Welcome to Just Ask Stacy, a sort of weekly advice column where you can ask about whatever you need help with (life, career, relationships, why Emily is in Paris, whatever), and I’ll answer because I’m ignoring the pile of work on my desk. I’d much rather be helping you sort out your life.
Here’s why I started doing this:
Just Ask Stacy
Practical advice for your career, your life, and possibly what to cook for dinner.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing some resources with writers in varying stages of their careers and I want to share them with you. I’m not affiliated with any of these entities, nor will I receive any kind of compensation if you decide to click on them and look through the sites. I’m sharing these resources because they’ve been very useful to me and I hope you’ll find them useful as well.
This is a great resource for finding out how and where to get your work published in literary journals, online publications, magazines and other markets, both paying and non-paying. You can sign up to receive weekly newsletters and other info related to what you want to write and where you want to publish.
Newsletters are brief, as in straight-to-the-point-no-frills. They simply provide you with info and links to a variety of publications looking for different kinds of work. Examples include: “25 Themed Calls for Submission for October 2020”, “7 Exciting New Literary Journals” (all looking for submissions), and “5 Paying Markets to Submit to in November 2020.”
From time to time, they will also send e-books you can download for free (for a limited time) related to writing and publishing in genres like flash fiction, poetry, memoirs, personal essays, and book manuscripts (just to name a few). For example, the “Submit, Publish, Repeat” e-book walks you through the process of getting your work published in literary journals.
Through Authors Publish, I’ve found outlets I probably wouldn’t have otherwise come across, and have had my work published both online and in print.
2. Funds for Writers
If you’re interested in writing for paying markets, or you want info on grants and fellowships for writers, or you want to participate in writing contests and competitions, Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers newsletter is an excellent resource.
Sign up for the weekly newsletter which provides all of this info and significantly more. For example, a recent November newsletter focused on being paid appropriately as a freelance writer, and provided links to resources to help writers compare their rates to ensure they were charging correctly for their services.
Ms. Clark also provides a few encouraging words to help you keep moving forward in your craft (she’s a writer so she knows the pain!). Plus, she just comes across as a generally nice person — and I’m all for shining a little light on the nice people on the planet.
If you’re really interested in writing contests but you don’t have the time or mental energy to be bothered with trying to find them, this is good source.
For $3.00 per month, the Literistic team will send you a monthly list of every writing contest they can find. In other words, rather than spending your time searching for contests, all you have to do is read their list and decide what you want to participate in.
And if you want to try them out before you invest, you can sign up for a free sampler of what their monthly email will look like.
If you want to practice your short story writing skills and possibly win a little cash in the process, sign up for the short story writing prompts from Reedsy. The prompts are usually based on a particular theme, and you’re given a few different story ideas to choose from, along with a word limit and a final date to submit. All entries are read and judged, and the winner gets a cash prize along with publication on the site.
But this site is about way more than writing contests. Grab your favorite beverage and spend some time browsing. You’ll find info on things like how to publish a poetry chapbook, where to find online writing courses, how to develop story structure and settings, and a whole lot more.
Under the Tools section, you’ll find plot generators, writing exercises, story ideas, writing scholarships, and my personal favorite and epic time-stealer, the pen name generator. If you ever read something brilliantly fantastic by Sacha Guerrero, well…that may or may not be me.
5. Gotham Writers Workshop
If you’ve been thinking about taking a writing class, check out this site. They’re based in New York, but they also have online classes. And as a result of the pandemic, they now have Zoom events, some of which you can join for free.
Classes are taught by professional writers, cover several genres (fiction, poetry, screenwriting, etc.), and can accommodate writers at just about all levels.
The site is also full of insights from professional writers about the good, bad and sometimes ugly aspects of writing. I recently read an interesting article about the reality and the shame of writer’s envy, in which a novelist spoke candidly about envying the success of another writer. The article was very raw and very real; and it was interesting to see how the writer used that feeling of envy to create a new piece of work.
If you want to be a better writer, become a better reader.
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer is to read — a lot.
The more you read, the more you know; and the more that knowledge will inform, and hopefully improve, your writing.
Here are a few great options for reading material.
6. Creative Nonfiction and 7. Longreads
If you like to get lost in a good story that’s not only well written but also true, check out these two sites. You’ll find some of the best longform writing here, covering all kinds of topics.
You can also submit your work to both publications. Just be sure to read several examples of the work that appears, as well as their guidelines for submission as both publications are quite specific about what they’re looking for, and when and how to submit.
And bonus tip for writers aged 60+: Creative Nonfiction is currently looking for personal essays from you! Submission deadline is February 22, 2021, so you’ve got plenty of time to write something fantastic and submit. You can find the details here. This is a wonderful place to have your work appear.
And double bonus: Creative Nonfiction also offers writing courses focusing on…you guessed it — creative nonfiction! That would be things like memoirs, personal essays, historical narratives, writing for science, etc.
8. Poetry Magazine
For you poets and lovers of poets and poetry, this is a great source if you want to know what’s going on in the world of poetry, and have immediate access to the work of some of today’s best known poets, from Mary Oliver to Danez Smith.
When you sign up for the Poetry Magazine newsletter, not only will beautiful poetry show up regularly in your inbox, but you’ll also have access to poetry podcasts, poetry reviews and critiques, and links to poets reading their own poems. This is an excellent source to help you improve your own work. And if you’re not a poet, it’s a really good source to read or listen to something beautiful. And who doesn’t need that?
This is an excellent source of info for what’s going on in the world of literature, including fiction, nonfiction, crime stories, poetry, books, films, writers, the art and craft of writing, and so on and so on.
You can sign up for the daily or weekly newsletter to stay on top of what’s going on in all of these genres. A typical daily newsletter might include links to excerpts from upcoming novels, new poems, interviews with authors, podcasts by and about writers and writing, book reviews and recommendations, artwork from book covers, critical insights and commentaries, and way much more.
And that’s it! Nine great resources to help you in your writing career — or at least help you spend your time more wisely while you procrastinate. Not that any of us would ever procrastinate…
I hope these resources will open up whole new worlds of insight, information, and writing or reading opportunities for you.
And now, I’m going to keep ignoring what’s on my desk (this is not procrastination; this is research) and see what this Emily chick is up to, because Paris!