Updated March 2023
Does your creative writing capture the spirit of the moment? Literary agents and editors at literary journals are constantly on the lookout for submissions that speak to the state of the world we’re living in now. They want writing that reflects, influences, or critiques our lives as they are today. They want contemporary voices, cutting-edge thinkers, and fresh perspectives on today’s headlines. When you submit a well-written work that cuts to the zeitgeist of this era, you may be more likely to receive an acceptance letter.
Here Are Five Signs Your Creative Writing Is Relevant And Timely
1. You tap into the emotional truths of the human experience. You explore classic themes that resonate across cultures, years, and demographics. You write about topics that make us weep or laugh—and those themes are intensely engaging, relevant, and universal, no matter the context.
2. You care about what’s going on in the world. Whether you’re carrying a picket sign at a peaceful protest or watching events unfold on the news, you’re aware of what’s going on in the world today. Even if you’re not actively writing about current issues, their impact will be felt in your work. Simple awareness of today’s hot topics will keep your writing current.
3. You write—but you don’t preach. You don’t sit down to write because you want to wag your finger and teach the world a lesson. You write because there’s something you passionately want to express. A longing to make yourself understood drives you, not the urge to “correct” other people’s opinions. Learn more about writing with a message.
4. You read what other people are writing. Sure, you’ve read the classics. But you believe that contemporary writing is vital to understanding the world we live in. So you subscribe to lit mags and attend public readings when you can. You browse the “new fiction” or “new nonfiction” shelves in the bookstores. You listen to what other writers are saying and you write because you have something to say in return.
5. You’re aware of trends. Maybe you enjoy the challenge of writing in a “collaborative” way, toying with current themes, styles, and forms, and engaging with others in a national or global conversation. Or maybe you have no intention of writing anything trendy—in fact, you want to challenge trends (or start your own). Either way, the fact that you know what’s relevant in the world of literature means you are plugged in, on topic, and ready to have your say.
Writing That Stands The Test Of Time
Surprisingly, it’s often the most era-specific works of literature that survive the onslaught of time and our natural human inclination to forget the old and turn to the new. Literary works that challenged injustice, captured the voice of a specific generation, or frightened readers into awareness of dystopic possibilities all remain on bookshelves today. So when you write for this moment, keep in mind—you’re also writing for the future.
QUESTION: What else can a writer do to actively engage with the world?
Interesting article. The problem with the last one is there are too many trends to track, even in one genre there’s several to choose from. What’s a writer to do? I guess the answer is simple. Just pick one, LOL. Thanks for sharing this interesting and helpful article.