You come across a call for submissions from a literary journal holding a competition. The theme is right up your ally.It’s like the journal had you in mind when planning the contest. You think to yourself this is a match made in heaven.
You send your work and are certain you nailed it, all you’re waiting for now is the official announcement saying you won. Then it arrives, the dreaded rejection letter. Your hopes and dreams swept away by a quickly written generic email.What do you do now? Question your abilities as a writer? Drown your sorrows in a series? Beat yourself up and never write again?
Or you could use this horrible rejection experience as a great way to gain some valuable insight into how you can improve your writing skills and overall artistry.Scary, right? But what do you have to lose? Getting feedback/insight into where you went wrong has a number of great benefits, sure you’re not guaranteed the journal or magazine will ever get back to you but it’s worth giving it a shot and here are some reasons why.
Firstly, asking for feedback from the very people who didn’t accept your work will give you great information about the specific things you can improve and polish for your next submission. It helps you identify where you need to focus your attention on. Perhaps you over look some punctuation rules or add a lot of unnecessary commas or you have a lot of wrong word errors whatever the case is feedback can help you with that problem and arm you with knowledge that will have your next submission in the bag.
Not only does feedback help you polish your work but it also connects you to your writing goals.Feedback lets you know how much progress you have made towards your writing goals and what else you need to do to meet them. Take for instance the editor might reply to your query by first highlighting your strengths then after your weaknesses, this might show you how far you have come as a writer and how far you still need to go. Furthermore this feedback may help verify that you have indeed achieved a certain goal you set out to accomplish or if this goal is still yet to be achieved.
In addition, asking for advice and views following a submission decline might just point out something that you weren’t aware of. Unlike your friends and family, the editors have nothing to lose by being brutally honest with you, so this is most likely where you will get some of the most valuable evaluation.
Finally, it helps you take possession of your writing. If you were uncertain about what you want to concentrate on in terms on a specific genre as a writer, feedback might help direct you to the genre that fits your particular writing style.
I know it’s really difficult and a little awkward taking that first step and asking for feedback because of the thought of the harsh criticism that might follow but it’s never personal, remember that. Comments are there to help you grow not criticize you, its all part of the process. And while asking for feedback is important using that newly gained knowledge is more important.
It’s a shame feedback is usually evaded or even feared in many communities but it’s probably one of the greatest gifts you can give as well as receive from somebody.