Submitting to literary journals (OR I got 41 rejections in the month of January)

litjournals-1I’ve always submitted to literary journals on occasion, but for the past six months, I’ve been doing it pretty intensively. And let me tell you: it is very weird to start at the bottom all over again. I have never gotten an acceptance from a literary journal and have certainly gotten fewer than 10 personalized rejections. Submitting to literary journals is a bit of an odd activity, because there’s no online community that discusses the stories that come out in them. Many literary have readers. Some of the best ones even have tens of thousands of readers. But I don’t get all the tweets that are like, “So and so had a great story in Ploughshares last week!”

But I’ve gradually created a list of literary journals that I submit to. And now I submit to them. You would think it’d be disheartening, but it’s really not. There’s a sense of possibility in it. I’ve always enjoyed submitting things: it feels more like doing something than most writing does. And, since I’m not submitting to places where I or my friends have sold stories, there’s much less of a sense of expectation.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very oppressed by life. It feels like I need to spend all my effort on keeping what I have–my weight, my place in school, my social circle, etc–and that nothing I’m doing really has a possibility of leading to anything more. I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m just running out the clock on life.