Personal essay and memoir writing

Tracking pitches, rejections, and essays accepted helped me commit to writing and publishing work.

Liz Presson
Feb 5, 2018 · 2 min read

In March 2017, I made a new commitment to writing. While the writing I’ve published in the past focused on business (Fast Co., The Muse, Inc, Mashable), I’ve wanted to publish personal essay and memoir pieces for as long as I can remember. In 2017, I got more comfortable with pitching, getting rejected, and all of the feelings that come along with putting your personal life out in the open.

In February, I took a one day memoir writing workshop at Gotham City Writers. On March 9, I had my first meeting with my writing mentor, Melissa. On April 26, I sent my first pitch to Narratively for a well-deserved ice-cold rejection.

From April to December:

  • I pitched 16 stories 71 times.
  • I got 37 rejections including “try again” rejections from (not the full list): NYT Smarter Living, Catapult, Cosmo, VICE
  • 27 times I got no response.
  • Four times an editor expressed interest but ultimately passed.

Seven pieces were accepted (I failed to write one essay for an accepted pitch). Six pieces were published:

A look at how I track essays, pitches, rejections, and published work:

Tracking essays, pitches, rejections, and published work.

Now, I’m aiming to write and pitch two new stories a month with a focus on following up with the editors who encouraged me to pitch again. I’d love to grab bylines in Narratively, Catapult, NYT, The Cut, and Psychology Today.

If you’re thinking of publishing your work, I’m happy to share pitch tips, rates, and resources (reach me at:

Liz Presson

Written by

Leading a team of amazing women as the founder of Pursuit. Writer with bylines in BUST Mag, Marie Claire, The Rumpus, Ravishly, Fast Company, & others.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade