The best stories often come from real-life experiences. If you enjoy writing personal essays, consider submitting your work to one of the publications on this list. (Fiction writers and poets, there are some gems for you here too.) All the journals on our list are currently open for submissions and none charge fees.
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.
Adelaide Literary Magazine accepts personal essays and narrative nonfiction (up to 5,000 words) written in English and Portuguese. You can also submit short stories (up to 5,000 words) and poetry (up to 5 pieces per submission). They publish online once per month and generally respond within two months.
bioStories focuses exclusively on personal essays (500-7500 words). They publish essays on nearly any topic and are especially interested in work that celebrates the extraordinary within the ordinary. Pieces are published as they are accepted, and the editors generally respond to submissions within two months.
HuffPost Personal wants personal stories from writers of diverse experiences and welcomes essays on nearly any topic so long as they’re told with an authentic voice and point of view. There are no specific word limits, but writers are asked to pitch the editors before submitting their piece for consideration.
Quarter After Eight is an online literary journal published once per year. The editors are seeking work that ‘directly challenges the conventions of language, style, voice, or idea’. In addition to essays and creative nonfiction (no specific word limits), they also accept flash fiction, short stories (up to 7,500 words), and poetry (up to 4 pieces per submission). Submissions are open through 15 April 2021, and the average response time is 2-3 months.
The Rappahannock Review is an online literary magazine that publishes twice per year. In addition to essays and creative nonfiction (up to 8,000 words), they’re also looking for flash fiction, short stories (up to 7,500 words), and poetry (up to 5 poems per submission). They generally respond within one month.