David Meischen is a native Texan, writer, poet, and co-founder of Dos Gatos Press. He has taught English at the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, Southern Poetry Review, Borderlands, and Cider Press Review. If you’d like to find out more about David, you can visit his website. If you’d like to learn more about Dos Gatos Press, you can do so here.
On August 30, David will be teaching a class for WLT called “Before the Book: Getting Published, Getting Better, and Building a Writing Community.” Visit the class page and read the interview below to learn more.
Scribe: For a writer, getting their work noticed has always been a challenge. What are some new challenges that writers face today with getting their work to stand out?
David Meischen: Several years ago, when I was feeling really discouraged about getting my work noticed, a writer friend commented that journals these days are inundated with so much good writing that editors are snow-blind. I think the biggest challenge is persistence in the face of this fact. The only way to have your writing noticed is to keep sending it out.
Scribe: Writing is, for a lot of us, a solitary craft. Can you talk about the importance of building community and networking?
DM: I agree that the act of writing is solitary. When I’m working on a new story, I need peace and quiet. I need hours by myself. But when a story is done, I turn to other writers–an invaluable fiction group, individual writer friends whom I trust. I go to readings and workshops, and the occasional writing residency. This network of writers, this community, gives us a sense of belonging as writers. It encourages us to keep going. And we learn from others who are doing the hard work, the important work of writing.
Scribe: With the rise of online publications, there’s now a lot more options out there for writers to get their work read, which is wonderful, but can also be overwhelming. Where’s the best place to start?
DM: My advice is to start small. Submit work to a local or regional contest or festival. Submit work to several small and nearby journals. Read journals to find a good match. Ask writer friends about appropriate publication opportunities. Start with four or five places you might send your writing, and go from there.