Say you love writing, and have a growing collection of fab pieces — how do you start sharing this work and getting it out into the world? University can be a great piece to inspire creativity, and teach you some important tips in harnessing your writing practice, but it doesn’t really prepare you to put your work out there or give you any advice in submitting to publications outside of an academic sphere.
In 2019 I was lucky enough to have won a prize in a writing competition, and from there I found a fantastic writing community outside of the university that I didn’t know existed. And I found it in the last place I expected, Twitter! It was a weird transition to go from quite a contained, private space of writing and sharing work within an academic sphere, to entering a much wider and more public community, but it really did open up so many doors such as finding a publisher for my debut poetry collection. Lots of people don’t know about the amazing opportunities that exist outside of university, so I thought I’d share a few top tips on how to get your work out there. It is really easy but equally as easy to miss the opportunities if you aren’t aware they exist!
Before you even start the journey of finding publishers, it is so important to sit down with yourself and write out some clear intentions, goals, and aims you want to do with your writing journey. For example, are you looking to get paid for your writing or are you wanting to find some places to publish your work and get your name out there? Are you looking to publish lots of individual pieces, or a full collection? Does your work have a specific theme or type of writing style? If you know these things, or are at least beginning to think about them, it will make your research a lot easier, as you have an intention.
There are countless journals, magazines, and publishers out there, and the way I found my favourites and the ones that would most align with my writing, was through researching on Twitter. I followed some mags, which led to me finding more mags, and more mags, and so on! I also followed individuals on twitter who were published by the magazines I liked, to see what other publications they enjoyed submitting their work too. After I found a wide group of journals, magazines and publishers, I was then excited to read their guidelines and submit my work. There are so many different journals out there, for experimental writers, for romantic writers, for traditional writers, even for writers who want to write about Shrek. I found Twitter was the best place to start getting to know my options, who my work might be best for, and what kind of writer I was.
3) Take the leap
If you never try and submit your work, you’ll never know what kind of response you might get or what it could mean for your future. The first few times you submit your work, you may certainly get rejections just because there might be tweaks you need to do when adapting from an academic sphere or finding out what kind of writer you are outside of this space. A big tip on receiving rejections would be to ask for feedback on submissions where possible, and taking every rejection in your stride so you learn more about yourself as a writer and can then work on what is best for you and your writing going forwards.
Some of my favourite magazines, publishers and journals that I’d recommend anyone check out are: Streetcake, Babel Tower Notice Board, Perhappend, Full House, Second Chance, Beir Bua, Journal of Erato, Orange Blush, Versification and Broken Sleep.
While at university, and still in a learning or studying mindset, it can be very easy to think of yourself as a student, and therefore not really identify as a writer. But being a writer doesn’t mean you have to have tons of experience or be a graduate. If you write, you are a writer, and you don’t have to wait until you graduate to go out and find opportunities to share your work and engage in your passion!