We all have a lot to say. It’s time to put our words into action, and for us writers, that means publishing your work. It could be anywhere: your personal blog, a local magazine or zine; the options are endless! But it’s much easier said than done, and we know this. We’ve got some tips for all of the young, thoughtful writers trying to get their foot in the door.
Before you submit:
1. Share your work with your family and friends, and ask for serious critique.
The first step is to make sure your work is edited and in the best shape it could be. You might look over your work a few times and never catch an error — but one of your friends might!
2. Don’t be afraid of changing it up.
While you may think that everything you’ve just written sounds a-ok, others might not. Once again, share it with others so you know that what you’ve written makes sense to everyone. Edit — a lot. You may have to cut out your favorite paragraph to make the piece more concise. We all get attached to our hard work, but nothing is ever perfect.
3. Write everyday!
To be a good writer, you have to make it a job. So write all the time! Whether it’s a sentence or 10 pages, make sure you’re exercising your writing muscles. Make it a habit to produce and edit your work.
4. Be creative!
The thing with writing is… everyone does it. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on things or try something new. You have to make it your own; otherwise, anyone could have written it. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Try out a genre or writing style you’ve never done before. The outcome could be wonderful.
5. Don’t get discouraged.
You may succeed with getting your work published the first, second, third, or even fiftieth time (hopefully it won’t take that long, but still, don’t get discouraged). Sometimes we need to get let down; others may not recognize the greatness that you’ve produced, but everyone’s been there. Imagine how few works of art there would be if everyone gave up after their first few attempts at success.
After you submit:
1. Spread the word: Send to friends and family to share as well as to magazines, online blogs, and any website taking submissions.
You never know who’s looking for someone to write for them. Oftentimes there are job postings for specific writing jobs that could be perfect for you! Other than that, there are poetry contests, fiction contests, and anything under the sun that you can write for; you just have to look! If you’ve written something already, share it with your friends and family because you never know who’s got a connection!
2. Don’t give up.
Writing isn’t easy, and it’s often draining, but keep up the hard work. Sometimes you’ll submit your writing over and over with no response, but don’t give up! Keep writing and keep working hard.
3. Be persistent, but not annoying.
If you want your writing published, keep submitting, but maybe not to the same publication over and over. If you’ve submitted to the same publication over 10 times and haven’t been chosen, odds are it’s not for you. Try something different! Also, it’s always nice to send a follow-up email if they say they are reviewing your work. Show your interest. Let them know you’re there, but remember they have a lot going on!
Reach out to people you know or maybe don’t know to help you with your process! Everyone who’s had something published has been in your shoes, and odds are that they’ll know a thing or two to help!
Sarah Hill: Former media junkie turned startup co-founder & CEO of @Bookstr. Focused on books, business, tech, & women in the workplace.