The first year after graduating from college with an English degree is a pivotal time for a writer: Should I keep working on stories and essays I wrote in college? Should I write new material? Is it worth my time submitting to literary magazines, or should I just write for fun? Will I be so burned out from college writing courses that I’ll just stop writing?
The truth is, I did feel burned out after college. I’ve written about how I felt like I wasn’t a writer in college because I couldn’t write every day; turns out, that problem follows you into a full-time job, especially one that draws on your creative energies like editing does. Making time to write (or even revise older pieces) is a deliberate choice you have to make.
BookFest St. Louis is a wonderful daylong event that lets the St. Louis community hear a variety of authors speak for free. I attended the festival in September with my friend Hannah and her sister and had a great time. Here are the sessions I attended and what I took away from them as a reader, writer, and editor.
“You fail only if you stop writing.” —Ray Bradbury
I’ve always known I was a good writer. Teachers complimented me on my writing and encouraged my creativity. A high school teacher once commented “Ever considered becoming a writer?” on one of my last essays senior year. My mom proofread my essays and papers throughout grade school and high school, pointing out every mistake; at the time, each red pen mark pricked me, but now I realize that I must have been a good writer even then, because the details she picked out were small.
With this praise came pressure: pressure to…write.
I knew that the one piece of writing advice that nearly all authors agree on is very simple: You must write every day.
You must write every day. It’s as simple as that: 15 minutes when you wake up, or a page, or whatever you can spew out in a preordained number of minutes. But you see, that’s a must. I must write every day to be a writer.
What if I don’t write every day? Does that make me not a writer?
Read the rest of my essay at Fiction Southeast.
In February, I made a concerted effort to read more lit mags. I didn’t quite reach my goal of reading a different one every day, but I did find 12 stories that resonated with me for one reason or another. Enjoy this flash fiction roundup from around the internet! Continue reading
At the beginning of February, I challenged myself to read selections from one lit mag every day for the entire month. As with most goals, I didn’t end up reading lit mags *every* day, but I did read a sampling. Here’s what I learned from this reading challenge: Continue reading
I have a confession to make: Since November, I’ve been regularly submitting the few pieces of my writing that are polished enough to send into the world to lit mags. But rarely, so rarely, have I actually…read…lit mags.
It’s terrible. Around 75 percent of lit mag submission guidelines suggest that writers read the magazine to get an idea of what the editors like. This makes sense. But I haven’t done it.
I have no excuses, really. I like reading, I intend to support lit mags, and I want to find the best places for my writing.
So I’ve decided that in February, it’s time to actually read lit mags. Continue reading