“Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” –Thomas Edison
“It occurred to me that perhaps writing a book was not as entertaining an activity as signing the contract to write it.” –Pete Dexter, The Paperboy
“One does well only what one does daily.” –Rodin
“I don’t write every day, but I harvest every day. I pick people’s brains every day.” –Chuck Paluhniak
WRITING–ARTICLES & WEBSITES
The Price of Writing/Creative Nonfiction, by Jennifer Niesslein, editor of Full Grown People (honest discussion of payment and markets for writers: “…I personally know only three writers who make a living doing the writing that brings them joy.”)
Modern Love Submission Tips, Craft Your Content
Essay Daily: An Ongoing Conversation about Essays and Magazines of Interest (includes a helpful list of links for journals, books, chapbooks, essays, and resources), linked to an essay by Full Grown People‘s editor, Jennifer Niesslein, about what she looks for in her submission pile
Read memoirs by artists–like Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up–for an idea of how hard they’ve worked their entire lives, how dogged their pursuit of excellence, and how much they’ve given up to attain success at their chosen crafts. Inspiring, humbling, eye-opening.
SUBMISSIONS–ACTIVE CALLS & HELPFUL WEBSITES
Angie’s Desk Submission Calls (mostly sci fi, fantasy, horror, & smutty genres)
Artist Trust Calls for Literary Submissions
BookFox Ranking of Literary Journals (by placement in Best American Short Stories)
BookFox Ranking of Literary Journals (by placement in Best American Essays)
BookFox Historic Ranking of Literary Journals (older version, by level of competitiveness)
Duotrope Digest Database of Markets & Tracking System for Submissions
Erotica Genre Submission Calls
Lambda Literary Foundation LBGTQF Submission Calls
Literary Mama’s blog shares a list of current calls for submissions on the first Wednesday of each month.
Mira’s List, information, resources, and deadlines for grants, fellowships, and residencies
New Pages Writers Resources
Poets & Writers Submission Calls
Pushcart Prize Ranking of Literary Magazines, by Clifford Garstang
Travelers’ Tales Submission Calls
Under the Sun literary journal’s links to other journals
Writers for Diversity (formerly Femministas) Submission Calls
Peruse “Best of” Anthologies like the annual Pushcart Prize anthology and the Best American series (Essays, Short Stories, Travel, Nonrequired Reading, Sports, etc.) for ideas on where to submit your work. I prefer Pushcart, because it’s not so heavily loaded with journals like The New Yorker and includes essays and short stories (and poetry). Seattle Public Library has copies.
Visit the Allen Library at the U.W. campus to peruse literary journals.
Support this industry you want to be part of by subscribing to a journal (or three).
Listservs and Groups
CRWROPPS (Creative Writing Opportunities). To join, send a blank e-mail to
crwropps-b-subscribe at yahoogroups.com. Many postings are for contests requiring an entry fee, but there’s a steady trickle for journals and anthologies with open calls.
Duotrope Digest Weekly Wire. Newsletter containing a list of upcoming themed anthologies. Largely geared to sci fic, fantasy, and horror genres.
Publishers Lunch free daily email subscription for what’s going on in the publishing world. I ignore most of it, but I scan the Deals in the mid-week Publishers Weekly (aptly named). This does a few things: reassures me that lots of books ARE being regularly published, gives me an idea of WHAT’S being published and the agents getting the deals, sometimes gives me a book’s pitch (“Profiles in Courage meets Tuesdays with Morrie,” or “featuring a vampire Indiana Jones,” or “a maximalist, post-apocalyptic, neo-Victorian steampunk zombie novel” [huh?, but she sold it!]), and also gives the definitions for the price breakdown on book deals (i.e. the dollar equivalent for “nice deal” versus “very nice deal”).
Submishmash Weekly, an email newsletter emailed weekly by Submittable.com, lists publishing opportunities.
“You can’t wait for inspiration–you have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London
“I lay awake all night in brilliant sleep.” –James Dickey, Deliverance
“Works of art do not come from the mind, they come from where you dream.” –Robert Olen Bulter
“Sentimentality is unearned emotion.” –Stanley Elkin
“Make sure your story has earned its emotion. –Elizabeth Evans
“Desire is of course more interesting than having. There’s no art in having.” –Rebecca Brown
“I’m a precisionist, not a minimalist.” –Raymond Carver
“What is Imagination / But your lost child born to give birth to you?” –Robert Pinsky, from Ode to Meaning
“The chief attributes of creators are faith and arrogance: faith that there is a solution, and the arrogance to believe they are exactly the right people to find it.” –Stephen King
“The unique aspect of the memoir genre is retrospection: the writer is not only recounting events from her life, but also musing on them and letting the reader into her thoughts about what those events mean.” –Judith Barrington
“I like to say that the 51st state is the state of denial.” –Kurt Vonnegut
“Without craft, art remains private. Without art, craft is merely hackwork.” –Joyce Carol Oates