Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer


My blogging time with Poetry Has Value may have reached its end, but that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to share my poetry submission stats with you. So here’s the report for the month of March.

Venues to Which I Submitted Poetry and Total Poems Submitted: (11) Blackbird, Cincinnati Review, Common Good Books Poetry Contest, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Manhattan Jewish Experience Poetry Contest, Mortar Magazine, New Haven Review, Outlook Springs, The Rush, Third Point Press, The Tishman Review.

Rejections Received: (10) Christian Century, Copper Nickel, Day One, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Lascaux Review, Okey-Panky, Rivet, Room, Story, Third Point Press.

Acceptances: (0)

Publications: (0)

Money Spent: $0

Money Earned: $0

March TOTAL: $0

Total Money Spent in 2017: $0

Total Money Earned in 2017: $50

2017 TOTAL: $50

Total Submissions in 2017: 32 (“packets”)

Total Rejections in 2017: 20

On a Related Note: Fun with Twitter Polls

One day not very long ago, my own experience receiving some of the aforementioned 10 rejections prompted me to run the following Twitter poll:

Suffice to say that although I lean toward the majority here in my own preferences, that isn’t quite the way things worked out for me on the day in question!

Then, buoyed by the fun of that poll and similarly inspired by my own experience (in this case, a review of my “active” submissions–those marked either “received” or “in-progress” within the Submittable platform), I started another one. Which ended yesterday.

It’s difficult to extrapolate anything certain from these results. One respondent, for example, indicated via Twitter that he had only very recently begun submitting work. (If you’ve been sending work out for under six months, then you’d have to choose option A.) Others expressed a belief that after a certain amount of time had passed, some of their submissions were simply “no-response”; I’m guessing that after 18 months, some people consider the answer to be “no,” by default.

Nonetheless, I find the results interesting—and I thank everyone who participated. (For the record, my own response falls within the third category.)


And One More Thing

Here’s a little bit of news ahead of next month’s Stats Update:

One of my March submissions has just won a contest!

That’s right. Monday night, during its pre-Passover Mock Seder, Manhattan Jewish Experience announced that Yehoshua November had chosen a poem of mine to win its contest. (It was something of a “pop-up contest”; I’d caught mention of it while watching a recording of another MJE event—featuring November—and managed to send in some work just in the nick of time.)

Here’s the text of the poem. Champagne to follow (with my Jewish-text-study-and-writing group, where this poem was born).

“Jacob’s Dream” by José de Ribera (1639).

Comforts of Home

His mother’s face.
His father’s voice.
Even, maybe, his brother’s scent.
And a bowl of lentils.
Perhaps these were the yearnings of Jacob’s heart
that lonely night between Beer-sheba and Haran
when he settled his head on its stone pillow
not knowing that the angels awaited
his migratory slumber.

9 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Your transparency and vulnerability in sharing your rejection/acceptance stats is admirable and appreciated. I find that after a long dry spell, good news often comes just in time to lift my ego from the floor. All writers must grow thick skins and keep on submitting. Revise, rewrite, repeat. Then, hopefully, sometimes, rejoice!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:


  2. Four of us are competing for most rejections by the end of the year. The winner (loser?) will pay for everyone’s glassofwine. It’s been fun sharing rejection by form letter, rejection with a crumb of comfort (“Try us again!”) and weird rejections (“Your story is unsuited to this issue.”) Unsuited? We’ve had a lot of fun with that word. But seriously, it has led us to exchange journals–some new to me–and become more familiar with what they publish, to revise and get work out, to share news of competitions and calls for submission. I recommend it.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      I’m seeing similar efforts popping up elsewhere, Martha. It’s wonderful.

  3. Erika-Congratulations on winning a contest that’s close to your heart. Those are worth more than rubies.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thank you! It does mean a lot.

  4. Lorri McDole says:

    I love your poem, Erika! And I agree with Evelyn. I haven’t submitted for awhile, but just received an acceptance for a piece I submitted a year ago. Hope renewed, and rejoicing!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Excellent, Lorri! Congratulations!

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