I heard from the editors of the New York Times today and the news wasn’t good. Or was it?

The New York Times website states that the editors of the “Modern Love” column feature, which appears in the Sunday edition of the newspaper are looking for deeply personal essays about contemporary relationships. Ideally, essays spring from some central dilemma the writer has faced in his or her life.

I thought an essay I wrote about a challenge my husband and I faced after we introduced a pet into our household would have wowed the editors enough to accept it for publication. However, I got a generic rejection e-mail this afternoon.

Initially, I felt disappointed. But then I reminded myself that the New York Times is the nation’s newspaper of record. The Sunday paper has a circulation of 1.4 million. The editors probably get hundreds of submissions to the “Modern Love” column every week, which makes the odds of getting published very low.

And then, of course there is the comforting cliché that when one door closes another opens. A few years ago, I sent a different essay to “Modern Love.” It was called short-distance-romance and got rejected, I turned around and sent it to Chicken Soup for the Soul and it got accepted. The essay has a much longer shelf life in Chicken Soul because it’s in a book, as opposed to being on a sheet of news print. So sometimes an initial rejection isn’t a bad thing.

So what has been your experience? Has an initial rejection led you to submit the same work to another outlet, leading to satisfaction with the placement?

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About lisabraxton

Lisa Braxton, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and her Master of Science degree in Journalism at Northwestern University. She is the immediate past president of the Women’s National Book Association/Boston Chapter and an Emmy-nominated journalist. She is a former television news anchor and reporter and spent her television career at stations in Champaign, Illinois, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Hartford, Connecticut. She is also a former newspaper reporter and radio reporter. She currently lives in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Lisa has been published in numerous literary journals, including Snake Nation Review, Foliate Oak, and Meetinghouse: A Journal of New England Fiction, Clockhouse Review, and Literary Brushstrokes.
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2 Responses to I heard from the editors of the New York Times today and the news wasn’t good. Or was it?

  1. jennasievers says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Rejection is such a huge part of writing these days. I think it is a badge of courage to have rejections – lots of rejections – because you cannot get rejections without submissions. You can also not get picked up without submissions. Rejections mean that you are out there and working hard as a writer. Think of it as the lottery. If you don’t play it won’t pay.
    Good luck and keep on working hard.
    Jenna

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