Forcing myself to submit my poems for publication

Oh, the irony…

I accept submissions of poems from other writers at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, but, ironically, I have never submitted any of my own poems for publication. True, one of my poems was published in Masticadores India, but that was only because Terveen Gill, the editor, was kind enough to extend an invitation to me to send her a piece of mine.

Nearly three months ago, I concluded that I should submit some of my poetry to various poetry magazines, but I have yet to do so. Why?


1. I’m afraid of rejection

If I’m attempting to be honest, this is something that I should admit up front.

Publishing poetry on my own blog is risk-free, and I’m guaranteed to receive positive feedback from other poets on WordPress because of the community that we have here. I mean – take a look at the comments section of any poetry blog on WordPress… They’re all pretty much lovefests, right? And – even if somebody attempts to post a critical comment (which almost never happens), it will almost certainly be deleted or marked as spam by the blogger.

On the other hand, if I submit my poems to various publications, they can be, and some will be, rejected. Of course, I know full well that this comes with the territory, but that’s an awful feeling for somebody who invests so much of himself in his craft.

2. The “Not previously published” thing

In addition to taking pride in my writing, I also take pride in The Skeptic’s Kaddish itself, which includes a personal commitment to produce and publish quality content here on a regular basis. The thing is – it takes me a fair amount of time to write poems that I feel proud of… And I don’t want to decrease my rate of publishing blog posts.

Essentially, producing poems for publication would require additional hours beyond the time that I currently invest in writing, and that’s on top of work, family life, and sleep.

Also, I’m very much a “sharer” by nature – it’s very hard for me to produce a piece of creative writing that I’m proud of and not publish it. This is the main reason that I blog instead of journaling privately. I love the interactions that my writings generate.

It’s frustrating for me that producing poems for other publications would require me to keep them private until they’re published, and that’s under the assumption that they’re accepted for publication at all. It’s not as though one receives an immediate response to his submissions – these processes can take weeks and even months.

3. Ceding control of my works

There’s something profoundly uncomfortable for me about the notion of my poems being out of my hands. On this blog, where I post all of my creative writing, I can always go back and tweak any of my pieces on the spur of the moment.

In fact, quite often, after publishing a poem, I’ll reread it and feel newly dissatisfied with some part of it, which leads me to edit it after it’s gone “live”. To be full transparent, some of my poems have been edited multiple times after I first posted them… And, sometimes, I end up reversing the changes I’ve made in a fit of further dissatisfaction.

Look, I know that this perfectionism of mine is not healthy for me – it also gets in my way in other aspects of my life… But this is something that nags at me – I can very well imagine myself submitting a poem for inclusion in a publication and then wanting to edit it again afterwards… And what if it gets published, but I’m no longer pleased with it?

4. Fear of the unknown

I’ve never submitted any writings for publication, and I’m not at all an adventurous spirit. This is scary for me.

5. Not my strength

My strength is in writing; not networking; not figuring out which publications would be most appropriate for me to write for; not… well, not anything related to marketing myself or my craft.

In my fantasies, I somehow get magically discovered by a publisher who loves my writing, and I don’t have to deal with any of this business, other than producing the content.

Growing as a writer

Despite all of the above, I really should submit some poetry to various magazines…

At the end of the day, a successful writer is one whose works get read; and limiting myself to only publishing here at The Skeptic’s Kaddish is keeping me back. I know this well, but it doesn’t make this scary process any easier for me.


106 thoughts on “Forcing myself to submit my poems for publication”

  1. I’m a year into blogging but have made a commitment to dive deeper this year.. have been hesitant to take it (or myself) too seriously, for fear of rejection. Thank you for sharing your struggle and making others feel less alone. I have no doubt you’ll be published in no time 🙂

    1. Sarah, nice to meet you! You may be interested to know that I created this blog following my own father’s death… I just read your story, which is different than mine, but bears some fundamental similarities ❣️


  2. I have submitted poems and short stories before. The first one I sent out took seven months before I received my rejection email. I had two poems that were accepted to an online journal, but the journal went out of print before they were able to publish my poems. It can be a fulltime job keeping track of what you sent where and when. And I gave up on trying to get published for many of the same reasons you are procrastinating. But I need to get back to it. Maybe I will actually be able to see something in print this time.

  3. As someone trying to find my voice and build the confidence to expose myself publicly to my writing, this allowed me to see that I am not the only one with fears of rejection and no one who likes y voice, my perspective, thanks ben!

    1. ❤ Rich ❤ ~ Thanks for visiting me. You're definitely not the only one!

      BTW, please feel free to call me ‘David’, which is my first name. The word ‘ben’ simply means ‘son of’ in Hebrew, and my father’s name was ‘Alexander’ ~ I created this blog in his memory. I know my pen name is confusing – I’m sorry about that! 🙂


  4. Ha! Great post, Ben! Welcome to the same boat! LOL Maybe we should consider the strategy of the water buffalo use to cross a river with alligators – everyone go at once! Maybe we would feel better doing simultaneous submissions? Kind of like the shotgun approach? LOL! Thanks for sharing this!
    Chuck 😊✨👍

    1. Thanks so much, Chuck❣️

      BTW, please feel free to call me ‘David’, which is my first name ~ the word ‘ben’ means ‘son of’ in Hebrew, and I created this blog in honor of my father whose name was ‘Alexander’. My pen name is confusing ~ I’m genuinely sorry about the confusion!


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