If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have noticed this is the first post I’ve made in 2 years. It turns out when you are trying to work a full-time job, it’s hard to keep up with the online literary world. I started out this blog in my senior year of UCLA back in 2013 as an assignment for a Professor Mona Simpson’s Senior Seminar called “Literary Life.” This was supposed to be a project that I could carry into my adult life to keep me connected to my passion for literature, especially online literature.
The goal of LitBloom was to help emerging writers like me find out more about online literary journals so they could submit to them. Of course, there are a number of other similar websites that to provide a more comprehensive overview of the online literary landscape, which I have listed in my Useful Links page.
I also created this as a personal project to prod myself into exploring and reading more literary journals. In the past few years, I have often perused journals online, mostly by reading links that I find while scrolling through twitter quite often. But I haven’t had much time to systematically read through journals in order to review them and post about them. Since the pandemic started, I have had more time to participate in the online writing community, and many new journals have sprung to life during the past six months. It’s exciting to see journals and magazines publishing a flurry of new work, often highlighting BIPOC and LGBTQ authors. The online literary world seems like one of the few bright spots during this turbulent time, although this has also been a period of reckoning for many literary venues, as many journals and websites have been justly critiqued for of the lack of representation of people of color and for publishing works that promote white supremacy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an article about one of the main culprits.
As I take this blog into a new stage of its existence, I am trying to determine what direction I want to steer it in. I’ll be honest– I don’t have time to fully read literary journals cover to cover in order to review them. I think the format of most online journals, which are organized by links, rather than by page numbers, lends them to piecemeal reading. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. On some days, I will read a poem, and it might draw me into reading other links on the journal’s website, until before I know it, I’ve read most of that magazine’s latest issue. On other days, there will be an essay or a short story that catches my eye from a link on twitter, and I will keep it in a tab and save it for days until I have time to read it. Then once I read it, I’m satisfied, and I don’t explore anything else on the site. It’s nice to have the choice to read an excerpt without worrying about wasting reams of printed paper if you don’t read anything else in that particular issue.
My vision going forward for this website is that it will continue to be a place to publish recommendations of journals I come across and literature that I read. But it will also be a place where I will comment on trends in the online literary world and reach out to like-minded writers who feel like they want to be participants in this online literary party, but they don’t have much published yet or they just feel daunted by the prospect of submitting to places they don’t understand. I want to post about how frustrating it can be to have this goal of having a writing career, but to not see writing or literature valued by anyone except those who are already in the literary bubble.
I’ve been submitting to literary journals for almost a decade now, and I’ve been lucky enough to have several pieces accepted and to have been published twice in anthologies. I also have had a lot of headwinds helping me, my white privilege (although I’m only half-white, I look white), my middle class upbringing, and my lack of student debt that allowed me to to pursue a creative writing graduate degree without financial concerns. But even with all of these advantages, I still feel like it’s an uphill battle to pursue writing as a career. I’ve only been paid once for my creative writing. Once.
So to all of the emerging writers who feel like you’re barely able to keep up with the literary world while you try to make a living for yourself, I will try my best to give you some suggestions and encouragement to keep you going as you try to submit your art to what feels like the void. If you stick around and read this blog, I hope it will bring you one step closer from being an “emerging” writer to the dazzling author you wish to become once you emerge.