Persistence, Patience, Perseverance

My latest non-fiction article, Gentle Giant, was recently published as the cover story of the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s WILD magazine (hooray!). But previous to that, the article had been rejected by a rather large and popular children’s magazine.

Rejected by one magazine, but chosen as the cover story for another?! What?

The previous magazine had returned my manuscript with a postcard listing a number of reasons why the piece was rejected. Checked off, with a hurried-looking ink checkmark, was the statement, “It does not meet our needs at this time.”

But I did my homework to make sure the magazine had not published any recent articles about moths! I had three different people proofread my story and tell me it was great! I even included awesome one-of-a-kind photographs that my coworker had taken of the moth!

In other words, the nasty critic in my head was yelling, “HOW DARE THEY?!”

But the nicer, more rational voice in my head was telling me that perhaps they already had stories lined up for the next few issues. Perhaps they already received a deluge of animal stories. Perhaps they just weren’t interested in moths.

In other words, it wasn’t my writing. Just try again.

So off to the library I went, to peruse the variety of kids’ magazines and see if there was another title that caught my eye.

Sure enough, I came across WILD. It seemed to focus almost exclusively on animals and was strictly Canadian content. Seemed like a good fit. I jotted down the email address that was printed beside, “Editorial inquiries” and raced home to revise my cover letter.

By then it was October 2015. I emailed my submission and hoped for the best.

I think it was April 2016 when I found out WILD was going to run my story in their June/July issue (insert happy dance here). So for a 600-word article, it took 10 months from submission to print.

Years ago, either during a writing class or during a conference, someone said that writing is about persistence, patience, and perseverance.

Persistence – If someone doesn’t want your writing, there could be a number of reasons that have nothing to do with your writing ability. Timing is key. Try again, and maybe your timing will be perfect for someone else.

Patience – For my 600-word article it took 10 months between submission and print. And that doesn’t include the time it took me to write and revise the piece, and waiting to hear back from my initial submission.

It is really hard to be patient. I still struggle with it. But I find what helps is to keep writing! Work on something else in the meantime.

Perseverance – I knew in my gut that I had a good story. It would find a home somewhere. I would see to it that it would.



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