I’ve met many a writer who first broke into print by publishing a story or an article or a craft or a recipe in Highlights for Children. I was not one of them. It was not for lack of trying. I sent many a tale across the desks of the likes of Christine French Clark (now Cully) and Marileta Robinson. They sent them back in my self-addressed stamped envelopes with messages about trying again. So I tried again. And again. Nothing worked. I published in quite a few kids’s magazines over the years but Highlights eluded me until I moved to the other side of the desk as the magazine’s coordinating editor. After years unraveling the DNA of the magazine, I decided to try again. You might think a Highlights editor can just walk over to another editor’s desk and plop down a story for that editor to publish. Nope. Not gonna happen. A Highlights editor has to put her story in the slush pile with everyone else’s stories and she must use a pseudonym when she does so. I set myself a goal of getting a yes from Marileta Robinson. I chose one of the hardest forms to get right: the rebus. Marileta and I were in a critique group together. I had read this rebus to the group and she had loved it. I was sure to get a yes. I got my lovely little rebus back with a message to try again. When I showed my returned rebus with its “thanks but no thanks” note to Marileta, she told me something I’ll always remember—the day my rebus came across her desk she was completely overwhelmed by the volume of stories she’d received. What happens when an editor gets more stories than she can publish? She says no. What happens if she has a file already filled with good stories she needs to publish? No again. I’m sharing this incident not to discourage other writers but to share what it’s like on the other side of an editor’s desk. A human sits there. She loves what she does, but she’s busy, busy, busy every day. She spends part of every day in meetings and part of every day editing stories for issues already in process. As for the stories you and I send in? She has to take them home and read them on her own time. So be patient, be persistent, and don’t give up. I didn’t. I now have a few of those prized Highlights bylines, and, every once in awhile, I actually have a Highlights editor ask me to write something for the magazine. Looks like I’ve made it, at long last.