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I suspect this is the most frequently unasked question for visitors to this site.

A recent blog post by Erica Goss (https://ericagoss.com/2019/02/25/writing-at-a-non-writers-retreat/) describes beautifully what goes on at our monthly write-ins. Granted, we’re not at a lovely beachside house, but we are in a quiet, well-lit space set aside for us. We don’t do guided meditation, but the opportunity does exist for limited sharing and conversation.

Write-ins are a way to support each other in the most solitary aspect of our craft: the actual work of writing. Seeing another person writing can inspire us to write ourselves, and writing in the same space with others generates a kind of creative energy. Like parallel play in children, our loose awareness of what the others are doing helps us focus on our own work.

Think of a write-in as a micro-retreat, a brief period of withdrawal to cultivate the writing part of your life. If this interests you, check the schedule at the top of the page and join us.

 

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leaves of grassFrom the Brooklyn Poets web site:

To celebrate the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth on May 31, 2019, Brooklyn Poets invites you to submit a poem to our Whitman Bicentennial Poetry Contest in response to the bard’s indelible question from “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”: “What is it then between us?” Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang, Mark Doty and Rowan Ricardo Phillips will judge the contest, selecting three winners from three different age brackets: 13–17, 18–22, and 23+. First prize in each bracket will win $250; second prize $100; third prize $50. Entering the contest is free. Please submit one previously unpublished poem only. The winners and judges will read at our bicentennial celebration on May 31 and have their poems published in a commemorative chapbook.

http://brooklynpoets.org/events/whitman-bicentennial/

Read Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” here:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45470/crossing-brooklyn-ferry

“Call me Ishmael.”
– Herman Melville,
Moby Dick

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
– Charles Dickens,
A Tale of Two Cities

Here we have two of the most famous literary first lines in the English language (and quite possibly both the shortest and longest). First lines are first impressions, and we’ve all heard that a great first line is the best way to hook readers. But a first line can also do more, as Ginger Rue points out in this post at Smack Dab in the Middle, about one of the best first lines that most people have never read but will immediately recognize.

That brings us to the point that a well-crafted first line can reach beyond the readers to connect with the wider culture. A great many people who’ve never read either Moby Dick or A Tale of Two Cities can identify those opening lines. So when you’re working on your first lines, don’t just think about how they can engage the audience; think also about how they can project what – or who – the story is truly about.

blurred book book pages literature

Photo by Caio Resende on Pexels.com

New calendar

janus

Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, was depicted with two opposing faces because he both looked back over what had transpired and forward to what was to come.

Think back over the past year of writing. What can you count as successes? They may be as small as discovering a pen you really like to use or as huge as seeing your work in publication. Forming a consistent reading habit, finding a new writing group, starting a blog, clearing off your desk — all of these are successes.

Which successes do you want to build on in the year to come? What new things would you like to explore? Be sure to include both big things (such as taking a class) and little things (such as finding a notebook to go with that pen).

Celebrate the ways you have matured as a writer throughout the past year, and allow that momentum propel you into the next!

leaf 10oct17

(Not this one. This is an old leaf.)

With the year winding down and new calendars waiting in the wings, it’s a good time for dreaming about where we want to go with our writing next year. Regardless of whether that dreaming leads to concrete milestones or wish lists, it signals our intent, to our selves and anyone else who may be paying attention.

In a blog post at Smack Dab in the Middle, Claudia Mills describes the gift she most wants for the coming year: the gift of taking on new challenges. She then outlines six (yes, six!) new things she wants to tackle in 2019.

The gift of taking on new challenges is also one she wants to give to her fellow authors. I’ve decided my first new challenge is to determine what unfamiliar territory I would like to cover as a writer during the coming year.

So now I pass the gift along to you:

What new challenges do you want to face in your writing life this year?

http://smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-gift-of-welcoming-new-by-claudia.html

We’ve reached the halfway point of November and NaNoWriMo. How is your writing going?

Maybe you’ve fallen off the pace or missed several days of writing or just never got it together. That’s okay. You could decide to start right now. And when people ask what you did in 2018, you could answer, “I started my novel/short story/memoir/poetry collection/non-fiction book.” It’s really that easy.

If the thought of writing 50K gives you the willies, set a goal that works for you: 50 words, 50 pages, 50 minutes, 50 hours. You can even sign up at NaNoWriMo with your custom goal. Because every writer deserves support and encouragement — and heaven knows we all need it.

To that end, check out this blog post by Geoff Le Pard with some lovely pictures and ideas that may inspire or comfort or just plain make you smile. Enjoy!
https://geofflepard.com/2018/11/07/nano-what-to-do-about-that-urge-nanowrimo-writing/

And then get to work. NaNoWriMo is not about winning; it’s about seizing the opportunity to write.

What is it about autumn that seems to energize the writing community? Maybe it’s the break in summer temperatures; maybe it’s the changing foliage or receding light; maybe it’s the general back-to-school vibe (here in the northern hemisphere). Whatever the reason, there are lots of opportunities to get your writing into gear.

fall 2018 catalog coverLocally, the Carnegie Center has an entire catalog of classes, workshops, readings, and other events to stimulate those creative juices. You can get more information and  register at their web site: http://carnegiecenterlex.org/.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville, NC, is offering several one-day intensive workshops this fall on poetry, voice, creative non-fiction, memoir, and publishing. Details and registration can be found at https://www.twwoa.org/workshops.html.

 

nanowrimo shieldLast but not least, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and Lexington has a very active and engaged Wrimo community. Check out their calendar of events and other connections at https://nanowrimo.org/regions/usa-kentucky-lexington.