A Note from The Lyricist on Rejection

Let’s talk rejection. The ‘r’ word is probably the scariest three syllables you’ll ever come across. Take every horror movie out there, and absolutely none could ever be as frightening and soul-crushing as the feeling of being unwanted. Freddy? Jason? Michael? They’ve got nothing on the intimidating lady manager from McDonald’s who said you simply weren’t Big Mac material.

            And if being denied the divine opportunity of wearing red polyester brings you down, you can’t even imagine how awful it would be to lose out on something you poured your very essence into. You spent hours working on your art collage. You shed emotional tears writing your poetry. You sustained life-threatening paper cuts while working on your prose. Your piece represents YOU. The idea of anyone seeing your work, judging it, and critically evaluating it makes you squeamish. What if, catastrophe of catastrophes, that person—whether a friend, a teacher, a family member, or an editor—doesn’t like it? Obviously, the world would end. Or you’d just have a bruised ego. Same thing, really.

But here’s the thing: rejection isn’t the end. Did you know that J.K. Rowling’s massively popular book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was rejected by a dozen different publishing houses? Or that The Diary of Anne Frank was returned by sixteen publishers? Most of the time, success doesn’t happen straight away.  In fact, most artists die in poverty and obscurity (Vincent van Gogh, John Keats, Zora Neale Hurston). Yet none of that should keep a writer, an artist, or a poet from trying.

So reject the idea of rejection. Keep writing, keep composing, keep drawing; just keep those creative fountains flowing! You have the power to share your voice, and, what’s even rarer, you have a captive audience. As a college student, you have a multitude of media that is begging for your contribution. Campbell University has a newspaper, a yearbook, a television station, and a literary magazine that all need your insight, your ideas, and your work. There will not be another time in your life when editors plead for the opinion of a twenty-year-old. It just won’t happen. So take advantage today: join the yearbook staff, craft an article for the newspaper, share ideas with Camelnet, or submit to the literary magazine, The Lyricist.

The world of publishing can be intimidating, but starting small—on campus—builds your skills and your confidence. Campbell University’s annual literary magazine, The Lyricist, exists as an outlet for your creative talent. The magazine publishes statewide poetry and student poetry, prose, and artwork. Not only do you have the opportunity to have your works published, but your submissions could even be selected as the first, second, or honorable mention winner in the student poetry, prose, or artwork competition. Winning money, bragging rights, and an ego-boost? You’ve just hit the artist jackpot, my friend. So submit that poem gathering dust in your closet to The Lyricist. Send the short story your English professor praised too. Even the Instagram photo that received a hundred little hearts can be submitted to the student art competition.  Don’t let the ‘r’ word get in your way; make your own way.

  Lyricist Submission Guidelines for Campbell Students:


• send us up to 3 original, unpublished poems

• 1st prize: $75; 2nd prize: $45


• send us up to 3 original, unpublished pieces of artwork

• all selected pieces will be printed in black & white

• 1st prize: $75; 2nd prize: $45


• send us up to 3 original, unpublished short stories

• 1st prize: $75; 2nd prize: $45

Lyricist Submission Guidelines for North Carolina Residents:


• send us up to 3 original, unpublished poems

• 1st prize: $75; 2nd prize: $45

All submissions to be sent to lyricist@campbell.edu

Written by: Victoria Berger

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