Just Write

Personal Essay – Pivotal Event Plus . . .

A personal essay isn’t your life story. It’s a pivotal event. The narrator has an epiphany, or is changed at the end of the story. “Personal essays represent what you think, what you feel . . . your effort to communicate those thoughts and feelings to others . . . What is the point of your essay? Don’t belabor the point too much; let the point grow out of the experience of the essay. It might be true, in fact, that you didn’t even have a point to make when you started writing your essay. Go ahead and write it and see if a point develops.” — The Personal Essay More on personal essay: How to Write a Personal Essay Writing Personal Essays Personal Essay is Memoir in Short Form Still don’t know how to start? Gather your writing implements: Paper, pen, pencil, writing device, choose a writing prompt and…



Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Network By Deb Fenwick It’s new and improved! Try it! Don’t miss this opportunity.  Buy now. No, not goodbye now. But look at this good buy, now! Amazon Prime straight to your door in 24 hours, guaranteed. And, if all goes well, gig workers will deliver your Starbucks just as your DoorDash lunch is arriving. Thank goodness for the bits and bytes that zoom unseen through your Wi-Fi and into a fiber-optic network that traverses the globe. It’s fast. And you are the master of your point-and-click world. Plants have a dynamic unseen life beneath the soil. In late autumn, perennials slowly go into a state of dormancy in response to cold weather and shorter daylight hours. Gradually, leaves and stalks disappear. Life continues underground, and roots go into a potent winter slumber. In spring, in…

Book Reviews

The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year

Reviews of The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year Review by Sande Anfang: The Write Spot founder and writing coach Marlene Cullen has been guiding writers through her Jumpstart workshops. I’ve been lucky to participate in some of them. Marlene’s motto is “Just Write,” as in don’t stop to evaluate what you’ve written during the drafting process—just keep the pen moving until the timer rings. In this collection, she has gathered a wide variety of poetry and short prose pieces from sixteen writers. If there’s a common thread that binds this anthology, it’s a grappling with the surreal nature of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic. Being forced to upend our “normal” lives and adapt to changing threats, both medical and socio-political, has created an opportunity for deep investigation that finds catharsis, much-needed humor, and rich forays into family memories. There are inviting dips into the pool of…

Places to submit


Ploughshares has published quality literature since 1971. “Our award-winning literary journal is published four times a year; our lively literary blog publishes new writing daily. Since 1989, we have been based at Emerson College in downtown Boston.” Submissions accepted from June 1 to January 15, at noon EST for: The Journal Plouoghshares Solos series, featuring longer works of fiction and nonfiction Look2 essay Submission Guidelines


Carry on . . . Prompt #587

Writing Prompt: Carry on. Sometimes a word or a phrase enters my mind and I think “that would be a good prompt.” That’s what happened for today’s prompt. But then I wondered, why did this phrase pop into my head. What have I been thinking about? In the July 2021 issue (page 51), Sonoma County Gazette book reviewer Diane McCurdy compared the genesis of The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year with Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron: “In the 14th century when the plague, the black death, was ravaging through the cities of Italy, a writer and a group of friends fled Florence to the caves above the city and to alleviate boredom in what was one of the first sheltering in place locales, they told stories. Giovanni Boccaccio recorded those stories in what became a classic, The Decameron.” I didn’t know about this, never heard of it….


One Wish Now, or Three In Ten?

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. One Wish Now, or Three In Ten? By Patricia Morris Patricia’s response to the writing prompt: Would you rather have one wish granted today, or three wishes granted ten years from now? Given that my dear friend of forty years died last week after a fast and furious 6-week illness, I will take my one wish today, please. No waiting for ten years for anything anymore. There are no ten years guaranteed, especially when, in ten years, I will be six months shy of 70 years old. That is a shocking thing to write, but that is my reality. Having only one wish, the pressure is on. To make it the “right” wish, the “best” wish, the “greatest good for the greatest number” wish. I could game it. I could make my one wish be to…

Just Write

Using a book as your how-to textbook.

Choose a book you like and in the genre you want to write as your how-to-write manual. For example, Maiden Voyage, a memoir by Tania Aebi: Aebi starts her story on her 37th day at sea, at a point when she is terrified. Rather than give us the back story of how all this began, she starts at a high action point. She describes her immediate situation: Because of strong winds and choppy waves, she hasn’t been able to eat, sleep, relax, or think. We get the sense of imminent danger. And then, to build suspense and tension, she reveals, “The weather can only get worse.” We hear a little about her emotional and mental state. She wants to go home to her family. ALL this, on the first page. Still on page 1, we get a “visual” – seeing her as she gets into her foul weather gear. There…


The Bigger Picture … Life is more than me.

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. The Bigger Picture . . . Life is more than me. By Christine Liles What I’m about to say is my own opinion and my personal thoughts about Life. I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way or believe the way I do. I’ve experienced quite a bit in my life that’s led me to feel the way I do. Life is magical. It’s mysterious and unpredictable but also glorious and such a gift. I will say that I do believe in God. I believe we are all here for a reason.  To me, Life is like a chain of reactions. Think of your life. Think of everyone you currently know, everyone who has seen you do something, and everyone who you’ve come in contact with by doing a kind gesture or even a fender…