Learning from the Low Points By Gail C. Johnson

It’s hard to single out a low point in my writing attempts, but I have one that illustrates what we have all heard – keep trying and read your target markets.

By virtue of living in a rural area of North Carolina, I belong to an electric co-op. They publish a monthly magazine that includes a section called, “Nothing Could Be Finer.” The basic guidelines are to send your best within their suggested word count, and to write from the heart. With a different theme each month, one appeals to me from time to time.

For a published writer like me, it felt like easy pickings for a $50 reward. Wrong! The first three I sent in were rejected. After that, I quit submitting to them and started reading the section each month. It soon became apparent that some of the ones selected were not well written, but they did have heart. Knowing I was not competing with many professional writers made rejection in this arena really tough. So why weren’t mine selected? I was a decent writer and several other magazines had published my work. I kept reading and watching the topics. Months later one appealed to me, so I sucked it up and tried again.

This time I hit the mark. That $50 acceptance was like winning the lottery. I had it made! Since that first appearance in Carolina Country, I have not had one submission rejected. I send about one every ten months.

I know this publication is not literary, but it is a paying market that reaches more than 570,000 homes, including my neighbors, my friends and maybe best of all, my sister and her family.

Although Gail Johnson worked and retired as Dean of the Learning Resource Center at a local community college, she never had any creative writing classes. So it’s been learning by reading, writing and taking classes. During this time, she joined a writer’s group and served as treasurer. Years passed before acceptances came with publications in paying markets both online and in print. She writes short fiction and nonfiction. She has an editor who has accepted a non fiction piece for publication in an anthology.