Guest Bloggers

Is it Safe to Post Your Work on Critique Sites? Helen Sedwick

Guest post by Helen Sedwick Every writer knows the challenge of finding readers willing to critique our works-in-progress. We beg, barter, and guilt loved ones into reviewing just one more draft. But there’s an easier and faster way to get a fresh pair of eyes to look at your work; online critique sites such as Scribophile, Writer’s Café, and Critique Circle. Some of these sites operate on a credit system; you earn credits by giving critiques and spend credits by posting your work for feedback. Others use an honor system. Some, such as Inked Voices, set up cloud-based, on-going groups. In my experience, these online communities are incredibly helpful and supportive. But many writers worry about posting their work online. Will they lose their copyright? Will someone steal their work? Good questions and an opportunity to explain what to look for when giving anyone rights to use or display your…


Things that are meaningful to you . . . Prompt #136

Write whatever comes up for you. No judging, no criticizing yourself! Have fun with this prompt! Let yourself go. Be silly. Be creative. Be humorous. Be serious. Just write! Make a list of things that are meaningful to you, starting with the letter “A” . . . then go through the alphabet to the letter z. Write one sentence, or a few words, why this is meaningful to you. For example: A –   A deck of cards – playing gin rummy and hearts B – Balloon game in the old living room C – Crafts – glitter glue, making things with the kids continue to the end of the alphabet W – Wizard puppet X – X-rays that saved my life Y – “Y” always reminds of  watching the Micky Mouse Club. “Why? Because we like you!” Z – Zebra in orthodontist’s office ~ Now you have a list of…

Just Write

Failure is necessary to find “wondrous and magical moments”

“A rough draft is inherently an experiment, or, rather, a series of experiments. each novel, each piece of writing, is a new thing with different possibilities that demand to be explored. Many of these experiments will fail, but failure is necessary to find those wondrous and magical moments of success.” — “More Ideas Faster, Writing With Abandon” by Grant Faulkner, Jan/Feb 215 Poets & Writers magazine. Grant Faulkner is: Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month, co-founder of 100 Word Story, writer, tap dancer, alchemist, contortionist, numbskull, preacher. Click here to read more about Grant Faulkner. Note from Marlene: Click here for ideas of what to write about. Choose a writing prompt, set your timer for 12-15 minutes and Just Write!

Places to submit

The Bohemian’s Challenge

The Bohemian invites you to “Step Up to the Mic.” The Bohemian is “an award-winning alternative newsweekly serving Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties [in Northern California].” However, you don’t have to live in Northern California for this challenge. The Bohemian wants to hear from you! From The Editors: “Ah, the Open Mic. This is the one space in the paper, besides the letters section, where we don’t just want your input—we rely on your input. It’s a space we leave open and free to all comers, where a fiery and well-turned argument will always find a home. Please don’t take this as a threat, but—you really do not want the Bohemian staff to start filling the Open Mic with half-baked opinions about everything and everything.” Click here to read the challenge from the editors in its entirety. The Bohemian wants to “hear from our readers—all of our readers—who have an…


Special object to give. Prompt #134

Walk through your house, apartment, garage, barn . . . look at your knick-knacks, trinkets, souvenirs, keepsakes, treasures. . . pick one item to pass on to someone, perhaps a grandchild, or great-grandchild, or a beloved friend. Write about a special object you want to give to someone in the future. You can respond to this prompt as your fictional character would respond, or write as if you are going to give this item to someone.      


Roseanne Cash—feeling alive when immersed in her work

” . . . [my] profession, like anyone’s, requires constant innovation if it is to remain fresh. I feel alive when I’m immersed in my work—when I’m fully employed, as Leonard Cohen says, as a songwriter, ‘You have to keep cracking yourself open or you become a parody of yourself. ‘” —Roseanne Cash in an interview by Geoffrey Himes, “The Long Way Home, Smithsonian, November 2014 Note from Marlene: How about you? What keeps you immersed in your work? If your writing has hit the doldrums, how about mixing it up? If you usually write memoir, try fiction. If you are a fiction writer, try poetry.   If you want ideas for freewrites, click here for writing prompts.