Whether it’s improving our writing habits, reading more books or getting that first draft on paper, January is where we test our resolutions. To keep your motivation soaring without a clear goal or deadline can be a daunting task. Fortunately, one of the tools in our motivational toolbox is writing to submit. A clear direction, word limits and perhaps even the prospect of an accepted submission can do wonders for your practice sessions, creativity and motivation.
Here are five magazines to help keep you writing through 2021—most have themes, regular deadlines and, unless otherwise noted, don’t charge reading fees and are open to simultaneous submissions.
Note: We are a creative writing school and compile these lists for the benefit of our students. Please don’t send us your publishing queries or submissions :). Click on the links to go to the publication’s website and look for their submissions page.
Hindsight wants your stories about life in 2020. Stories must be true, must have happened to you and must be 2000 words or fewer. They’re particularly interested in material that “gets up close and personal with the struggles of 2020”, rather than headlines or commentary on current events. Most stories will be shared on their website; the very best submissions will be compiled into a print anthology, which will be published in 2021. Rolling submissions. This is a new publication but they assure us their typical response time will be around one month.
Amsterdam Quarterly is looking for poetry and fiction, essays and other prose of up to 3000 words. Upcoming themed issues include Pandemic (31 January 2021), The Classics (deadline: 30 Apr 2021), The Future (deadline: 31 Jul 2021). They do not accept simultaneous submissions but typically accept within a month and reject a bit slower.
Halfway Down the Stairs publishes poetry, flash fiction, stories (up to 5000 words) and essays and memoirs (up to 3000 words). Upcoming themed issues include For Sale (deadline: 1 Feb 2021), Love & War (deadline: 1 May 2021) and Skeletons (deadline: 1 Aug 2021). They typically respond with a yes or a no in under a month.
Still Points Art Quarterly accepts poems, flash fiction and short stories and essays (up to 5000 words). We love their choice of upcoming themes: My Deep Love of Place (deadline: 1 Feb 2021), The Art of Isolation: Finding a Silver Lining in the Pandemic Response (deadline: 1 May 2021), Living on the Water (deadline: 1 Jul 2021) and Ruins (deadline: 1 Nov 2021). They tend to accept relatively fast—within 1 or 2 months—and reject slow.
Pank Magazine was founded by M. Bartley Seigel and Roxane Gay to foster access to emerging and innovative poetry and prose. They accept “tip jar” submissions year-round and have limited reading periods with no submissions fees—keep your eyes peeled. Currently, they’re accepting submissions for a themed folio on Environmental Futures, guest-edited by Aram Mrjoian (deadline: 1 March 2021). They do charge a $5 reading fee to submit for this issue but proceeds go to the Armenia Tree Project. Be prepared to wait for a response—4 months is pretty typical for an acceptance from Pank and rejections may take even longer.