How to Be a Writer

I’m often asked about the practice of being a writer outside / after academia, so I’ve gathered a few resources here that I think are useful in terms of understanding the business of creative writing:

Researching Literary Journals 

  • Dan Chaon “What Writers Can Learn from Rock Stars,” or, why it absolutely counts to know your literary journals well before you start submitting.
  • Journal of the Month Club: an all-around excellent idea. Add it to your wishlist. An affordable way to get a primer in contemporary literary journals while still remaining well-read.
  • The Best American Series, while not a definite list by any means, can provide a great introduction to current writers doing great work in your genre.
  • New Pages, the most comprehensive list I know of contemporary presses and literary journals, indexed and searchable. Also maintains updated called for submissions lists, and reviews of some current issues.
  • The Review Review, founded by writer and editor Becky Tuch to help writers navigate the world of literary journals. Provides excellent, detailed reviews of magazines, plus updated lists of calls for submissions, residencies/retreats, conferences, and more. Make sure to check out the “Tips” page for lots of practical advice on submitting and craft from working writers.

Professional Organizations

Both of these organizations (and there are many others) provide excellent educational resources, from job postings to searchable guides to MFA programs and

Submission Etiquette

Meet / Mingle with Contemporary Writers

I have gotten so much mileage out of simply listening, on a regular basis, to other practicing writers. There are many ways to come into contact with writers, and I strongly encourage you to find a local community of writers. Here are a few places to start:



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