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Lumpen’s How-to Guide For Writers.  


First things first, here are 9 points you need to know: 


  1. We only accept writing from those who identify as working-class or if not identifying as working class, have experienced long term involuntary poverty and economic hardship.

  2. We may accept writing of all lengths, but generally, we look for anything between 2,000 and 4,000 words.

  3. We accept all styles of writing – fiction, non-fiction, poetry – there’s a little list of writing styles in the section on structure. 

  4. For each issue, we will suggest several themes and questions. If you want to write about something that's fine, but drop us a line telling us what you want to write about as we might be planning a later issue that fits with it better thus giving you longer to write.

  5. If you've never written before or are lacking in confidence in your writing, get in touch. We can either give support with your piece of writing, and devise different strategies with you to get your ideas out of your head onto the paper. For example, one article for a future issue will be a transcribed interview with a working-class organiser.

  6. Don't worry if you're not confident about spelling, grammar, sounding educated enough. The first two the editors can help out with, and the last one can go fuck itself. What we're interested in is hearing your ideas based on your lived experiences.

  7. Concerned about style? Don't be, we're happy to publish openly angry rants written in stattco rhythm or fictional narratives about killer avocados on toast,  written with references, and everything else in between. Whatever voice you feel comfortable using.

  8. Please title your work, if you can’t think of one we can help you find one.

  9. Name yourself as you’d like to see it printed, or state if you would like to remain anonymous.

If you want more information and guidance, or for any general query please email us at lumpeneditors@gmail.com


Now that’s said and done  – here’s some more info: 

Perhaps, some of you reading this have never written a word in your life, or at least have never written something for others to read.


Perhaps you have written before, perhaps you’ve been writing for ten years, an established and confident writer, who – like many of us, are underpaid and pissed off. Perhaps you’re an obsessive list-maker, scrawling pro’s and con’s on to the backs of cereal boxes ­– perhaps you’ve never thought about this as ‘writing’.  Perhaps you thought: to be a writer, you must have at least one published novel or an article in the Guardian. To be an author of writing you must be a person with two degrees, a portfolio of prestigious internships and able to take a last-minute flight to China for that all-important research. Perhaps to be a writer you must have three phones and work twenty hours straight, with only the promise of a career laden in status as your reward – family money helps with rent in the meantime of course.


There is a lot of self-doubt around writing, and there are many people out there who aren’t confident, or self-assured enough to be writers, but definitely should be (on the flip side there are many people who should stop writing right now). Lumpen is about collaborating with other poor and working class people to find words, what those words are is up to us. We want to clear up any anxieties or assumptions about what contributing to this journal should or could look like. We aren’t only looking for professional writers, if you have something to contribute but aren’t sure how we are happy to help you work through it, we can redraft together, we can offer suggestions, we can help you with pulling out the ideas that are most important to you. We can scrap it, and start again. We are happy to encourage you to try, to fail, and fail again, because writing doesn’t just magically happen, and that can feel terrifying.

Tips for worriers:


  • Don’t know where to start? Start in the middle. Just try to get your ideas down on paper. It’s all practice.

  • Redrafting is everything. If you don’t like your first draft, that means you are ready to improve on your writing.


Different styles of writing:


  • Expository writing sets forth facts. You can find it in textbooks, journalism (except opinion or editorial articles), business writing, technical writing, essays, and instructions.

  • Descriptive writing evokes images through rich description. You can find it in fiction, poetry, journal writing, and advertising.

  • Persuasive writing aims to sway the reader toward the author’s point of view. It is used heavily in advertising, and can also be found in opinion and editorial pieces, reviews, and job applications.

  • Narrative writing tells a story. It can be found in fiction, poetry, biographies, human interest stories, and anecdotes.


These four ‘styles’ are describing what tools an author may choose to use. You don’t have to use any or a mixture of all four – it’s up to you! 



Writing. Thinking. Doing – an LSE Guide. 

Working-class Women and Writing - a blog

Panic! Its an Arts Emergency (pdf)

Kit De waal on writing!

No Writer Left Behind - Collective writers. 

O.K., You're Not Shakespeare. Now Get Back to Work.

Common People - book