I Wrote it, Now What Do I Do With It?

If you’re anything like me, writing is a minefield. You love it, and when the idea takes hold and doesn’t let you go, it’s a rush. Maybe you like to write poetry or stories, or maybe you’re attempting Nanowrimo for the first time. Writing something—anything—is a wonderful, powerful thing. But then comes the second part, and that’s the part that always makes me feel a little strange, and a little guilty.

Because, the story’s done, the poem’s complete, or the novel is written (sort of), and what now? There it is just sitting there, complete and just what you wanted, the product of hours or days of hard work. Where does it go? Where can it go? I’m certainly guilty of letting my writing fester and molder in my Google Drive for years. Or maybe I share it with one person for a second opinion and then…nothing. What can unpublished college writers do with their writing?

It may surprise you, but there are actually quite a lot of things you can do with your writing on campus. And they are generally free (you heard me right, NO SUBMISSION FEES!). There are places to go if you want feedback, places to perform, places to win fabulous prizes. You have options, and you can support other writers through those options too.

Let’s begin with one of the easiest and most immediate options. Clark Writes Blog: The Official Creative Writing Blog of the English Department. If you haven’t yet checked out their site, you should. Clark Writes posts almost every Tuesday and Thursday and loves to showcase writing of all kinds from Clarkies. Clark Writes accepts submissions all year round; just email your work to clarkwritesblog@gmail.com with a brief bio of yourself and watch the magic happen. Clark Writes also hosts three Creative Writing Forums each semester, generally held in The Little Center, where writers can come together, enjoy some delicious food, read their work and get feedback. It’s a wonderful way to better your work and to find a community of writers to support you.

Clark Writes also hosts two contests a year, one for short stories and one for poetry. This semester the poetry contest theme is Transition and has prizes up to $15. The deadline for this competition is November 14. If you would like to submit an entry, email clarkwritesblog@gmail.com with the subject “Contest Submission.” To keep updated on their contests and forums, check them out on Facebook!

Another option is The Scarlet. While The Scarlet is a great place for future journalists to get involved, they also try to publish creative pieces in their Living Arts Section every issue and are always ready to receive submissions They also include short personal essays in their opinion section with similar deadlines. To submit your piece to the Scarlet, email your piece to scarlet@clarku.edu or send it directly to their Living Arts editor, Nandita Modhubonti. The deadline for submission is Monday nights at midnight; pieces submitted at this time will be published in the following Friday’s paper. The Scarlet edits for grammar but will always run the revised version by the author before printing. This route has the added benefit of seeing your poem in an actual printed and dispersed form.

Another way to see your writing in physical form is to submit it to Stir Magazine. Stir is a student-run publication, which aims to publish a printed magazine each year with cultural and artistic works from Clark students. To get your pieces published in Stir, you need only email stirmagazine@gmail.com with your submission and a brief bio about yourself. Stir accepts submissions nearly year-round and will publish your work regardless of whether it has been posted at any of the other options on this list.



If you are more interested in performance poetry, you may want to try Floetic Fridays, described by Floetic Friday member Pauline Wan: “Floetic Fridays is a platform where individuals can freely express themselves in a justice-centered environment. This bi-monthly arts showcase uses cultural organizing as a tool for healing, resistance, and empowerment of unheard and ignored communities. Floetic Fridays believes that it is through human connection, creativity, and vulnerability that we can cultivate safe and brave spaces for marginalized folks in the greater Worcester area. It is not wed to Clark University or its institutional interests. Often theme-focused and hosted in Dana Commons, the shows feature several forms of performative and visual art including poetry, monologues, etc. If one’s piece isn’t selected for performance, the artist has the option of being included in the writer’s gallery. In addition, Floetic’s Instagram (@floeticfridays) is always open to posting art outside of the showcases.”

And finally, if you want to get a little more competitive, the English Department itself hosts annual creative writing contests, including the Prentiss Cheney Hoyt Poetry Contest, The Betty ’79 and Stanley Sultan Short Story Contest, and The Loring Holmes and Ruth Dodd Drama Contest. These contests provide cash prizes for first, second and third place winners, and the winning writers are published in this blog, Clark Writes, and have a poster at Academic Spree Day. Follow the English Department Facebook Page to learn more about when and how these contests run, or check out past winners here.

Don’t let your work sit around; it’s worth putting in the effort to get it recognized! These options are free and easy and they would love to hear from you. We at the English Department are always amazed by the creative work of Clark students and admire the hard work of the groups who work to publish it. Please let us know if there are any that we don’t yet know about. Happy writing!