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NYS Writers Institute Soft Launch for Young Writers Project

By Olivia Stephani | April 4, 20222

Photo Credit: NYS Writers Institute

On March 30th, UAlbany’s Sarah Giragosian, Jonathan Dubow, Amber Jackson, and Laura Tetreault were led by Jill Hanifan, Professor and Director of the Writing Center, to launch the NYS Writers Institute’s Young Writers Project. Speaking to more than 50 students and staff, the professionals gave their expert advice on the “do’s and don’ts” to getting your creative writing published.

Though all panelists came from different genres in publishing, such as poetry, fiction, and digital media, they all agreed that the most important first step to getting published is to “find your people.” They encourage young authors to find a community of mentors, friends, and reviewers that are honest and enthusiastic about their writing. Finding a community to immerse yourself in will help you refine your writing to get it published.

“With the right guidance, you can publish your work,” said Giragosian.

Dubow echoes this sentiment and reassures aspiring authors that even if your work does not get published at first, the most exciting part of publishing is sharing your ideas with peers and making your work a publication to them by reviewing your work with them. Feedback is important from people as well.

Hanifan agrees the idea of publishing “is to make it public,” she says. She also says that “the key to being a writer is to be a writer.” Telling yourself that you are a writer will challenge you to become one, even if you doubt yourself.

Confidence, passion and perseverance are needed to accomplish your work.

Professor Rick Barney tells students to “be pragmatic” about their writing and to have jobs on the side while they are trying to breakthrough. Because writing can be difficult to get into, Laura Tetreault concurs with Barney, claiming that it is important to branch out in your efforts to write and to have multiple incomes. Do not narrow your fields; build your experience and portfolio before you graduate with internships or organizations. Creating an engaging pitch for your work is important to get it published.

Open mics, both on campus and in Albany, give a great experience to gain public reactions to your work. Reading out loud and receiving a public reaction will give you an indication if your work is ready to be submitted.

Once you feel your work is ready to publish, Jackson suggests submitting your work to Submittable, an account in which many journals and magazines are accepting work currently. Dubow also recommends Chill Subs, which shows names of journals where you can publish your work. Even on campus submissions through the ARCH magazine are noticed by certain companies.

“Know the journal’s rules before you submit,” Jackson warns students.

Some journals do not allow simultaneous submissions. It is important to look into the journal you are attempting to submit to, to see what work they publish and what their guidelines are. If you are persistent in publishing through a certain journal, Hanifan suggests seeing what work they currently publish. Re-submitting your work to a certain journal can show you are persistent and passionate. If you do have your eyes set on a certain journal, their vision for what they want to publish may alter depending on the editor or issue, so keep at it.

Once you have your work published or are in the process of it, Laura Tetreault strongly encourages students to create a social media presence or official website so that publishers and journals have access to your work. Here, you as a student can promote your published work to foster a larger audience.

This Young Writers Project event was the first of many, as Hanifan and Professor Edward Schwarzschild, who is in charge of the Creative Writing Listserv and author of In Security, expressed interest in having more events such as this.


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