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Showing posts from November, 2009

Mini-Scoop! Three Upcoming Writing Deadlines

If you are lucky enough to sneak away from the kitchen or the mall this Holiday-- Be Thankful you can submit your writing to one of these contests. Click on the links for more information.

Deadline 11/30/09
Essay contest for Family Caregivers and Home Health ProfessionalsTheme: What makes caregiving rewarding1 page essayShieldHealthCareWin up to $1000 worth of AMEX gift chequesNo Entry Fee
Flash Fiction ContestOpen Theme250-750 wordsWOW! Flash Fiction Contest25 total prizes-- Top Prize includes $250 cash$10 entry feeDeadline 12/1/09
Fiction/NonFiction Humor Contestmax 750 wordsMona Shreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction or NonFictionPrize Range $100-$500$5 entry fee-- Snail mail entry, deadline is postmark dateThese are 3 contests that could be written and edited over a few days if you really put your mind to it. I plan on submitting to at least one, how about you?

Best Wishes for you and your Writing!

P.S. These listings are just a few that are available in the monthly Scoop. This month'…

Today's Excuse: Virginia Woolf was right, I don't have what I need to be a writer

It's been almost one hundred years since Virginia Woolf said, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write...". We still fall back onto this antiquated excuse. We don't allow ourselves to write because we focus on the material things we think are necessary for a writer: a desk, the latest computer, maybe even an MFA. Getting all of those things cost money, so we focus on making the money so someday we can buy the things we need to write. So we work for money, but we don't write because we feel that our time would be better spent doing "real work". That way, we can save money for an extended vacation where we will sit on the beach, writing our Great American Novel longhand, or we will rent a cabin in the mountains and our poetry will be inspired by the majestic trees reaching to the sky. After all, everyone knows we need a big space and a fat bank account to write, right?

“Everybody knows it because Virginia Woolf said it... But I’ve …

Do You Want in on The Scoop?

From the desk of the Excuse Editor:

First, I decided I wanted to write. That was easy enough. I'd kept a diary since I was a little girl. As a grown up, I attended a few journaling, fiction and poetry workshops.

Great, my interest was peaked, my pen desperate to start moving.

But, what kinds of writing should I start with? How long should it be?

My workshops focused on self-expression, and I was rightly told: write whatever you want to, write what's in your heart, write what's on your mind. Write until it's done.

OK. I agree. But...

What if I want to share my writing?

...if I want to get published?

...and of course, what if I want to make some money?

I started to research writing markets and writing contests. Sure, I could focus on writing the Great American Novel and send it off to Oprah and hope for the best. Or Ellen. Or maybe I could get the "Colbert Bump". Instead, I kept my head out of the clouds and put my butt in the chair. Using the Internet, I found do…

Today's Excuse: My writing is just plain BAD

-- so why bother?


Why bother? We are driven to write. We want to tell some kind of story, to share our knowledge with the world. Wannabe writers are usually avid readers. Our eyes devour beautifully crafted words that others have written. They make it look so easy, don't they? As readers, we only see the final product. George Carlin said, "The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity." Writing is a process, it doesn't just arrive ready to take flight. We need to allow ourselves the wonderment of a "sloppy copy" and cultivate our work into swarms of butterflies.

Excuse Editor Tip: Write like Nobody's Reading

So, you think your writing may not be very good? OK, prove it. Write anyway. Pick a topic you would want to write about, if you could write well. Make an effort to write it badly. Make sure it really sucks. Read over what you've written. Does it stink to high heaven? Well, good. You've accomplished the assignmen…

NaNo, NaNo

It's that time of year again, when thousands of wannabe novelists challenge themselves to write a whole book in 30 days. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, started 11 years ago and now has a worldwide following. The general idea behind NaNoWriMo is to encourage writers to achieve a lofty word count goal: 50,000 words. The aspiring authors blow the dust off their calculators to forecast their daily targets. As they write, the NaNoWriMo site gives them a visual representation of their work: a bar graph showing them how close, or far away, they are to completing their "NaNoNovel".

50,000 words. If that goal is reached, you would have written a 200 page book! In one month!

Sounds out of this world? Well, consider this:

A journey of a thousand sentences begins with a single word.
Any writing, whether it's War and Peace or a simple tweet, starts with a blank slate. The mystery and the joy of composition: pulling words out of the air, one by one, to give birth to your…