What if the editor of your dreams said yes

Writing Inspiration and Exciting News!

Hi, Kelly Eden here!

I have exciting news about the launch of our Creative Nonfiction Writing School but first I want to share some inspiration:

Have you dreamed of being published in The New York Times? The Modern Love column perhaps? This week I spoke to one writer whose dreams become a reality. Christie Tate, soon found out that writing success is not all literary agents and accolades though!

Here’s what she wanted to share with you all:

Writing for Modern Love

Modern Love only accepts 1% of the submissions it receives. It must have been exciting when you heard a yes from the editor! Can you tell us a bit about your experience with being published there? How did you go about preparing your submission for them?

Getting an acceptance from Modern Love was one of the greatest thrills of my life. I’d tried twice before and didn’t make the cut.

For the essay that was eventually published, I wrote five drafts after studying the Modern Love column for months. I read back issues, and I listened to an episode of the Tin House podcast where Ann Hood discussed her Modern Love experiences — at the time she was the writer with the most Modern Love acceptances. I listened to that episode over and over, hoping the lessons would sink into my bones. 

I workshopped my draft with my writing group. When I had a final version, I sat on it for a few weeks because I was scared.

I’d been watching writers publish in that column for years, always thinking that it would never happen for me.

I knew my idea was good and that I had many of the elements that the editor looked for — there are articles on the internet where the editor explains how to write a successful Modern Love column. I hesitated because I couldn’t imagine that he would accept an essay from a nobody in Chicago. I had zero connections.

I didn’t have a fancy MFA.

I’d been watching writers publish in that column for years, always thinking that it would never happen for me.

I sent the essay on a Tuesday afternoon. I pressed “send” and then researched where else I could send it if Modern Love didn’t want it. Then, I let go.

The email arrives.

It was Thanksgiving week, so I was busy with travel and family. I actually forgot about it. The Monday after Thanksgiving — so six days later — I got an email from the editor that started out: “Nice essay.”

I stood up in my office and screamed, alarming my coworkers. The editor set up a call for the next day. It wasn’t totally clear that he would take the essay, but I knew that “nice essay” was very good news.

We talked the next day for 45 minutes about the essay and my background. He was extremely thoughtful, insightful, and smart. It was a wonderful conversation.

At the end, he said he would send me revisions and a contract, and only then did I fully realize my essay would appear in the Modern Love column.

I did not scream into the editor’s ear, but when I got off the phone, I burst into tears.

My husband took a video of me laughing and crying and professing, “I’ll never cry over writing and rejections again! This is all I ever wanted! I will die happy.”

Guess what? That turned out to be untrue. While I loved my experience with Modern Love, and the day it came out was a singular thrill that I’ll never forget, I did cry again.

Here’s a mistake I made in my Modern Love experience.

When I got my “yes” from the editor, I reached out to another writer who’d been published there the year before.

That writer told me that the day his essay was published, the literary agent of his dreams reached out to him and agreed to represent him.

“It’s very common to get a literary agent from a Modern Love column,” he told me.

At the time, I had a draft of my memoir and desperately wanted an agent. 

When my Modern Love column was published, a few agents and publishers reached out to me. I sent each of them my memoir and heard nothing from any of them.

Total crickets.

I was so despondent from the rejections that it clouded the joy I felt from my Modern Love column.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I could have done that differently, but it taught me to work harder at celebrating my successes and to insist on my joy, even if it looks different than someone else’s joy.

Find out where to buy her book: “Group

She had more to say to you, but too much for one newsletter. I’ll let you know when I post the whole interview on Medium.

And now for the Writing School!

I asked a few weeks ago if anyone was interested in a writing school and the response was a big YES. So I’ve been working hard preparing the resources and materials and the first lesson will be sent out on Monday!

If you want to level up your creative nonfiction this is what you get with the writing school:

  • Lesson sent every Monday and full access to all archived lessons.

  • Weekly curated Creative Non-Fiction readings and featured publisher to sell your work.

  • Individual feedback every month on 250 words of your writing.

Hardly any writing courses offer feedback (especially for this price!) but as an ex-teacher I know that feedback is the most useful tool for improvement and learning. I want this course to be of real value to you, so making sure feedback is included is important to me.

  • Subscriptions to the Creative Nonfiction Writing School are $20 a month (or $230 per year).

    Subscribe now