Writing update: 12 Months, 60 Rejections

I’ve been working on a bunch of things lately (hence, the slackness on the blog) and as usual, they’re all due at the same time. I’ve got one assignment, one submission to a literary journal, and one to an online magazine. The assignment is in good shape (I think), thanks in part to YP and his sharp eye, but the other two are less, um, developed. In addition, I’ve been writing a lot for work as usual (this post on dog breeds is particularly fun).

Recently I read this article from poet Brett Elizabeth Jenkins about her project, “One Year, One Hundred Rejections,” the goal of which was “to garner one hundred rejecton letters within the course of one calendar year.”  This idea immediately appealed to me. I feel like I don’t submit as much as I could, and look for anything to motivate me.

I don’t think I’d be able to collect 100 rejections in a year. That would mean at least 8 submissions a month, and with longer form pieces (I’m assuming Brett submitted mostly poetry but I could be wrong), that would be virtually impossible, at least for me.  But maybe that’s because right now I don’t feel like I have a really good, polished piece that I could send to a bunch of places. Last year I did (An Old Man on The Frontier Loses His Horse), which I submitted to at least half a dozen places, resulting in a contest win.

Anyway, the arbitrary goal I’ll pick is 60, which means five submissions a month, starting this month. So far I have one from Sun Magazine. They accept previously published work so I was able to quickly submit a piece from The Nervous Breakdown which I’m particularly proud of. Standard form rejection. Oh well.

Obviously the goal isn’t to try to get rejected, but to submit pieces and pitches to a sufficient number of places that *might* add up to 60 rejections. And I know I could call it the Sixty Submissions Project (which kinda has a better ring to it), but rejections makes it seem more daring. Like, who cares, I’ll just take a chance and submit to this hoity-toity magazine since I’m “trying” to get rejections anyway!

So counting Sun and the two possible rejections I’m working on, that’s three. I also plan on writing and submitting another piece that’s due at the end of the month, that’s four. And maybe if I feel okay about the more literary piece I’m working on, I’ll submit it to a few other places before the month is out.

I’m gonna need a spreadsheet.


  1. This is an interesting idea, collect 100 rejections in a year. I’d like to publish a short story but I haven’t the faintest idea where to look for short story publishers. I’d like to try for Glimmer Train.

    Do you know of a compiled list somewhere, online perphaps?

  2. […] project. To remind you, this month I launched the 12 Months, 60 Rejections project. Last week I submitted an essay to a literary magazine, just under the wire. I thought I could use […]

  3. […] for my 12 Months, 60 Rejections projects, I haven’t received any more rejections so far, but I’ve submitted two more pieces. My […]