If you want to be a writer - read!

I'm always surprised (and saddened) when I lead a workshop only to discover that though I have anything from six to thirty writers in the room, only two or three will be subscribers to literary magazines. Yet those writers will want - and maybe even expect - their work to be published in the magazines they don't readl.

I know that not everyone has money for subscriptions, but not reading the publications you want to get published is a very stupid behaviour. It's like taking all your driving lessons in London but opting to take your driving test in Manchester.

If you really can't afford to subscribe to a single literary magazine (and a year's subscription probably costs the same as one takeaway meal or half a pair of jeans) ask for a subscription for your birtheday or Christmas; in the UK your local library subscribes to magazines for its readers - ask them to get Pretext or Mslexia or Zoetrope All Story or Night Train for you; find another writer in your area, take out a subscription to different journals and swap issues. There are plenty of ways you can support the literary world that don't have to cost you a fortune.

If you don't, then when the day comes that you have the right story, you might find that the place you always wanted to be published has gone out of business because you were one of the many writers who wanted to showcase their work without bothering to invest in the magazine they wanted to showcase it in.