Forget the NaNo

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

“So what does that have to do with me?” you ask. “I write poetry/essays/greeting cards/short stories/fortune cookies/memoir/cookbooks/etc.”

Point well taken. But you are a writer, correct? And people all around the world are gearing up to engage in a massive frenzy of writing, creating all sorts of activities and events and infrastructure to support the work of writing for 30 whole days.

So drop the novel bit. Drop the national bit, too. Let November be your WriMo, your Writing Month. Write whatever you want. Write something different every day, if you want. Be part of that river of creativity that is about to be unleashed.

Just write.


Now that the weather here seems to have settled into an unmistakably summer pattern, it’s easy to lose energy and momentum. I don’t know about you, but the heat just saps all my energy, mental as well as physical. So I was quite happy when a post from Carol Tice (of Make a Living Writing) popped up in my reader with the subtitle, “18 Ways to Jump-Start Your Creativity.”


No matter what kind of writing you do or where in the process you are, something on this list is certain to breath a little fresh air into your work. Number 11 (Collect and compare styles) and Number 15 (Copy and substitute) appealed to me right away, as I’ve been trying to do more reading of late.

Whichever of these suggestions might speak to you, don’t be afraid to modify them to meet your goals or needs – after all, getting creative with the list is a perfect way to jump-start your creativity.

Fifteen days of Lexington Poetry Month have passed; fifteen days remain. That’s plenty of time to take part in wonderful poetry events happening all over town this month and even write some poetry of your own.

To give yourself a leg up, try this: make a list of five things you’ve seen in the past 24 hours. Write a poem (or short story, book chapter, flash, whatever) that includes each of those five things. (Derived from a prompt posted by Bianca Spriggs on the Accents Publishing Blog.)

Happy writing!


Doris Settles and co-author Dixie Hibbs (the first woman inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame) have written Prohibition in Bardstown, KY: Bourbon, Bootlegging and Saloons which came out May 2 from History Press. First-person stories collected a quarter-century ago, legend, recipes and more abound in this fun, provocative book. Learn both the intended results and the unintended consequences of the temperance movement, which had been around since the birth of this country. This is the story of America’s only native spirit: Bourbon–and it’s afficianados, as well as its detractors from the ancient days of distilling in Babylon to the current Bourbon Craft resurgence we are experiencing today.

Doris and Dixie have copies to sell, and books are available from Amazon, Joseph-Beth, Morris, and local gift shops!

Today marks the end of the fourth week of NaPoWriMo – only two days left! Once again, the good folks at The Poet’s Billow have provided a quick and easy exercise that works equally well for prose and poetry.

With eyes closed, open the dictionary at random and place your finger on the page. Write about the origin of whatever it is that your finger landed on. (This would probably work with almost any book, but the dictionary also provides some reference information to help you along.)

Happy writing!

We’re just a shade over two-thirds of the way through NaPoWriMo and heading into week four. Today features another excellent exercise borrowed from The Poet’s Billow, a variation on found poetry.

Choose 4 or 5 books – the more they differ in subject or format, the more interesting the exercise. Open to a random page and write down the first line that catches your eye. Repeat 10 times. Construct a poem or prose piece using these 10 lines.

For something quick, use each as the first line of a paragraph or stanza. If you’re into longer forms, begin a new chapter or section with each line.

Today marks the second week of NaPoWriMo, just one day shy of the half-way mark. Regardless of what we write, it’s important to do something a little different now and then to keep our brains limber.

The good folks over at The Poet’s Billow offered a creative reading/listening exercise the other day that fits the bill nicely. The idea is to read/listen to something in a language you don’t understand and then write what you think you see/hear. Google something with the translation option turned off, or check out the global poetry listing at Poetry International Rotterdam. For something less mundane, have a look at this blog written entirely in Klingon. (Although some poetry has been both written in and translated into Klingon, I was sadly unable to find any recordings of literary readings in the language.)

Happy literal transcribing!