Just last year I bought myself a PC for my birthday and began subscribing to every free newsletter I came across. Within months, I was overwhelmed and unsubscribed to most. I found Writing for Dollars to be precisely what I needed though. It broke writing down into a realistic goal, with specific steps to be accomplished. Perhaps I could write for others once again. I began jotting down ideas and checking out writers’ sites, and found nonfiction as creatively challenging as fiction. I learned about query letters, markets and guidelines. I began to feel that I was up to the challenge.

One of the featured guidelines caught my eye. The market was aimed at my daytime career and it was a low paying market. They were looking for an article on something I had just dealt with at work. I spent some time online reading other articles that had been published recently in this particular market, then I jotted down some ideas on the subject at hand. I wrote my article and carefully followed the guidelines provided. With my fingers crossed, I submitted it. The following day I returned from work and checked my email, as I do every day. To my surprise, there was an email from that editor! She liked my style, but had just bought an article on the same subject (note to self: study query letters!). At first glance, I thought it was a rejection, then I realized that she was asking me to submit an article on another subject that she thought I might be familiar with! I immediately sent a return email saying that I would provide an article on that subject within the next few days. I researched this article more thoroughly and spent a good amount of time writing and editing before, with my fingers crossed, submitting it. I rushed home from work the following day and checked my email. Lots of email, but none from the editor. This happened day after day, week after week. After a few weeks of disappointment, I became convinced that my article was in some stack waiting for a rejection letter. Then, after nearly six weeks, I was VERY pleasantly surprised by an email not only accepting my article, but also suggesting that it be made into a two-part article! Pursuant to the editor’s email, I responded with an invoice specifying the rights I was selling.

It really happened to me, a 31-year-old wife and mother with a full-time job! I shut down my computer and ran through the house yelling, "I’m going to be published! I’m going to be published!" It was such a rush!

This acceptance gave me the push I needed. I pulled out the original article I submitted and am now polishing it. Perhaps it wasn’t what this editor needed, but there may be another market out there that does need an article on new bosses. After all, I will never be published again if I don’t submit the work!

© Copyright 2000, Lori Hazen Robinett

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