I came across this article, and found it so succinct and apposite in dealing with a popular question that I feel compelled to promote it,and share it. It is in that spirit that I reproduce the following piece, written by Prof Jonathan Taylor of De Montfort University, contained in an interview he gave for Writing East Midlands as their “Writer of the Month”.
Here, he replies to the question,”What advice would you give someone who wanted to get their work published?” The interview in full may be accessed by following the link:
“Well, it’s difficult to answer that question in just a few words, but there are some fairly basic things to say. Firstly, I’d say that writing is a strange art in that it is an unstable compound of individualistic and communitarian activities: clearly, you spend a lot of time on your own writing; but you also have to be willing to be part of a community of writers. Often, this is a local community, and means attending workshops, readings and open-mic events. For poets particularly, establishing yourself within a community of writers is absolutely essential: you need to attend live events and readings, and read your own work aloud to an audience. There are other forms of community as well, one of which is small press publication. Reading small press magazines, and eventually getting poems or stories published in them is, again, fundamental to a writing life. Starting on this scale – writing flash fiction or short poems for small press magazines, and for performance at open-mic events – is a way of developing your craft. And every single performance and publication matters to a writer, however supposedly ‘small scale.’
Clearly, to be part of a community in these senses of publication and performance does mean reading or listening to other people’s work. You can’t expect anyone to be interested in your own work if you don’t engage with theirs. In this sense, writers at all different stages of their careers can and do help one another – or, at least, I hope they do. If writers can’t help one another, no one else is going to.”