I started submitting to magazines because of something I read in a publisher's guidelines: you have to be published to get published. I had a picture book I wanted to sell and I wanted to do everything I could to work toward that goal.
All the writing, submitting and those countless rejections did wonders for me as a writer. My writing improved and went in directions I had never thought of. I learned (sort of) to be patient, and developed that "thick skin" that everybody always talks about.
In the beginning, it was exhausting and I had only a few small successes. But I kept going because of something else I read, this time in an article in a market guide: if you have talent and you are persistent, you will eventually succeed.
Well, there ya go! My sales to a few little publications confirmed (to me) that I could actually write. It wasn't just some crazy dream. Besides, I was having a great time doing it.
Now that I've been writing for a few years, submitting to magazines is much more than a means to an end. It's helped me to sharpen my skills, discover what type of writing I really love, and, of course, it gives me an occassional pay check and the sense of accomplishment that goes with it.
I believe everyone who wants to write for children should submit to children's magazines. Face it--not every children's story is meant to be a picture book! Here's some of what submitting to magazines will do for you as a writer:
*Rejections will force you to look at your work more objectively.
*Word count limits will force you to keep your writing tight.
*Acceptances will build your confidence AND your resume.
*It gives you opportunities to write fun stuff, like word puzzles, that you might not otherwise try.
*Plus, writing for magazines is just good practice. You can't help but improve!
In my next post, look for some practical advice on submitting to magazines, including what I consider to be the best way to "break in."