Purpose - The purpose of this article is to explore barriers and motivators for new professionals who write and present for the professional literature. Design/methodology/approach - Authors from the ALIA New Librarians' Symposium held in December 2006 in Sydney, Australia were surveyed about their experiences of writing and presenting early in their career. The author of this paper was the symposium's programme coordinator. Findings - The majority of authors were working in Australia, and few were required to write or present as part of their work role. In the absence of this requirement, factors that motivate new professionals to write can be difficult to define. Barriers to writing include time, skills, and responsibilities outside work. Originality/value - The paper discusses a publishing opportunity aimed at new professionals and other strategies to reduce barriers to writing and presenting.