Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in submitting to us.


Stolen Time: An Anthology of Poems Written at Desk Jobs

For this special issue of Whatever Keeps The Lights On (with guest editor Micaela Walley) we are looking for poems (just poems!) specifically written at desk jobs. Spending the day in a cube farm is both mentally and creatively draining. How do you keep yourself poetically stimulated? Show us poems that started off as an email draft, poems that you wrote during your lunch break, or poems that started off as lines doodled in the margins of your planner. (If you want to include screenshots, or pictures of your doodles, even better! We encourage this!)

Note that these poems do not have to be about work—though they certainly can be. Don’t be afraid to show us poems that go outside of the box. We want to see how far your mind wanders when you’re stuck in the same place for eight hours a day.

Along with your submission and bio and any pictures of doodles you’d like to send along, also include a sentence worth of advice you have to those who struggle to feel creatively stimulated in the office. How do you do it? Tell us!

Please include “ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION - (Your name)” in the subject of the email so we know this is for the anthology and not our fourth issue. Otherwise,  please follow our normal guidelines below. The deadline for poems is March 1st.

If you don’t have anything to submit, worry not! Whatever Keeps the Lights On will continue to keep regular submissions open for publication and this call does not affect our current submission pile! Feel free to submit for our fourth issue for December publication, and once that date has passed, for our fifth issue.

NOTE: This anthology will be in lieu of our fifth issue this March, which will instead be released in June.

now back to our regularly scheduled programming: 

We are looking for creative work that discusses the many different or strange things people do to make money keep the lights on, whether it be mundane and slow or unusual and hectic. 

Please read carefully before sending your work. We appreciate that. 

Fiction and Nonfiction/Essay

Please submit work up to 3,000 words in length. Flash submissions accepted. Please submit only one piece at a time, though if you are sending flash you may send up to three. Double spaced, Times New Roman or a similar font preferred. 


In a single document, please send up to five poems, no more than ten pages. Single spaced, Times New Roman or a similar font preferred. 


Feel free to send any sort of creative work you have, whether it be a photo essay, a short documentary, comics, etc. If it doesn't fall under one of the categories above, you can probably share it here. 

In the body of your email, please include: 

  1.  A short (100 words or less, please) cover letter; simply introduce yourself and let us know what you're submitting  
  2. A third person bio, also short (50 words; include your full name or whatever you would like to be addressed as) 
  3. Your submission as a .docx or .pdf file attachment
  4. Your Twitter, Instagram, website, etc. (anything that applies)

Additional Information

We have rolling submissions! 

A new issue is published quarterly, during the last weeks of March, June, September, and December.  To assure that your submission is considered for the next issue, be sure to have your submission in by the beginning of that month. For more accurate and specific dates, follow us  on Twitter.

Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere. 

If we choose to publish your work, we ask to reserve first time publication rights, and upon publication the rights then revert back to you. If you republish something you've published with us, we'd love it if you mentioned that the piece first appeared here.  Additionally, if we accept work from you, please consider waiting at least six months before submitting again. 

We do not accept previously published work. 

Make sure to clarify what you are submitting in the subject line (e.g. Fiction Submission - "Title of Work")  and email us at You can also email us with any questions, comments, and concerns, or cool and important things, like compliments.

We look forward to reading your work!

Unfortunately, we are not currently a paying market, but hope to be in the future.