Creative Writing Amsterdam  (Updates and Information)

Being an artist
means, not reckoning and counting,
but ripening like the tree

which does not force its sap
and stands confident
in the storms of spring

without the fear that after them
may come no summer 

....Rainer Maria Rilke

Duration: 10 weeks                

Critiquing Guidelines

1.  Submitters should submit their work by the TUESDAY before our meeting, so that we can comment on the work by Sunday. 
2.  Readers should read carefully and not only praise the work, but also offer constructive criticism. Praise may be good for the writer's ego but it doesn't help improve the craft! A basic rule is that a critic must comment on the strength of the work before she goes on to the weakness(es) :-)
3.  Spontaneous writing in the workshop (based on prompts or otherwise) will never be criticized as writers should feel free to write in an inspired frame of mind without worrying about grammar. punctuation or vocabulary.
4.  Please submit work from 1-10 pages in length. 

Authors Resources  

Network!! Join listservs that announce that Magazine X  is looking for new work or Agent B is actively seeking new clients...that sort of thing.  Also, try submitting to magazines that you actually read --your success rate is likely to be higher.

My knowledge is pretty US-centric, but you will find plenty of resources if you google your area of interest. 

I read Poets and Writers  faithfully and they have a great Awards and Grants section that announce Deadlines for submissions as well available residencies (that's how I got mine for my first novel).  Its at

 A friend of mine who has  written a couple of books and landed a great publishing contract has a fabulous site for those writing poetry and fiction.  It's at

For some of you who may be looking for an agent soon for children's books or other kinds of work, this site is great for checking on agents and finding good ones:

There's a lot of information out there on the internet and I usually find things by googling a broad category (Writers and residency and Europe for instance).  

There are a lot of good books on how-to-write out there --check out this website for a long list and many genres:  My personal favourites are Stephen King and Anne Lamott.

Getting Published

1.  Any publication is better than NO publication --unless its in a journal/magazine that's S&M or into pedophilia or has some crazy political stance that will get you labelled as a nut if anyone googles you.  By sending out something and getting it published it sends a signal that you are serious about being read --and that some people in the world have considered your work worthy of being published.

2.  I have now got to a stage where I submit mostly to paying markets  because a) it means that the journal values your work and b) its usually established enough to be dealing with payments and c) the quality of the work published is usually good enough to attract payment (even if it is a token payment, no one throws money away, ever.)

3.  I try to also look for publications that don't look like they are on someone's personal blog or homepage.  Also, publications which have more than one editor are preferable to lone editors because you get a sense of a real community of people who are serious about what they publish (and actually discuss pros and cons before dumping/accepting a piece).

4.  Academic journals are safe, but also vary on quality and reputation with Ploughshares and Agni being better rated than some of the smaller journals.  However, the problem with submitting to academia is that they still sometimes insist on paper submission (which is a pain from overseas) and they have a long response time (usually 3-6 months).  Few actually pay, although the best ones usually do.

5.  I do however break my own rules at times to make sure that I submit to Asian journals at least 1/3 of the time (they almost NEVER pay).  The reason for this is simple;  I do want to counteract my own bias in thinking that a western publication is better than an Asian one, and we do want these fledgling pubs to flourish and grow, and for that, they need good work.  Also, when I submit to Asian pubs, I find I am in great company;  I have been published with Pico Iyer and David Mitchell in an edition of "Dimsum" (now Asian Literary Review) and I can't imagine being in that company unless I get published in Granta or the Paris Review. 

Hope this helps.  Good luck with your writing careers :-)


About Me              

Creative Writing

Academic Publications