Striving toward publication is like being in a maze. And, occasionally, somewhere in the void above there is a cackling voice telling you the end is just around THAT corner or just beyond THIS chapter. Then, you turn the corner only to find another dead-end and a chorus of maniacal laughs.
Okay, more seriously, if you have been writing for a while you will know writing, good writing, takes time. There are mountains of work and it takes more than merely plopping down in front of a computer and penning the greatest novel of all time. There is research. There is plotting. There is putting together a list of believable characters and their back story. There are thousands of words that are written that have nothing to do with the work in its finished form but helps the author gather their bearings whether they are composing a novel or a collection of poetry.
Some writers point to a particular systematic approach of writing short stories and getting them published. Then after the writer has struggled out those smaller pieces a larger work takes form and they write that then pursue an agent. Other writers might tell you to self publish first. Or they might say to do what you are good at, writing a novel for instance, and skip all of that short story business. Even more insist on getting that must have MFA from such and such a school.
Honestly, I don’t think everything works for everyone. I believe the most important thing is to discover what you are good at and saturate yourself with it. If its poetry read about it, write it often, and share what you have written with other poets. The same goes for writing articles or putting together a novel. Writing is not formulaic, but ignoring that maniacal laugh and diving into the world of writing can go a long way to fulfilling your publication dreams.