I received an e-mail from a new writer--a poet--wanting to break into publishing her poetry. How to start, she asked? I've received a rejection, and I want to make sure I'm doing this right.
My advice: Read, write, and submit times infinity! You should be aware of what others are writing, and you should keep reading. Subscribe to a few magazines that publish poetry you like. Read lots of online journals. Never stop fine-tuning your work, try to write every day, and don't be too discouraged by rejection. Keep submitting no matter what. Be tenacious, and be driven. Expect lots of rejection. Eventually, you'll develop a tough skin. Always expect rejection, and when you receive it, don't take it personally. When you don't receive it, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Sometimes even published writers need to remind themselves not to get discouraged. I have friends who have been published, or make that Published, with a capital "p," and they still talk about the sting of rejection.
Like the old adage goes, you can't make everybody happy all the time. Writers: the best thing you can do is to please yourself. It will come through in your writing, and that spark will shine through. If you're trudging through your writing, that'll show too.