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“[As writers} we reflect, notice, and learn . . . We write in the morning. Or late at night. Or in a café. Or with a partner. Or with a prompt. Or with a timer. Or with a cookie at the end. We start therapy. Or journaling. Or exercise. Or painting . . . Our process, like the writing itself, is a long, slow, and ever-changing process of iteration and learning.”
Dear Women, Who Write—
To begin with, thanks to all our 35 donors—members and friends of Women Who Write. This was our first Give for Good campaign sponsored annually by Louisville’s Community Foundation. The WWW leaders gathered 35 donors to help raise $2,135 plus prize money. We will now move forward to plan low-cost, accessible, quality programs.
Our monthly newsletter is long invitation to members and potential members. We invite you to sign-up for activities like our upcoming retreat. We hope you’ll bring work-in-progress for peer critique to our monthly meeting, respond to our writing prompts, and submit work to our blog as well as other publication venues. We want to be companions on your writing journey!
The opening quote of this month’s newsletter describes the variety of writing processes. Too often we hear statements about process telling us we must be disciplined, write every day in the same place. This makes itinerant writers like me believe we are doing something wrong. Coffee shops are my favorite place to write. Noise is good. Daily writing is not possible. On non-writing days, I observe the world for material!
The WWW audience needs no persuasion. We love writing. Nevertheless, we sometimes struggle with process. Some of us feel guilty for our lack of discipline. When we find ourselves stuck in a tough paragraph, we might clean out the pantry, reorganize the junk drawer, or bake (and consume) cookies.
This writer craves that high-on-life feeling she gets after she’s been tapping the keyboard for at least 15 minutes. To achieve that heady feeling, she gives herself permission to spill garbage on the page. Her very first draft is more like dumpster diving than composition.
As Annie Dillard writes in her essay, “To Fashion a Text,”—
Willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, that baby will starve. You do it out of love . . . That’s the same way you go to your desk. There’s nothing freakish about it. Caring passionately about something isn’t against nature, and it isn’t against human nature. It’s what we’re here to do.
The writing process is its own reward. Telling the story is a journey.
Here are a few tips to enhance your writing process—
- Welcome organic writing prompts in your life—the things people say in daily life, for example. Make notes in a notebook of electronic device.
- Observe the world, which is full of mystery, surprise, beauty, and eccentric people. And don’t forget to write about the ordinary—the priceless things people say, for example.
- Impose an external deadline on yourself—a deadline for submission in a literary magazine, for example, OR join the NaNoWriMo movement (scroll down for details).
- Don’t obsess over a first line since you are sure to replace this first line when you revise. Instead, begin with a throw-away line that will get your started, for example—”This is a story about. . .” or “Once upon a time,” or “Let me tell you about. . .”
- Don’t wait to be inspired. Write to be inspired.
- Respond to our monthly writing prompts. This month, the prompt is based on a short craft piece by Sonya Livingston, “Nancy Drew-ing the Essay.” In her Brevitymag.com piece, Livingston advises writers to, “Embrace the three Cs of the writing process: Chaos, Curiosity and Confusion.”
Photo by estee-janssens at Unsplash.com
Mark your calendar
On Tuesday, October 11 our monthly meeting begins at 6:30 PM and ends at 8:30 PM, at the beautiful South Central Branch library— 7300 Jefferson Blvd—of the Louisville Free Public Library. We’ll enjoy lively conversation about the writing life, including peer critiques of short manuscripts—poetry or prose. The strength-based peer critiques affirm each woman’s unique writing style while providing helpful revision suggestions. Persons attending the meetings practice strength-based critique skills.
Please submit one of your works-in-progress for our meeting. as an attachment to an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on the day of the meeting, so we can share your manuscript with attendees. Limit manuscripts to four pages double-spaced, or two poems. This is our way of helping members who yearn to start something new, to share. Persons with longer segments than the 4 pages can send excerpts!
Writers attending in person, also bring 5 copies of your work to our in-person meeting.
Non-members are welcome to attend two meetings before membership.
The link was sent in the October newsletter. If you need the link, please email us email@example.com.
Saturday & Sunday, November 5 and 6—Beginning Saturday at 9 AM and ending on Sunday at 5 PM, Women Who Write will gather at the Kentucky Foundation for Women’s Hopscotch House. Most people will come for the day. Overnight space is limited, so sign up soon!
As part of this retreat, we’ve arranged for a panel of writers—fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction—to discuss the critique process with the group. As part of this topic, retreatants will have the chance to exchange a manuscript (up to 20 pages prose or 10 poems) with another writer. You’ll apply your critique skills directly to the work of a peer writer.
Cost is $30 per day, $50 for both days, and a total of $80 for overnight. Included is a Sunday continental breakfast, coffee, and snacks, as well as an entrée for a potluck Saturday night dinner. Each person attending the Saturday potluck will bring a side-dish to share with the group.
Write. Read. Eat. Walk. Collaborate. Read aloud. Be inspired! Register here.
Saturday, November 12 from 8 AM to 5 PM—Women Who Write will have a table from 10 AM to 5 PM at the annual Writer’s Block Festival, sponsored by one of our community partners, Louisville Literary Arts. We will need volunteers to staff the table for three two hours shifts.
When not at our booth, you can shop various vendors, attend panel discussions, workshops, and readings. The festival is at Ivy Tech Community College in Jeffersonville, IN.
This year’s Writer’s Block features six writing workshops led by regional writers and a keynote reading by Claudia Love Mair, novelist and coordinator of the Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative at the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning.
The festival builds community and educates writers. It’s always an inspiration!
If you have a book to sell at our table or are willing to volunteer for one two-hour shift, please let Kim know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Persons with books you’d like to sell, please let us know at email@example.com.
MONTHLY WRITING PROMPT
“To write anything at all is to accept the tension of not knowing and proceed anyway.”
Read the excellent short craft piece, “Nancy Drewing the Essay: A Guide to the Literary Expedition,” from Brevitymag.com. Then begin your expedition into the world, your memory, or imagination. Write about an obsession, a mystery, a question you haven’t managed to answer.
CONSIDER JOINING NOVEMBER’S NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH
You don’t have to write fiction to enroll in NaNoWriMo! Some of us have jumped on the NaNoWriMo train. For the uninitiated, which includes this writer (until now), National Novel Writing Month is a nonprofit organization that believes in “the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people use their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.” We’ll discuss NaNoWriMo at our October 11 meeting! Meanwhile, you can explore this event here.
WE WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR WRITING LIFE.
Here is our October list of opportunities for writers—
Write for the Women Who Write web blog! Members are invited to submit essay, poem, or fiction (no more than 2,000 words). We’ll read your work in advance and offer revision suggestions if needed.
Publishing on our blog will expand your writing platform since you can share the blog link on social networks. And you’ll help WWW show off the variety of talents within our writing community! Browse our web blog now! http://womenwhowrite.com/our-blog/
We love the theme of HerStry’s call for submissions of memoir/essay— “Rebellious Bodies,” due November 1. Find out more here. HerStry also accepts non-themed memoir-essay year-round and pays for publication.
Landslide Lit(erary), a Medium.com publication, wants stories, poems, essays, memoir that includes the character or idea of Eve (of Genesis— the mythological mother of us all). Here is the request for submissions due no later than November 30, 2022. The co-editors are WWW members, Bonnie Omer Johnson, and Kimberly Crum. No need to be a paying Medium subscriber. Bonnie and Kim will provide a tutorial and editorial suggestions for submitted manuscripts. See general submission guidelines here.
Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers publishes prose that “treats motherhood as a subject worthy of literature.” This online journal is now part of Creative Nonfiction journal. Find out how to submit here.
The Keeping Room is an online magazine for women writers, poets, and artists, interested in “Women’s Wisdom, Lessons Learned, Self-care, Bodies, Relationships, and Community.” Find out how to submit here.
The Cauldron Anthology is a literary journal “embracing the wild feminine.” This literary venue publishes poetry and prose writers who prompts featuring a female from classical stories and mythology. Find out how to submit here.
The Quartet Journal features poetry by women fifty and over. Find out how to submit here.
Here are twenty-six paying markets for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry
Funds for writers newsletter—lists paying markets for writing.
Brevity accepts flash nonfiction submissions year-round. Well respected for short creative nonfiction (750 words or less). Hard to get in, but why not try? https://brevitymag.com/submissions/
HERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR WRITING COMMUNITY
Become a member (or re-member)—As a community, WWW strives to nurture your writing life. We hope you choose to join or renew as a member and participate in our monthly meetings, author talks, retreats, and workshops. We will notify persons when they are due to renew. Regular annual membership is $50. Student annual membership is $25. Membership entitles you to discounts on workshops and retreats.
Attend our monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month.
We’d love to have you on our leadership team. We need a treasurer who oversees finances, keeps records, pays (our few) bills, oversees the budget, files simple reports, balances our bank statements, helps collect membership dues. We want more than your attention to detail. We want your ideas! Nominate yourself or another member. Questions—write to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our Facebook Page and stay awhile—@womenwhowriteky. Help us get to 1,000 followers! Don’t forget to like us and follow us. Also, send us links to your published writing. We will include your writing on our Facebook page! Answer polls. See video interviews of WWW meetings with visiting writers.
Members, please email email@example.com with your comments, requests, or suggestions.
Be safe. Be strong. Be peace.
Love your writing life!
Kim, Megan, Alisa, Janet, and Irene