TW Submissions

Submit all work and queries at

See TW's Editorial Calendar for upcoming themes


We care about writing that's passionate, personal, and a joy to read.

Talking Writing features work that is losing ground in mainstream magazines: essays, poetry, fiction, think pieces, and visual art. We seek strong new voices; we also solicit work from established writers and artists.

We encourage many points of view about literary culture—the more provocative, the better. TW is a nonprofit organization, one whose mission is to support high-quality writing online by publishing it in an engaging digital format. 

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.

—Ursula K. Le Guin, Dancing at the Edge of the World

TW Submission Guidelines

TW editors have eclectic tastes, but we're drawn to good storytelling and feature writing more than to literary experiments. Other TW rules of thumb: Make clear, thought-provoking arguments. Write from a personal perspective, but focus on more than yourself. Avoid an academic tone. Hook us from the first line.

We usually publish work that has not appeared elsewhere. After a piece appears in TW and that issue has been archived, writers are free to republish their work in other places—as long as they credit Talking Writing as the original source.

At the present time, we're unable to pay writers or artists for the work we publish. But our editors work directly with writers to ensure the quality of their pieces.

The $3.00 fee for submissions through Submittable offsets our administrative costs. Queries are free, but we request that you send them through Submittable as well.

We respond to all submissions and queries as quickly as possible, but there may be delays, especially during TW's summer hiatus and around holidays.

Simultaneous submissions are fine, but tell us in your cover message if your work is also being considered elsewhere. If it’s accepted at another journal, let us know that, too, so we can remove it from consideration. 

Some critics have said I'm a natural writer. Well, that's like being a natural open-heart surgeon.

—Maya Angelou, from a 2002 interview

TW Writing Categories

Talking Writing publishes pieces of various lengths and styles. However, shorter pieces are easier to read online, and we're more likely to accept work that's less than 1,200 words. Here are TW's main writing categories with word counts:

Theme Essays

We're always looking for good essays on our quarterly themes. See TW's Upcoming Themes page for our annual Editorial Calendar and deadlines. Theme essays are often short opinion pieces that are meant to generate discussion and debate. If a theme lends itself to "how to" articles, we sometimes accept essays that offer writing advice. Length: 800 to 1,200 words.

"Reader's Life" Features

TW publishes features of varying lengths about books, movies, well-known authors, literary trends, or any topic related to the reading and writing life. Occasionally we publish round-up reviews of several books. We rarely review a single book, but TW editors are very interested in the personal connections that readers (and writers) make to books and authors. Length: 800 to 2,500 words.

"Why I Write" Essays

These short essays address the essential question for writers: Why write? The category is based on George Orwell's 1946 piece of that title—but TW's "Why I Write" essays can go in many directions. Length: 800 to 1,200 words.


Talking Writing publishes poetry in each issue. Featured poets generally publish more than one poem in a given issue. Please submit 3 to 5 poems in one document, but no more than 5 pages in all.


Talking Writing publishes short stories or flash fiction in most issues. If you're submitting flash fiction, include no more than 3 stories, each no longer than 1,000 words, in one document. Length: Short stories up to 8,000 words; flash fiction up to 1,000 words.

Creative Nonfiction

We occasionally publish memoir excerpts, creative nonfiction, and other kinds of personal essays. Some essays are reflections on the writer's life; others may be related to an issue theme. Length: 800 to 2,500 words.


TW editors occasionally assign long Q&A-style interviews of well-known writers, literary bloggers, or publishers. Length: 800 to 3,000 words. Please submit proposals for interviews under the “Queries” category in Submittable.

Visual Arts and Cartoons

Talking Writing features the work of visual artists, photographers, and cartoonists in each issue. We also use spot art from a variety of sources. Send up to 3 images (no more than 1 Mb in total).

Cartoonists: Submissions may be ongoing comic strips, single panels, or excerpts from graphic novels. We enjoy meta takes on storytelling, witty puns, and sheer goofiness. ("Zippy the Pinhead" is an old favorite of one TW editor.) We like cartoons about literary authors and culture—and often look for a connection to one of our quarterly themes. Please do not submit political cartoons.


Submit all work and queries at

See TW's Editorial Calendar for upcoming themes