Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Little Talks

It's a little blog about little opportunities to write just a little bit.
The world of Flash Fiction is exploding and giving way to shorter mediums.  Some may pooh-pooh the abbreviated works, but I think it's a wonderful way to exercise your writing chops.  Below find brief descriptions and links to some unique opportunities to publish it...just a little bit.  (Corny reference to a 90's dance song, I know. :-)

Join Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a host of other cronies to draw a little picture, write a few words, and post/record your creation.  Also check out The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, where they collected the best of the best and published them.

Six-Word Memoirs 

You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard about Hemingway's baby shoes tale or the magazine that turned stringing together six brilliant words into a genre.  Smith Magazine provides prompts and encourages a community to participate in developing six-word narratives and memoirs.

Three-Minute Fiction

In three minutes or less, what can you do?  NPR hosts a contest that recognizes a fair amount of folks.  Follow the prompt and your small story (read under three minutes) may end up on the radio or the website.  Their FB page also offers an interesting community of authors who give kudos and critiques. 


This monthly literary magazine finds its home on a postcard, containing only 150 words or less.  The competition is steep, but the medium is pretty innovative.

Safety Pin Review

Speaking of innovative mediums, how about someone wearing your story on a patch on their back?  I love this idea and tried it with my creative writing class.  Stories should be compelling and distracting.  Why not send them out into the world to grab unsuspecting victims, maybe even those who don't like to read!?

One Sentence

"True stories, told in one sentence."  Pick the most interesting moment in your life and describe is so the reader believes it's that important, too!

There are a slew of other little opportunities out there.  Feel free to add your own finds as a comment.  Most importantly, write write write!

Friday, July 12, 2013

For the Love of the Sport

Except I am miserable at sports.  (Those of you who shared in the torture of high school gym with me can probably attest to this fact.)  So perhaps for the love of the game might have been a more appropriate title for this blog entry.  And for me the game has always been and will always be writing.

And after years of one foot in and one foot out, I'm making changes to put more energy into my writing career because without its presence in my life, everything else falls a little flat.  Of course this renewed dedication comes at a cost.  Laundry will take longer to get done or may walk itself into the washer on its own.  (Matthew's tennis socks, I'm speaking directly to you!)  And of course don't forget Mother's Guilt.  Yes my children will only be young once (read Leah Ferguson's sublime blog post about letting children go here), but then again I only get to be young once, too!  Or the fear of failure, a tremendous black shadow that literally climbs into my lungs and chokes me until I shut down the laptop, because I don't just want to write anything.  I want to write good things.  Meaningful things.  I recognize the buzz I feel in the pit of my stomach when I read an incredible line.  I tell folks about it.  I copy it in the corner of a planner or journal to savor because my life changes with the words.  There is an infinitesimal but important shift in my brain. All because an author wrote something good.

And to move forward in this dream that started when I wrote "The Cat and the Quilt" in first grade, I need a game plan.

Step One: Apply to several strong MFA programs.  (One has already written back, so no matter what I'm going somewhere. :-)

Step Two: Write more deeply.  I want to be a better writer.  I want to learn the craft as well as I humanly can, and to do this, I have to push myself out of the genres I tend to live in.  Explore new territories.  Read more variety.  Stretch myself.

Step Three: Advertise.  Not self-advertise so much, but if I announce my intentions to the big wide world, they have to happen, right?

Step Four: Take advantage of mentors.  I know so many phenomenal writers and professionals who often offer help, but there's always a reason I say no.  I'm busy.  I'm scared my work won't measure up.  I'm intimidated.  Nope, no more.

Step Five: Remember the endgame.  I write to write to write.  I do not write because I think I'll be the next JK Rowling or plan to see my face on a poster at B and N.  (I'm not saying those things wouldn't be cool. :-)  But the writing should always be the focus.  Often at writing conferences folks are hung up on social media, marketing, and self-publishing without a solid piece of writing or desire to learn the craft.  

Step Six: ENJOY.  I get to live a writer's life, along with my other insanely fun careers (teacher, wife, and mother).  Being a writer makes all my other jobs that much richer, and I'm thrilled that I discovered it in my life so long ago.