Years ago, when I began sending out pieces to magazines, the word Editor made me tremble. After a month I’d scurry to the mail box to check if there was another rejection from another of those people who didn’t know something good when they read it. On my way I’d repeat to myself, “There won’t be an acceptance.” “There won’t be an acceptance.”
“Forewarned is Forearmed” used to be my armor.
After I began attending writers’ conferences and signing up for “show and tell” with various editors I learned they weren’t so terrifying after all. In fact, most were kind. Some even suggested another editor: “I think what you have written will fit their needs better than ours.” Also, in their workshops they shared many dos and don’ts of writing—errors I didn’t know I made.
Critique groups became an important part of the learning stage. Each participant read her or his article, poem or story aloud. Words were limited. Afterwards the ten or twelve listeners would critique the piece. One new writer said, “If you tell me what’s wrong first, I probably will stop writing.” From there on we criticized by an unwritten law: “Say the good things first, then add constructive criticism.”
Many years have skipped by since my first acceptance. Years of learning. Of taking rejections in stride. Of taking the articles apart to find areas of needed improvement. Now, almost to the top of my hilltop climb, I still find new ideas. New ways of sharing old thoughts.
To help yourself, join or start a critique group. Accept all the advice editors and the other writers give you. Attend conferences and expect to learn enough to make your fingers jump onto the computer and let all your good words pour out. Oh, there is a bonus–you’ll make new, life-long friends, other writers, and hopefully, super editors like the ones who have blessed me, especially the ones named Eddie and Cindy.
The best lesson I have learned: If you love to write. Write.
Most of all, God has given you a talent. Use it for His glory.