Show Me the Modern Love

I just submitted my second essay to the New York Times‘ Modern Love column after having been rejected the first time around. As I said in last Sunday’s writing tip, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Gotta get right back on that horse (or is it a bicycle?).

As most writers know, the Times’ Modern Love column is crazy-competitive. Practically every writer friend I can think of either wants to submit an essay or already has and has been rejected — some several times. There’s even a new website called “Modern Love Rejects” which gives a voice, and an outlet, albeit unpaid, to those of us who have tried to scale Mount Modern Love and fallen.

I think of the thousands of entries editor Daniel Jones probably gets each year for only 50 or so slots and how the odds of being published, as my reality-check husband would say to his head-in-the-clouds wife, are certainly not in my favor.

But who cares? I mean, somebody has to be published, right?

Imagine the confusion when my daughter comes to us and says she wants to be a singer or an actress or a writer or a chef, depending on the month, and my husband launches into his “you know how competitive…” speech, while I put my hands over my ears and chant “la la la” until he’s done and then say, “Go for it, girl!”

For me, it’s about the desire. And the talent. And the hard work. For me, the only talk about odds is in the theoretical, rather than the practical — meaning that if another kindly worded rejection comes my way from Mr. Jones, odds are I’ll submit again.

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2 thoughts on “Show Me the Modern Love

  1. Hi Dina! I had the pleasure of sitting in Dan Jones’s session at the Muse conference this past weekend. He seemed very nice and human. He reads all the submission himself. There’s no committee, etc. He’s a one-man show. And yes, it’s SUPER competitive. Less than 52 slots a year because he uses 2-4 for the college contest, depending. I think he’s using 4 this year if I remember correctly but I’m not 100% sure.

    I, of course, would like to submit, too, but after sitting in the session, I don’t think I have anything compelling enough yet. He likes stuff that’s current and event focused rather than a long reflection starting in childhood. And you can’t change names! NYTimes policy!

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