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    Why, Oh Why?

    Perhaps you spent sleepless nights, or lost your appetite thinking. Perhaps you got so pissed off that you took it upon the neighbor's poor helpless dog. It's that depressing feeling: being rejected "unreasonably."

    As writers, we take pains to write an article in the best way that we can. We invest our time, effort and even emotion to finish a piece. No wonder we feel confident about submitting it - only to be rejected.

    Before you doubt your writing ability, and prematurely decide that writing is just not your cup of tea, be consoled by the thought that there are many reasons - really - why editors reject articles. These are the most common:

    You did not follow the specified format of the publication.

    They want a one-inch margin all around, single spaced and a size 12 Arial font but you insisted on your preference.

    Some editors are so strict that they won't even read your piece if you did not follow their standard format.

    The tone of your article does not match the publication's personality.

    Perhaps you wrote a piece for a teen magazine but you write in old school manner. Did you sound too smart-Alecky? Was your tone too satirical, too radical perhaps?

    Just like products, publications have their own personality. They have a target market in mind. Familiarize yourself with your target publication before you submit an article to lessen your chances of being rejected.

    Late submission.

    Consider the publication's lead time when submitting an article. It takes days, even weeks to prepare an issue of a newspaper or magazine. An article for Valentine's Day should be submitted as early as January, otherwise, wait for it to be published "same time next year!" Ask the editor for an editorial calendar if you want to contribute regularly to a publication.

    You submitted a dirty work.

    It is such a turn-off to receive a hard copy with pencil markings, obvious erasures or creases. Take the time to reprint/retype a page that isn't a hundred percent neat.

    Obsolete and/or untimely article.

    As a writer, you should be abreast with the times. Unless you're writing a history piece, write about what's currently of interest to the readers - again, with the publication's personality and its target market in mind.

    Duplicated article.

    Even if your piece is well-written, neat, timely and worth publishing, it may still get rejected if another article with a very similar topic has just been used. In this case, you can always submit your work to another publication.

    Personal prejudice.

    Unprofessional as it is, there are editors who let their personal prejudices rule over their better judgment. If you make the editor feel threatened, envious, jealous or insecure, don't be surprised if your submissions get rejected. Learn to read between the lines! Master the art of dealing with editors (and their staff) and you'll be guaranteed of a regular writing job!

    Rejections are a part of every writer's life. If you'll exert the effort to know why your work was rejected, you will be a wiser writer because of the practical lesson you will learn.

    Copyright © 2004 Lizzie R. Santos

    Lizzie Santos writes features, literary pieces, scripts and other writing projects both in English and Pilipino. She also lectures at creative writing workshops. Her first book, The Laughter of the Leaves and Other Musings, was published by Giraffe Books. She is working on her second book. Contact her at

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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