Just Write

Freewrites: Opening Doors to Discoveries

Notes from Marlene Cullen’s talk about freewrites. Scroll down for links about how to use freewrites and how to write about difficult subjects without adding trauma. I gave a talk about freewrites at the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club. I’m sharing my notes so you, too, can enjoy the freewrite method of writing. I love freewrites because they are so . . . freeing. Freewrites can open doors to discoveries. I was thrilled to discover freewrites, unlike short story and novel writing, this was something I could do. I hope these tips help make your freewrites fun and successful in inspiring your writing.  What is a freewrite? A freewrite is writing spontaneously with no thinking. Just putting down word after word, with no worries about spelling, punctuation, how it will sound, and no worries about the final product. Sometimes when you are engrossed in your writing project and…

Places to submit

What do Contest Judges Look for?

Recently I was one of three judges for a writing contest. We didn’t agree during the first round of reading on the winners. It took re-reading and much discussion to select the three winners. So that got me to thinking. What do contest judges look for when choosing winning entries? My fellow judges and I came up with: Make sure to follow the guidelines. They aren’t arbitrary. The guidelines are specific for a reason. Make sure to follow the criteria of what genre the contest is. Don’t submit memoir if the contest is fiction. Even though the judges may not be able to tell for sure if something is fiction or memoir . . . if it feels like memoir, it probably is. And that won’t work in a fiction contest. The winning entries that stood out excelled in creative writing and well-crafted stories. The writing and stories were compelling,…

Places to submit

Prompt Contest: A Picture is worth . . .

A picture is worth . . . you know. . .  lotsa words. Redwood Writers, a Branch of the California Writers Club, is sponsoring The 2016 Prompt Contest. Write a fictional story inspired by this “Highway through the Redwoods” photo by Tim May. The connection between the story and the photo must be apparent to the judges. The words “redwood” and “highway” must be somewhere in the story. DUE DATE:  October 16, 9:00 p.m. Fiction only. Contest submissions are open to all California Writers Club members and to non-member residents of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Marin, Lake, Humboldt and Solano counties. $8 for California Writers Club members; $12 for non-members 1,000 words or less 1st place:  $100, a certificate  suitable for framing, and a signed photo by Tim May 2nd place: $50 and a certificate suitable for framing 3rd place:  $25 and a certificate suitable for framing

Places to submit

Redwood Writers, a branch of oldest writers’ organization . . .

Redwood Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club (CWC), has ongoing writing contests. Click Redwood Writers Contests to read about the current contest. “Whether you’re a traditionally published author or ‘just always wanted to write,’ there’s a place for you at CWC Redwood Branch.” CWC is one of the oldest writers’ organizations in the nation. Members are poets, journalists, essayists, technical writers, and creators of genre and literary fiction, as well as editors, booksellers, and others involved in related fields. There are branches throughout California. Click California Writers Club to find a branch near you. To enter a Redwood Writers branch contest, you must be a member. California residence is not required to be a member. Click Redwood Writers Membership for member information. Submit! You never know. . . the next contest winner could be you!

Just Write

How do you handle rejection?

First, don’t take rejection personally. When you submit your writing for inclusion in an anthology, magazine. . . to an editor, publisher, agent. . . and you receive a “no, thanks” letter, or worse, you never hear back . . . don’t take it personally. It may or may not be the quality of writing, but it’s definitely not a rejection of you personally. My Submission Philosophy You won’t receive rejection notices unless you submit your writing. And if you submit your writing . . . you will probably receive a rejection note, or two, or more. Welcome to The Club I wrote a story about pesky gophers around 2007. Shopped it around. Submitted to a little contest. Won second place. I was thrilled. But really, this was a miniscule contest. Probably two entries. So I shopped it some more. Got accepted. But the editor said since it was seasonal,…

Places to submit

Redwood Writers Anthology Accepting Submissions

It’s a good idea to always have something ready to submit. You never know when a call for submission might be a perfect fit for your writing. Redwood Writers Anthology is open for submissions. . . deadline extended to April 1, 2014. Submission Guidelines   Members of Redwood Writers may submit up to two pieces in any genre, including short story, memoir, essay, flash fiction or poetry. You need to be a Redwood Writers Member to submit. Email your submissions to: anthology@redwoodwriters.org. Redwood Writers is a branch of the California Writers Club.

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Marie Judson-Rosier writes about Fantasy Fiction as an Ancient Way of Mythmaking.

Guest Blogger Marie Judson-Rosier writes about Fantasy Fiction as an Ancient Way of Mythmaking. Clarissa Pinkola Estes invites our voices: “We have a reason for being. Blow away the over-culture that says we weren’t longed for,” (heard at a Mysterium workshop with Dr. Estes). Many of us do not think our words are awaited or even welcome. We have to deconstruct messages we absorbed subliminally through our early lives just to allow ourselves to be creative. There’s an invisible hand at our ankle, holding us back. One of the most common blocks to taking our writer selves seriously is our need to extricate ourselves from a sense of judgment, believing that our contribution is not worthwhile. The doubt of our personal voice runs deep. Many if not most of us are acculturated to believe that true authority lies with someone else. Yet we crave creative expression. We owe it to…