2020 MAY-JUN Writing Contests

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

2020 MAY-JUN Writing Contests

Hello Writing Corner Contest Group Member

Below is a list of links to the contests I usually send out. Figured one email from me would be better than several. I apologize for not sending a lot out last month… I was swamped with changes to websites for all my clients due to COVID-19. Fortunately I can now breathe a bit and could take the time to go look up all these contests.

Enjoy, and stay safe.


WRITER ADVICE Flash Fiction
https://writeradvice.com/latest-contest-information/


WOMENS FICTION, 2020 RISING STAR FOR PUBLISHED AUTHORS
https://writeradvice.com/latest-contest-information/


ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA

May Contests

*The Beverley Award for Published Romance
Sponsor: Colorado Romance Writers
Fee: $35
Deadline: May 1, 2020
Entry: this contest named for the late Jo Beverley focuses on the initial hook of the story. Novels and novellas published in 2019, nine categories. Electronic entries only.
Judges: romance readers, authors, and librarians.
FMI, go to http://coloradoromancewriters.com/.

**On the Far Side Contest
Sponsor: Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal RWA
Fee: $20–25
Deadline: May 10, 2020
Entry: back-cover-style blurb and up to the first twenty pages of an unpublished manuscript. Finalists will be asked to include an unjudged synopsis for agents and editors.
Final Judges: please see website for complete list of final-round judges.
FMI, visit https://ffprwa.com/contests/on-the-far-side-contest/ or email the contest coordinator at OTFS@ffprwa.com.

25-4-25
Sponsor: Hudson Valley Romance Writers of America
Fee: $25
Deadline: May 31, 2020
Entry: first 25 pages of your manuscript to receive detailed line and developmental edits.
Judges and Final Judges: published and soon-to-be-published members of HVRWA.
FMI, visit https://www.hudsonvalleyrwa.org/25-4-25.html. Questions? hudsonvalleycontest@gmail.com.

June Contests
No June contests submitted.

July Contests

The Carla Contest
Sponsor: Mid-America Romance Authors
Fee: $25
Deadline: July 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. CDT
Entry: traditional or self-published books with original copyright date of 2019 (minimum length 40,000 words).
Judges: contest will have no more than five finalists from all categories. First round will be judged by readers.
Final Judges: final judging by a librarian
FMI (entry form, rules, score sheet, contact, website info), visit http://www.mararwa.com/.

The Emerald City Best Blurb Contest 2020
Sponsor: Greater Seattle RWA
Fee: $10.00
Dates: Opens June 1. Deadline: July 8, 2020 11:59 PM PST
Entry: published and unpublished authors welcome; back-cover blurb up to 250 words. Must be written by the author.
Judges: RWA members.
Final Judges: editors and agents attending the Emerald City Writers Conference.
FMI, visit https://gsrwa.org.

The Writer 2020 Contest
Sponsor (chapter name): Land of Enchantment Romance Authors of New Mexico (LERA)
Fee: $25 for members | $35 for nonmembers
Deadline: July 31, 2020, or until cap is met
Eligibility: Open to all authors (both published and unpublished). Cap set at 45 entries. Entries must meet all rules for entry. Visit leranm.com for instruction on entry.
Entry: The opening five thousand (5,000) words of an unpublished romance novel.
Categories: All subgenres of romance, all heat levels, any pairings/combos are welcome. Diverse stories and authors are encouraged to enter. Please indicate which sub-genre and heat level your submission falls into from the list on http://leranm.com.
Judges: Three first-round, trained judges that include at least one published author or PRO member. Score sheets and feedback will be emailed to all contestants at the end of the contest.
Final Judges: Visit http://leranm.com for a list of final judges.
Top Prize: All selected first-round finalists will receive personalized mentoring by a PAN judge. Their updated manuscripts will be entered into the final round and the winner will be named “The Writer for 2020.” See prizes at http://leranm.com.
FMI, please visit http://leranm.com or email: Dianne Lindstrom at lerathewritercontest@leranm.com

CONFERENCES

May Conferences and Workshops
Strengths for Writers with Becca Syme
Sponsor: Missouri Romance Writers of America
Location: Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis Creve Coeur, Missouri
Fee: $45–65
Date: May 16, 2020
Presenter: Becca Syme of The Better-Faster Academy
Topic: All Day Writer Strengths and Strategic Planning workshop
Workshop Features: Top 5 Clifton Strengths test, lunch included
FMI, email vp-programs@morwa.org or visit http://www.morwa.org/.

June Conferences and Workshops
Special Operations Writers’ Conference
Sponsor: Danica Winters, Troy Kechely, Special Operations Training, Empire Arms, and MTRWA
Location: Hilton Garden Inn, Bozeman, Montana (discounted rooms available)
Fee: $350 and add-on courses available
Date: June 12–14, 2020
Speakers: Joseph Elliot, character reference and screenwriter for Netflix’s show MindHunter, Ann Leslie Tuttle, Elizabeth Pelletier, Nicole Resciniti, Lesley Sabga, Danica Winters, retired FBI agents, special operations specialists, military contractors (including retired Blackwater Operatives), Navy SEALs, DELTA force members, K-9 trainers and bomb dogs, Gallatin County Dive Team, and many more.
Conference Features: fees include general registration, dinners, breakfast, beverages. Lunch on your own.
FMI, visit http://www.SpecialOperationsWritersConference.com.

July Conferences and Workshops
Contemporary Romance Writers Summer Conference
Sponsor: Contemporary Romance Writers RWA
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Fee: $235 CRW Members / $245 Others
Date: July 24-27, 2020
Kharma Kelley, Shree Aier, Melanie Greene, Win Day, Miranda Darrow (feature Kharma Kelley)
Conference Features: Craft and Career Workshops, DEI Keynote with Kharma Kelley, Bias and Writing Masterclass with Shree Aier, Stiletto Contest Awards Night, Multi-Author Book Signing
FMI, visit https://contemporaryromance.org/events/summer2020conference/


CHANTICLEER CONTESTS
https://www.chantireviews.com/contests/


THE WRITE LIFE CONTESTS LIST
https://thewritelife.com/writing-contests/


Cozy Mystery Novel Writing Contest ~2020
https://www.chantireviews.com/services/Cozy-Mystery-Writing-Contests-Chanticleer-Book-Reviews-p21521076


SPRING 2020 SHORT STORY CONTEST
https://www.writermag.com/contests/


JERRY JENKINS ULTIMATE GUIDE TO WRITING CONTESTS THROUGH 2021
https://jerryjenkins.com/writing-contests/


REEDSY BEST WRTING CONTESTS OF 2020
https://blog.reedsy.com/writing-contests/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&category=&sorted%5Bcol%5D=updated_at&search=science+fiction&commit=Search


POETS & WRITERS WRITING CONTESTS, GRANTS & AWARDS
https://www.pw.org/grants?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_Y29xan-5QIVGKSzCh3cQwAmEAMYAiAAEgJXqvD_BwE


Writing Contests Group
WritingCorner.com

Subscribe writingcontests-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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Resources Menu

Proofreaders Marks

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Resources Menu

A Writers Dream-The Home Office

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

A Writers Dream-The Home Office

By Linda S. Dupie

Lately, I find myself sitting at my computer daydreaming about the office I wish I had. You know the one with the giant oak desk, big comfortable chair, and bookshelves that never end. All my files are neatly arranged, stowed away in their proper place and don’t forget the home office necessity, sound proof walls.

That’s right, if you haven’t guessed my office is tucked away in the corner of my basement, which also happens to be where my children love to play. Never mind that they have their own bedroom and a special TV room set up just for them. They feel the need to be near me. Sometimes I think they do it as pay back for my mother, and all the times I wouldn’t let her work. Actually, my make shift office could be worse. My corner is about 10 feet by 10 feet and packed to overflowing. That’s okay for me because I know where everything is, however no one outside of the writing world would be able to make heads or tails of my set up. I have all of  the writer’s necessities, laptop to save space, two filing cabinets, three bookcases, and a desk. When my parents remodeled their kitchen, I asked if I could have some of the cabinets. I now have space to put all the printer paper and other miscellaneous items.

I know what you are thinking, ‘Boy, that sure is cramped.’ Don’t I know it; I have to work in it.

During a conversation with a few writer friends, I found I was not alone in the dream of the perfect office. Many just wanted a space to call their own and others wanted the moon. As for me, I only want the sound proof walls.

Katie, a freelance writer residing in Sweden has this dream, “My dream office has two large windows. One of them looks out over the ocean, and the other out into the mountains…It contains a large desk with lots of drawers and cubby holes to put pens, pencils, and notebooks in (and candy bars of course), and on top will be a state of the art computer with free Internet access, and a good lamp for when my muse strikes in the middle of the night.”

Some writer’s dream in extreme detail, after all, we’re writers and detail is a part of our job.

Shelley of Wisconsin says, “My dream office would be in a room large enough to house a desk, several book shelves, and a couch and chair. Sunshine would stream in through the French doors, which open up onto a private patio and an English garden.” Shelley doesn’t stop there though. “The furniture would be an eclectic mix of floral patterns and carved woods. The overall atmosphere would be one of comfort and romance.”

While most of us don’t have the office of our dreams, we can make the best of the space and furniture we do have with a little planning. In my 10×10 space, I use a U-shape design for furniture placement. I place my desk close to a window, if possible, and then place my filing cabinets on one side and bookcases on the other. I also have any other tables or desks within reach for whatever I need, so I don’t have to walk to the other side of the room. Use the bottom of the U as workspace; place the computer, fax, and telephone, and any current projects here. The sides of the U have all other filing cabinets and bookcases with the least used items farthest away from the bottom of the U. With the U configuration, I can roll my chair to anything I need; though I prefer to stand and get the items I need. This way I feel I have accomplished some kind of exercise
during my day.

I use a laptop for all my writing. What about the Internet you ask? Well, I don’t currently have access on my laptop, but I do have a desktop on the left far side of the U configuration.

We write where we do because it’s all we have. Most writers have a few ideas of the perfect office in common; we want large windows for light and space for everything that makes us productive. Will the dream office make us more productive? For some the answer might be yes, but for me the answer is no, as long as I have the tools I need to perform my craft. If I actually had my dream office, my family would never see or hear from me again; after all, I have soundproof walls.

Seven Space Saving Tips

  1. Use a lateral filing cabinet as opposed to a standard vertical cabinet. Lateral cabinets hold more files.
  2. Store older files and research away from your office space. Box, label, and store the files in another room or closet.
  3. Only keep current projects on your desk. Use stackable file trays for easy access and to save space.
  4. Use a dry erase board to track assignments, i.e. what’s due and what’s finished. Customize it to fit your needs.
  5. If possible store only the supplies needed in your office space. Store extra supplies in an accessible closet or under your bed.
  6. Use a telephone/answering machine combination. Better, if your telephone company provides a voice mail service invest in it and do away with the machine all together.
  7. Set aside one morning or afternoon each month to make a clean sweep through your office. File finished projects or remove them totally if you won’t need it in the near future.

Resources Menu

The Art of Procrastination

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

The Art of Procrastination

By Margaret Terhune

My friends and family think of me as an organized, efficient person. I pay my bills on time, keep my house relatively clean and remember most people’s birthdays. When it comes to my writing life, however, things are a little bit different. Organization and efficiency, neatness and cleanliness become wonderful reasons to put off working. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing. I wouldn’t spend so much time doing it if I didn’t love it. It’s just that, sometimes, it takes me a little while to get started.

On a typical morning, for example, I pay my bills, tidy my desk, check my e-mail (and answer pressing messages), read writing-related newsletters, log onto the internet to check a few writing sites and try my luck at my favorite trivia sites. Then I play a few games of Solitaire until lunchtime. After lunch, when I’ve run out of things to keep my busy, I happily write until my hands cramp up, my eyes bug out or the dog asks to go for a walk (whichever comes first).

This scenario mostly plays itself out when I am between assignments or working on long-term projects. When a deadline looms near, these diversions disappear and my more focused writing self takes over. I have developed some successful counter-procrastination measures which allow me to write without the usual delays.

I try to allot one morning a week for the business side of things: bills, correspondence, sending out guideline requests, reading newsletters and magazines. Everything that comes in after that goes into a drawer until the following week.

Once I turn on my computer, I open my word-processing program and immediately start work. Bypassing the lures of the internet, I save e-mail, trivia and games for an end of day reward.

Since I’m usually working on more than one project at a time, I try to keep related items in their own piles – around, but not on the desk. When I need ideas or research notes for a specific article, they’re accessible and already organized.

I keep a desk calendar for writing deadlines and refer to it frequently. I also try to assign myself personal “due dates” for unsolicited pieces. This helps me avoid lengthy spans of chronic procrastination and keeps me motivated during dry spells.

Of course, procrastination in moderation can be very helpful. There’s nothing wrong with being organized as long as it doesn’t impede the basic writing process. Taking a few minutes to create physical order clears the mind and helps concentration. When writer’s block strikes (as it frequently does), sifting through a pile of writing-related material can spark new ideas. Once in a while, I’ll spend half a day going through old files and I usually discover treasure: a story that’s ready to be re-written or a forgotten page of notes that inspires a new piece.

So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to work. After I take the dog for a walk, that is…

Resources Menu

Teach Yourself to Write

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Teach Yourself to Write

By Shirley Jump

You, too, can teach yourself to write. No, this isn’t an infomercial with Ron Popeil. It’s not a classified ad looking to take your money in exchange for nothing. It’s true advice for aspiring writers who come from nontraditional backgrounds and who want to learn how to write.

Many people feel daunted by their lack of a degree and think they shouldn’t be a writer because they didn’t go to college. While a degree is a wonderful tool, it’s not a necessity to make it in this industry. The key is learning to analyze the articles in your targeted markets and then adapt your words to fit those parameters. Although I have a degree in English, I learned very little in four years that I didn’t already know (except maybe the difference between an iamb and a trochee). Like most writers, my education came from the school of life, taught by my friends in the industry.

The first step is analysis. You already know you have to study the magazines you want to write for. Go beyond the masthead and delve into the articles. Get out your highlighter collection and color-code the amount of narrative as opposed to quotes from experts, the number of tips, the length of the introduction and the conclusion.

Then look at how the article was constructed. Virtually all articles follow the same pattern: Problem, analysis of the way to solve it, and happy resolution. In the typical women’s magazine, you might see an article entitled “Seven Steps to Slimmer Thighs.” Problem: chubby thighs. Steps to Solution: Seven exercises. Resolution: Do this for six weeks, and you’ll fit those college jeans.

Notice how much of the material was backed up by experts. Did the writer let the quotes do the work or did he use expert advice to enhance the material?

Now look at the tone and voice of the piece. Is it written in a breezy, conversational manner, like you might talk to a neighbor? Or is it more serious, filled with the kind of vocabulary words you dreaded in high school? Is it written in first person (I) or third (she and he)? Is it short and concise or filled with information?

Before you write your own article, write up an outline of the ones you studied. This will provide an accurate framework for writing. No one’s going to grade you on it, so just write it any format you wish (and if you can remember any Roman numerals over three, you get extra credit).

When you write your own article, mimic the ones you studied. Notice I didn’t say copy – just emulate them. Never, ever plagiarize another’s work. Then ask a good friend or colleague to read the one you studied and compare it to yours. Get honest feedback on whether you have accomplished your goal.

These steps are the quick fix to teaching yourself to write. The best way to understand the concepts of writing is to take classes, especially the targeted ones available online or in community education programs.

Join writing groups. There are hundreds of them available, but look for one that offers local meetings and opportunities. The Society of Professional Journalists (www.spj.org), of which I’m a member, is just one group with workshops and conferences for members around the country. You can find conference listings at http://writing.shawguides.com. A two-day conference is usually cheaper than a three-credit college class and will cover a wider variety of materials.

Join a critique group, either online or in real life. Try to be paired with someone who is further along in her career than you are. If you and your partner are both floundering around in the dark, neither of you will be much help to the other. Most experienced writers are more than willing to assist new writers.

Finally, never stop learning. I have been writing for more than twenty years and yet I still take classes. I learn something new every time and look at my craft in a slightly different way when the class is over. Education is a lifelong process that constantly challenges you to strive harder and write better.

Resources Menu

Moving Mountains

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Moving Mountains

By Jennifer L. Doloski

My eight-month-old had decided, yet again, to forgo her afternoon nap. Her older sister dutifully napping, Anna seemed to know that she had me all to herself and wasn’t going to waste that opportunity by sleeping through it. Spreading a blanket on the den floor, with several pillows behind her as tipping insurance, I turned her loose with a shape sorter, a cloth house with four buggy looking cloth friends, and a few favorite rattles. Thanks to her recently acquired skill of being able to sit unassisted, she was investigating some of these toys for the first time. In the midst of editing one article, composing another, doing research on the Internet, and listening to some “mood music,” I had hoped to move mountains during nap time.

Side-by-side, we worked independently for some time. My work was punctuated by an occasional sigh as I waited for a page on the Internet to load or as I struggled with word choices. Her work, on the other hand, was punctuated by squeals of delight as she realized that the top came off of the shape sorter. I turned to find her surrounded by shapes and munching on a square, grinning at me over the drooly, plastic cube.

Just enough time had passed for me to really focus on what I was writing. I could hear Anna playing beside me, though her squeals were beginning to sound more like whimpers. I knew eye contact would end it all for me, so I plugged away, wanting desperately to have some finished product to show for my efforts.

With a disgusted grunt and an unskilled arm, Anna sent a soggy toy in my direction. Whimpers turned to wails, and I finally gave in to her requests for a playmate. As I sank to the floor, she gave me her jack-o-lantern grin even before the last tear had managed to trickle down her cheek. There we sat in a patch of afternoon sunlight, surrounded by toys, and her big sister was nowhere to be seen. She had won.

Scooping the shapes back into their bucket, I set the sorter aside and put the bug house between us. On the roof, a bright orange sunshine smiled at us. Lifting the sun, I revealed an opening through which we could see the buggy friends nestled inside. Anna leaned over for a closer inspection of the house. She tasted it, she opened and shut the sunny flap, and she peered into the hole beneath the flap. She did not, however, attempt to retrieve the toys within.

I reached through the hole and giggled at the startled look on her face as she watched my hand disappear. When it emerged with a polychromatic snail, she looked from my hand to the hole quizzically. She leaned over, peered into the hole at the remaining friends, and sat up with a sigh. She had just learned how holes work.

We spent the remainder of that afternoon on the sun-warmed den floor exploring that little house.

“Open,” I said. Anna squealed once again, raising the sunshine flap.

“Close. Open. Close.” She shrieked in response to my chants.

I produced and replaced each buggy friend, and she finally decided that the hole was okay by her and tentatively stuck her chubby fingers into its depths.

And the work piled on my desk waited for another day. There will be, I know, afternoons where the naps are long. There will be time enough to move my mountains then.

At 1:30 p.m. the nap time race begins. With a kiss, I lay the baby in her crib. I shut my elder daughter’s bedroom door and sprint to the den. For the next stretch of time, 45 minutes on a bad day, 2 hours if the alignment of the planets is just so, I get to be a writer. When the nursery monitor cackles I send my muse home for the day and become Mommy once more.

For as long as I can remember, except for when I was three years old and wanted to be a giraffe, I have wanted to be a writer. First came college, and then full-time employment, and then marriage. I dabbled in writing much as a stifled artist might doodle potential masterpieces in the margins of her appointment book. Then came motherhood. At last, I thought, home with my children, I might actually begin to write.

And begin I did. Beginning was never a problem; I had ideas clawing their way out of my mind and onto paper. Finishing was another story. Teething, nightmares, thunderstorms, and dirty diapers took turns scaring my muse to the far recesses of my mind. While I had some success writing for the local newspaper and published a few essays online, I began to think that motherhood and dreams of a writing career were not compatible.

I was seven months pregnant with my second child when I entered a short story competition. Having been given a prompt, I had twenty-four hours to write and submit an entry. The prompt had to do with shortcuts. As I stared at the computer’s blank screen, the baby within me began a gymnastics routine. Using my condition as inspiration, I wrote a tale of childbirth from the unborn’s perspective, the shortcut being a c-section delivery. I had no experience with surgical childbirth, as my first daughter was born after an uncomplicated labor and delivery. To tell my tale, I incorporated details from friends’ experiences and television documentaries. I was ecstatic when I won first place in the contest and publication on the sponsor’s web site.

I went into labor ten days early. Things were progressing normally, but the doctor became concerned when monitoring of the baby indicated fetal distress. We were discussing the situation and our options when the baby’s heart rate plummeted. The doctor ordered an emergency c-section and my second daughter was born nine minutes later.

It was only a few hours later that the realization hit. Anna and I had written her birth story weeks before she was born. Perhaps my muse wanted to show me that motherhood is not hindering my ability as a writer; it is shaping me.

Resources Menu

Mommy’s Muse

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Mommy’s Muse

By Jennifer L. Doloski

At 1:30 p.m. the nap-time race begins. With a kiss, I lay the baby in her crib. I shut my elder daughter’s bedroom door and sprint to the den. For the next stretch of time, 45 minutes on a bad day, 2 hours if the alignment of the planets is just so, I get to be a writer. When the nursery monitor cackles I send my muse home for the day and become Mommy once more.

For as long as I can remember, except for when I was three years old and wanted to be a giraffe, I have wanted to be a writer. First came college, and then full-time employment, and then marriage. I dabbled in writing much as a stifled artist might doodle potential masterpieces in the margins of her appointment book. Then came motherhood. At last, I thought, home with my children, I might actually begin to write.

And begin I did. Beginning was never a problem; I had ideas clawing their way out of my mind and onto paper. Finishing was another story. Teething, nightmares, thunderstorms, and dirty diapers took turns scaring my muse to the far recesses of my mind. While I had some success writing for the local newspaper and published a few essays online, I began to think that motherhood and dreams of a writing career were not compatible.

I was seven months pregnant with my second child when I entered a short story competition. Having been given a prompt, I had twenty-four hours to write and submit an entry. The prompt had to do with shortcuts. As I stared at the computer’s blank screen, the baby within me began a gymnastics routine. Using my condition as inspiration, I wrote a tale of childbirth from the unborn’s perspective, the shortcut being a c-section delivery. I had no experience with surgical childbirth, as my first daughter was born after an uncomplicated labor and delivery. To tell my tale, I incorporated details from friends’ experiences and television documentaries. I was ecstatic when I won first place in the contest and publication on the sponsor’s web site.

I went into labor ten days early. Things were progressing normally, but the doctor became concerned when monitoring of the baby indicated fetal distress. We were discussing the situation and our options when the baby’s heart rate plummeted. The doctor ordered an emergency c-section and my second daughter was born nine minutes later.

It was only a few hours later that the realization hit. Anna and I had written her birth story weeks before she was born. Perhaps my muse wanted to show me that motherhood is not hindering my ability as a writer; it is shaping me.

Resources Menu

Writing Conferences-Educating and Inspiring

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Writing Conferences-Educating and Inspiring

By Margaret Terhune

A few weeks ago, I attended the Society of Children’s Book writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) annual New England conference. Conferences offer rare opportunities to meet and learn from seasoned authors and editors. I love going to good conferences: being surrounded by so many other writers motivates me to come home and write with renewed passion and hope.

While conferences vary in length and subject matter, the format is usually the same. After registration and coffee, attendees listen to a keynote speaker. At the SCBWI conference, children’s author Patricia Polacco (Pink and Say, Rechenka’s Eggs, The Keeping Quilt ) spoke movingly about writing from the heart. At other conferences, speakers may range from authors and poets to agents and art directors. The speech sets the tone or theme for the day, putting everyone in a literary frame of mind.

After the keynote speech, participants attend smaller seminars. These sessions, led by authors, agents or editors, are invaluable ways to explore topics from beating writer’s block to marketing strategies. In the course of the day, I explored writing historical fiction, learned how to tap into the magazine market and gained an invaluable amount of information on internet research.

One of the best features of the SCBWI conference is the chance to get a personal critique from an editor (or agent). Not all conferences present this opportunity, but it is well worth the extra fee if it’s offered. Most editors appear to be elusive and unreachable in the everyday world of publishing; being able to meet with one is priceless for a serious writer. If you have an editor’s critique, listen – you may not agree with what he or she is saying about your work, but it is an unbiased (and professional) opinion. Don’t bring other writing with you to the critique but focus on the piece in question. After the conference, be sure to follow up on your meeting with a brief note to the editor.

Networking time is built into the day during breaks, lunch and book-signings. Most authors are very approachable. In addition to hearing their own success – and rejection – stories, you may learn about new markets for your own work.

Where are these conferences offered? Most major literary organizations hold an annual conference. Magazines like Writer’s Digestand Poets and Writers often have listings or advertisements for conferences. Locally, check with college English or Creative Writing departments: if they don’t sponsor their own writing conference, they may know of others in the area. Some conferences are genre-specific (such as children’s writing, journalism or poetry) while others address a multitude of writing concerns. These benefit both beginning writers who aren’t sure of their genre and seasoned writers who want to learn about opportunities in other fields of writing.

Some conference advice: come prepared with pens and paper: in addition to taking copious notes, many seminars focus on on-the-spot creative writing. Ask questions! Introduce yourself to other participants and workshop leaders. Ask more questions.

Resources Menu

Affirm All You Want

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Affirm All You Want

The Power of Intention Over Resolve

By Mia Zachary

When the end of the year draws near and a new start is in sight, the clock is ticking down, but your heart is speeding up. Why?

Because the past eleven months didn’t go the way you’d hoped, so you feel obligated to make some resolutions.

You make a long list of everything you plan to start doing, all of the habits you want to break and the many goals you’re going to set.

But then after only a few short weeks— or even days— your resolutions have been abandoned, forgotten or replaced with more resolutions that will just end the same way…

What happened?

Habits take time to form and longer to break, so most people give up as soon as it gets hard. Goals are usually about fixing something you believe is wrong with you, or getting something that you think will make you better.

You feel pressured to “make it happen”, especially if you told anybody what you’re supposed to be doing, and all you can think about is failing— again.

You can speak all the affirmations you want but as long as you’re focused on the outcome instead of the change, nothing is going to, well, change.

So set Intentions instead of making resolutions. An Intention is the ‘deeper something’, the core importance, the higher ideal at the heart of your motives.

If you step back and look at your resolutions objectively, it’s not really the thing or the situation that you want; it’s the emotional satisfaction you’ll feel once you win.

Goals change, different options present themselves, other choices manifest and new resources become available, right? Think of a goal as a point on a map, but intention as the vehicle to get you there and beyond.

Writing Exercise

What is it that you truly want?

What state of being will bring you Peace of Mind?

Jot down a list of everything you feel, everything you think about yourself and everything you say you want.

Now beside each desire write down exactly WHY.

For example, if you feel stuck at your job and you think you can do better and you say you want to start your own business, then be clear about your why. A goal of getting away from your obnoxious boss and not having to commute for an hour each way is not enough. Do you have a higher purpose? Is there something you are Intended to share with the world?

If, for example, you feel lonely and you think you’ll never find anyone and you say you’re going to try a dating site, then be clear about your why. A goal of having ‘some body’ to text with and hang out with on weekends is not enough. Are you starting with a great self-worth? Are you searching with the Intention of being one member of a loving partnership?

When you know your whys, the well-formed outcomes are inevitable.

Once you know your reasons, begin to create Intention statements. Although both affirmations and Intentions are positive and present-tense, affirmations are passive while Intentions are active.

It’s good to write out an affirmation like, “I am eating better and exercising more”. Better to act on an Intention Statement like, “I intend to be happy and healthy so I can enjoy my life.”

Include power words in your Intentions to keep yourself focused. Power comes from words that move you, resonate within you and hold a connection for you.

On the next page is a list of power words for you to use in creating your Intention Statements. An example might be, “I intend to live from an abundance mentality” or “I intent to be authentic in all relationships.” You can make them as general or as specific as you need.

Sample Power Words For Your Intentions

ABUNDANCE
Awareness
Blessing
Clarity
Creativity
Energy
Faith
Genuine
Gratitude
Honesty
Influence
Kindness
Loyalty
Mentorship
Nurture
Options
Possibility
Presence
Receive
Serenity
Talent
Value

ACCEPTANCE
Balance
Bravery
Commitment
Dedication
Enthusiasm
Freedom
Generosity
Harmony
Honor
Insight
Knowledge
Love
Nature
Offer
Passion
Potential
Purpose
Relate
Sharing
Teach
Wealth

AUTHENTICITY
Belief
Choice
Courage
Dreams
Experience
Fun
Grace
Health
Ideals
Joy
Laughter
Mastery
Nourishment
Opportunity
Peace
Power
Radiance
Resources
Spirit
Trust
Wisdom

Resources Menu

Knowing Your Target Audience

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Knowing Your Target Audience

by Deanna Lilly
Bizness Concepts Web Design

Today you are dealing with four generations to which you have to market your advertising and products.  Each of these generations views a website differently.  They have different needs and desires, and it is your job to make sure they get what they want when they visit your site.

Although this information is directed mainly at website design, it can also be used for with your writing.  This information is presented in a very brief format and does not go into the detail of studies relating to color choices.  Please use this as a “guideline.”

 

MATURES • Duty – Scarification Generation

  • Born between 1909 – 1945
  • 57.8 Million
  • 20.5% of the population
  • Wealthiest Generation
  • Economic Impact – $20 Trillion

Matures in the Workplace

  • Are loyal to their employer and expect the same in return.
  • Possess superb interpersonal skills.
  • Are enjoying flextime arrangements today so they can work on their own schedule.
  • Believe promotions, raises, and recognition should come from job tenure.
  • Measure a work ethic on timeliness, productivity, and not drawing attention to themselves.

Matures in the Marketplace

  • Have great faith in the nation’s institutions: people (i.e., Charlton Heston), companies, and the government.
  • Demand quality. It is more important than speed or efficiency.
  • Are loyal customers but aren’t afraid to shop around.
  • Willingly follow the rules that have been established. They believe they are there for a reason.
  • They don’t want to be on the cutting edge. They want something after it’s been proven.  No fancy customization.

Websites

  • Useful information.
  • Practical and full of factual data.
  • Easy to use – read like a magazine (but not in columns).
  • Stress value and quality and a reward for hard work.
  • Monochromatic Blues – Blue and White – Red, White and Blue (minimal use of red), Greens and minimal use of black or gray (which reminds them of illness and death).

BOOMERS • Individuality –  “Me” Generation

  • Born between 1946 – 1964
  • Biggest generation US has seen
  • 82.8 Million
  • 29.4% of the population
  • Economic Impact – $900 Billion

Boomers in the Workplace

  • Believe in the champion, and evaluate themselves and others based on their work ethic.
  • Work ethic for Boomers is measured in hours worked. Measuring productivity in those hours is less important.
  • Believe teamwork is critical to success.
  • Believe relationship building is very important.
  • Expect loyalty from those they work with.

Boomers in the marketplace

  • Are interested in products and services that will allow them to regain control of their time.
  • Believe technology brings with it as many problems as it provides solutions.
  • Want products and services that have been customized for them, the individual.
  • Believe rules should be obeyed unless they are contrary to what they want; then they’re to be broken.
  • Want products and services that will indicate to their peers that they’re successful.

Websites

  • Relaxing and de-stressing
  • Time Saving
  • Things that appear to their kids (grandkids)
  • Warm, rich muted colors, split-complimentary, triadic and tetradic – Double Complimentary combinations (think muted flower-power)

XERS • Skeptical, Reluctant

  • Born between 1965 – 1978
  • 58.9 million
  • Make up 20.9% of population
  • Economic impact $125 Billion

Xers in the workplace

  • Shun the hard-core, super-motivated, do or die Boomer work ethic.
  • Want open communication regardless of position, title, or tenure.
  • Respect production over tenure.
  • Value control of their time.
  • Look for a person to whom they can invest loyalty, not a company.

Xers in the marketplace

  • Can spot a phony a mile away.
  • Rely on peer-to-peer referrals more than any other generation.
  • Want options; plans B, C, and D.
  • Embrace technology as a way to maintain control of their lives.
  • Want to be in control of the sale.

Websites

  • Excitement, media and products with attitude, global influences, well designed.
  • Innovative, clever, humor, irreverence, peer information and word of mouth campaigns, fun.
  • Grey tones, black and white, or extreme bright bold colors variations, split-complimentary, triadic and tetradic – Double Complimentary combinations

MILLENNIALS / ECHO BOOMERS • Coddled

  • Born between 1979 – 1988
  • 80.5 million
  • 28.6% of population
  • Economic influence $105 Billion

Millennials in the Workplace

  • Search for the individual who will help them achieve their goals.
  • Want open, constant communication and positive reinforcement from their boss.
  • Find working with someone of the Mature generation easy to do.
  • Search for a job that provides great, personal fulfillment.
  • Are searching for ways to shed the stress in their lives.

Millenials in the Marketplace

  • Want to be like their peers but with a unique twist.
  • Don’t want to be hurried.
  • Will consider a company’s products if the company is known for their altruistic attitude.
  • Are loyal consumers.
  • Search for the unique and hard to find items.

Websites

  • Exciting websites.
  • Extreme or bright colorssuch as  cyan blue, chartreuse green.
  • E-commence opportunities that don’t require a credit card.
  • Humor and irony, funny, quirky, never trivialize.
  • Direct messages (“Just show me the jeans.”)
  • Messages that appear skewed or slightly out of order.
  • Ethnicity, age peers, racial diversity.
  • Anything to make them feel older.

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