How to Share or Publish Writing

Do you want to share or publish writing you have done -- stories, poems, essays? Here are some ideas.

1) Create a mailing list. At a writer's conference, a poet asked me if I wanted to join his email list. Every time he writes a new poem, he emails it out to everyone on his list. He even includes a link to an audio file where we can hear him reading his poem out loud.

2) Create a writer's blog. Many of our writing courses include a class blog where you can publish your writing. You can also use sites like to create your own writer's blog. You can post your new stories and poems on the blog and share links to them on Facebook and Twitter.

3) Form a writer's group. You can find other writers offline or online who want to exchange feedback on each other's writing. Look for people who have similar literary tastes to your own. A writer's group or partnership can be useful if you want input on your writing when it's still rough or unfinished. You can find advice on writing partnerships here.

4) Self-publish. You don't need to write a whole novel to self-publish your work. You can also turn a short story or an essay into a standalone ebook and publish it on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing, or offer it as a download on your writing blog. You can find advice on self-publishing here.

5) Publish in magazines. It's important to read a magazine or literary journal before submitting to it, to make sure your writing is a good fit. Look for magazines that publish writing similar to your own. Then look on the magazine's website for a page called "Author Guidelines" or "Submissions" or something similar to find out the submission procedures you should follow. You can find advice on magazine publishing here.

When you share your writing, you may receive feedback from readers. Some of the feedback might be useful, and other feedback might not. It's important not to take any feedback too personally. Whatever a particular reader thinks of your story or poem is just that person's opinion.

Writing isn't like a math problem where there's a right and wrong answer -- in the end, it comes down to tastes and preferences. Different readers will have different responses to the same manuscript. That is true even of professional readers and is why many successful novels are rejected by publishers before they are accepted.

In the end, the final decisions about your manuscript lie with you, the author. So, listen to whatever feedback you receive, and then decide whether you agree with it or not.

And remember that you don't have to share your writing with others until/if you feel ready to do so. Knowing this gives you the privacy to turn off your internal censor, to write freely without anyone looking over your shoulder.

Sharing is wonderful, but the solitude of writing can be a great pleasure as well, a private rendez-vous with your imagination where anything goes.

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