Female student outside in the fall reading a book.

Where to Start

Creative writing offers rewards far more certain than royalty checks and best seller lists.  When starting a career in creative writing, consider these three questions:

What Can I Do Right Now

Don't wait until graduation to start your career as a creative writer. BYU-Idaho provides many opportunities for you to share and improve your writing.


Present your creative works at the various conferences supported by BYU-Idaho:


Get published now. 

  • Write for the Scroll, BYU-Idaho's student newspaper. 
  • Submit to Outlet, the BYU-Idaho Art and Literary Journal. 
  • Submit to other publications that support student work. Online Journals such as Juxtaprose, started by graduates of the English program, is a great place to start. 

Writing Groups

Get feedback on your writing. Start a writing group where you can read and evaluate each other's writing. Attend the Student Writing Retreat, an off-campus writing workshop lead by English Department faculty. 


Every semester the BYU-Idaho English Department hosts literary readings where creative writers share their recent works and answer your questions. Past readings include Pulitzer Prize winning author Stephen Dunn and Anthony Doerr. See the Event Calendar for upcoming readings. 


Take classes that enrich your writing skills and your content knowledge. Check out the advising page for recommended courses. Check out the advising page for recommended courses. Also, use your elective credits to support your writing goals. Want to write children's literature? Take a children's lit. class, and a child development course might be valuable too. 

How Do I Get Published?

When you consider getting published, you should look at three options. 

  1. A standalone work (e.g., a novel, a collection of poetry, a screenplay).
  2. A short entry in a magazine or journal
  3. A work in an anthology

To start a making a name for yourself, consider options 2 and 3 as a starting point. Find magazines and journals that best fit your literary genre and style. Research their publication guidelines. Join a writers' group and get feedback from other writers. Research how to write an excellent submission letter. Make sure that you submit your very best work. 

As you enter the publishing world, do your research. Read blogs, read trade magazines, and most of all read excellent literature of all genres. 

Join online communities to let you know more about the world of publishing. This list just illustrates a few of online sources out there:

Better yet. Contribute to an online magazine created by graduates from BYU-Idaho's English Department. Juxtaprose began as passionate BYU-Idaho English majors sought opportunities to share great literature. 

How Do I Earn a Living

Creative writers work in a variety of fields. Until you become the next Brandon Sanderson or Anthony Doerr, you might consider a field that values your skills at narrative, concrete language, and creativity. A documentation supervisor at Microsoft once said, "I'd hire a poet any day. They understand imagery, brevity, and punctuation."

Creative writers make excellent copywriters, web content writers, and journalists. You understand that the story, more than information, engages readers. Learn more about professional writing career opportunities.