“Not only is it OK to risk failure; it’s necessary.” Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, believes “We need to live with the fear that we will stink, that no one will pay any attention, that we will fall like trees in an empty forest: the fear that we are going to take our glorious, flawless, nebulous ideas and butcher them on the altar of reality.” “Not only is it OK to risk failure; it’s necessary.” Marlene’s Musings: Feel better now? If a Pulitzer Prize winner can think it’s okay . . . no, it’s necessary to fail. . . then let’s all fail. No worries about your writing. . . Go for it. Just Write! Quote from “Costume Drama,” Real Simple magazine, October 2014.

Just Write

Every day I fail.

“I’m a novelist. Every day I fail. My drafts — when I complete them, which is not often —are inevitably shadows of what I had hoped they would be.” — Anthony Doerr Sound familiar? Writers often experience failure. . . whether it’s receiving rejection notices or failing to complete writing projects. But . . . to not try, really, is to fail. So, if you have unfinished short stories, plays, poems, manuscripts. . . dig them out, blow off the dust and see if you can get back into this project. If not. . . move on to a new piece of writing. Anthony Doerr was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. And yet, he has doubts about his writing, just like the rest of us. “I can’t ever fully execute the glorious and inarticulable dreams in my head. Even on my best days, I just manage to cobble…

Places to submit

Why should you submit to literary journals?

Why should you submit to literary journals? June 2015 issue of The Writer magazine answers: “Even though many don’t offer payment, literary journals are a great way to get your writing’s foot in the editor’s door. Some writers may overlook smaller publications to concentrate on bigger projects, but doing so could be a mistake. Whether you’re looking to apply to an MFA program or want to build your publishing portfolio, publication in a literary magazine or journal can be a useful first step toward your dream career.” For the next few Saturdays, I’ll post information about literary journals as places you can submit your writing. I welcome your comments and suggestions. ~Marlene


Tweak, form, shape and sculpt . . . Prompt #161

Choose one topic from below, these are prompts that have recently been posted here on the Write Spot Blog: Prompt #158: If pets could talk Prompt #159: Unforgettable Also Prompt #159:  Strange But True Prompt #160: Only in America Also Prompt #160:  Happy Endings Today’s writing prompt:  After you have written a freewrite (from above list), write one line for every four sentences from that freewrite. Take out all unnecessary words. Condense or distill your writing to the most important aspects. Tweak, form, shape and sculpt until you have a poem.  Then . . . Submit to The Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest. No fee to enter. You don’t have to be a resident of Lincoln to submit.  Send by July 25, 2o14  Go for it!    

Guest Bloggers

Suffering from a creativity dry spell? Look to your nighttime dreams.

Guest Blogger Susan Audrey writes: I didn’t begin paying attention to my nighttime dreams until my dreamscapes started showing up in my waking life. The first instance was fairly benign: I dreamt of a man with dark hair, wearing a white, button-down shirt, standing to my right and talking on a pay phone (yes, this was awhile ago). And the next morning, after I dropped my kids off at daycare, I saw this exact scene: the same man, same hair, shirt, and pay phone. This really got my attention! I found out later that these are called precognitive or premonition dreams –– they show you the future. I wasn’t sure why this was happening at this time in my life. I was in my thirties and a single mom of two grade schoolers. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that our nighttime dreams are more abundant and more…


Inside myself is a place where . . .

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up. — Pearl S. Buck Marlene’s Musings:  And that’s where writers come alive. . . from your imagination, you spin tales that inform, entertain, enhance and make life enjoyable. Keep writing! Something I just learned: Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu, was an American writer and novelist. As the daughter of missionaries, Buck spent most of her life before 1934 in China. Thanks, Wikipedia!        

Just Write

What is a freewrite and what is a writing prompt?

So. . . what is all this talk about freewrites and writing prompts? What does it all mean? A freewrite is a style of writing that is . . . well. . . freeing. The writer hears or reads a word, or a phrase, and just starts writing. Often a timer is set, so there is the “under the gun” feel of a deadline, a limited time to write. Click here for more information about freewrites. I post writing prompts writing prompts, on The Write Spot Blog. Sometimes the writing prompts are fun and playful. Sometimes they inspire memoir type writing. Other times they work well for fiction writing. Mostly the prompts are what you make of them. . . you can go light and stay on the surface, skating on the edge, or you can go deep. This type of writing is an opportunity to explore and perhaps come…