I enjoy writing, now what?

Tips for aspiring writers who want their work published

Aspiring writers are often faced with uncertainty of where to begin.

Writing is something that I have come to not only enjoy but obtain a rather large passion for. I thought once I got to college things would just fall into place, my writing would be published and I would be overwhelmed with opportunities. 

Unfortunately, it takes a lot more work than that. Luckily, I have navigated myself through the writing world these past two years and am going to share some tips on getting your work out there. 

People will steal your work if you’re not careful

It is a rather unfortunate thing that I wish I could say doesn’t happen, but people do and will steal your work… if you’re not careful. By talking to professors on campus and doing my own research, I have found that the best way to prevent this from happening is to read between the lines. 

When publishing opportunities come up for things like literary journals, it is crucial to read the terms of submission and publishing rights. I know reading long wordy paragraphs doesn’t seem appealing and, like directions, they are often skipped over but this needs to be done. Once you send them your work, you are giving them the rights to that work. This means that (in some cases) they now own your piece(s) of writing. It is no longer yours or your work and they can do what they please with it. Now this is a writer’s nightmare, so please, read between the lines or contact them and specifically ask about ownership rights. 

Another suggestion I have is to get your work copyrighted. There are many different online platforms that guide you through this process. This ensures people cannot steal your work. 

You are going to get rejected, and that’s okay

Just like the saying, some people aren’t for everyone, some writing isn’t for everyone. Submitting your work is a big step. I know it took me a long time to be able to do this because of the fear of rejection. Like they say, you don’t know if you don’t try. 

Just because your work is rejected it doesn’t mean it’s bad, and it’s not personal either. It happens to the best of us. Maybe the piece you submitted just isn’t what they are looking for. Keep trying, if you see the potential someone else will too. 

Finding a place to publish

The best advice I have for you is to start small. I first published my poetry on a website called, Hello Poetry. This is a site that allows people to publish their work completely free. The catch is that you have to send a poem in and the people who run the site will look it over. If they think you would be a good fit and they see potential, they grant you access to publish on the site under your own page and name. Your work is available for any of the other members to look at and react to. It’s a very comfortable space because everyone on there is aspiring to be writers. 

I also suggest looking for different literary journals to publish in. Journals like these are constantly looking for submissions. I know right now the Oakland Arts Review is taking submissions up until December 1.

The New River Press is a small press located in Moorhead. They hold contests every year looking for aspiring authors/poets to submit their work. More information can be found on their website.

Opportunities are all around you

NDSU offers a lot of great opportunities for publishing as well. There are contests like the W-challenge and the literary journal Northern Eclecta, both of which offer publishing opportunities for students. These are really great ways to get involved and to physically be able to see your work in a book. Getting to see your work physically published is a really incredible experience.  

Zandbroz Variety, located downtown, puts on poetry readings which are again, a great way to introduce your work to the public. You never know who could be there!

Trust in yourself

More than anything else the best advice that I can give to you is to believe in your own work. If it’s something that you’re passionate about and love doing you should continue to do it. You are your harshest critic and although the literary world can seem frightening, there’s no scarier thought than never trying.

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