Thursday, November 23, 2017

2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I’m thankful for so much. As far as this challenge goes, we can write a poem and be a mere week from completing the poeming portion of it. Hurrah!

For today’s prompt, write a preface poem. A preface is a super literary term as the term typically relates to books–usually as the opening statement or introductory remarks of a book. So I’m mildly surprised I haven’t used this prompt previously. However, I think it’s perfect for the chapbook challenge, because poets who are writing to a theme have an opportunity to write a poetic preface. Of course, stand alone preface poems are just as interesting.

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works.

Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Preface Poem:

“let me”

let me preface this by saying
there was a man who called
& only said he was the viper
before hanging up on me

& then he called again to say
he was on his way over &
bringing all his tools with him
& that he was down the street

& then he called again to let
me know it was him the viper
& he was outside my house
before ringing my door bell

so yes i was on edge & ready
for anything when i opened
the door except for what i saw

an elderly man with a squeegee
who said i am the viper & i am
here to vipe your vindows

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He is thankful for his family, his health, his poetry, and his sense of humor. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

The post 2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-23

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Day;” replace the blank with a word or phrase; make the new phrase the title of your poem; and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “Happy Day,” “Sunny Day,” “Thanksgiving Day,” and “Happy Birthday.”

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works.

Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Blank Day Poem:

“lazy day”

wake up
to lay in bed
& think about getting up
knowing that there is no rush
& maybe i’ll do something but
maybe not

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He loves getting things done, but he also appreciates the rare lazy day.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

The post 2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-22

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Develop Daily Writing Resilience to Succeed

“Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.”—Jessamyn West

The dead aren’t supposed to walk among us, but they do. I’ve seen them—writers frazzled from publishing’s frenetic pace, spirits dead from unfulfilled and stressful career demands—empty shells, comatose like zombies moving among the living. I was one of them, too.

In the still lonely hours before dawn, I plopped into the armchair, elbows digging into the knees of my ripped jeans. I dropped my head into my hands, grabbed a fistful of hair, and growled. After finishing my second murder mystery—my best work yet, or so I thought—the publisher informed me that the plot had a hole big enough to fly a 747 through. Rewrite after rewrite, confusion and frustration mired me. I wailed at the clock and shook my fist at the heavens. Distraught, I didn’t know what else to do but give up.

Dry-well syndrome.

That wasn’t my first book. I was actually a veteran writer with thirty-five nonfiction and fiction books and numerous magazine articles under my belt. I decided to put the manuscript aside to provide an incubation period for my creative juices, and I enrolled in a workshop led by a literary agent at the Annual Killer Nashville Conference. She spoke on the eight top qualities for successful writing. Guess what she listed at the top? I was flabbergasted when she said, “The number one key to writing success—even more important than good writing—is perseverance, dogged determination in the face of disappointment.” I was even more flabbergasted when I realized that there are tons of books on writing craft but practically nothing on the craft of perseverance and resilience.

That’s when I decided to change strategies in order to reclaim my creative mojo. I wrote a synopsis for the first daily meditation book exclusively for writers: Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers (Llwellyn Worldwide, 2018). Writing the book restocked my writing reservoir, energized and emboldened me. After finishing Daily Writing Resilience, I went back to my murder mystery, sat down, and finished the novel, Bloody Bones, ending up with a second book to boot.

Someone will tell us no every step of the way on our writing journey. Craft alone won’t carry us through the meteoric writing hurdles—setbacks so great it can feel as if we’re pushing through relentless steel, a vein of encased ore: an impossible deadline, heartbreaking rejection, agonizing writer’s block, a lousy review, sounds of crickets at book signings, or the rumble of our own self-doubt. Statistics show that more of us have the stamina to continue to take safety risks after a car crash than to continue after a series of psychological defeats.

Only the diligent survive the writing business. A-list writers work long and hard and face tumultuous ups-and-downs before the taste of success. After repeated failure, many less fortunate scribes fall into the what-the-hell-effect—a way out and permission to give up, throwing in the towel so they don’t have to keep feeling the pangs of disappointment. Adding insult to injury, they seek comfort in the very thing they’re trying to conquer: writing failure. But running from writing challenges to bring quick relief to the misery of defeat, robs us of knowing what missed opportunities lay beyond the barriers.

Growth as a writer is painful, but if you have ink in your blood and want to bloom, it’s even more painful to stay safe in a tight bud. We often hear the refrain that in order to be a successful writer, we must write everyday. Although I agree, it’s not simply the act of writing but the mindset with which we write that determines our degree of success. Some writers are more successful than others because they have what is known as a growth mindset, basically a winning frame of mind. They never give up and view obstacles, disappointments, and setbacks as opportunities to grow without avoiding or caving into them. They ask not how their writing life is treating them; they ask how they are treating their writing life.

Resilient writers think of success and rejection as a package deal: If we want to accept writing success when it comes, we must be willing to accept writing defeat when it happens. And that doesn’t mean forfeiting our craft. Resilient writers cultivate the mindset that writing disappointments happen for us, instead of to us. They make it a goal to welcome writing setbacks, no matter how painful, frustrating, big or small—as lessons from which to learn. They ask, “What can I manage or overcome here?” or “How can I turn this matter around to my advantage?

The findings of neuroscientists provide consolation. Just as grass grows through concrete, they report that a resilient zone exists inside each of us. Once we find and live from that place on a daily basis, we discover that the power within is greater than the challenges before us. We cultivate creative sustainability like an elastic band that bends and stretches to a point before springing back higher than we fall. We face defeats by taking the towel we want to throw in and use it to wipe the sweat off our face then hop back into the saddle of writing.

Over time, we grow thick skin, resilient to the rejections and letdowns that are sure to come. For inspiration, resilient writers look up to our accomplished predecessors on whose shoulders we stand—successful writers who stared writing obstacles in the eye and kept on going. When the nail on the wall would no longer support the weight of his rejection slips, Stephen King replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing. Thriller writer, Steve Berry, rose to acclaim following twelve years and eighty-five rejections. After ten years and a box full of rejection letters, Janet Evanovich took the container to the curb and set it on fire. These are just a few examples of well-known stress hardy writers.

The growth mindset exists among many of the greats in a variety of fields. Billie Jean King had it with tennis. Michael Phelps had it with swimming. Meryl Streep had it with acting. A famous quote by baseball great, Babe Ruth, arguably one of the best ballplayers of all time, reflected a resilient attitude: “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” We can employ Ruth’s wisdom in our writing pursuits and tell ourselves that rejection and failure bring us closer to our writing dreams.

So let’s stop throwing the book at ourselves and throw ourselves at the book. After a letdown or discouraging obstacle, we bounce back quicker when we support ourselves with loving-kindness and compassionate pep talks. Instead of kicking yourself when you’re down, be on your own side, wish yourself well, and be your best advocate as you progress on your writing journey. Never give up, pen with a growth mindset, and you’re more likely to stumble into the literary dreams of a lifetime.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., is author, psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has authored thirty nonfiction books including such popular self-improvement books as: The Art of Confident Living (HCI Books, 2009), Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians who Treat Them (New York University Press, 2007), Don’t Let Your Mind Stunt Your Growth (New Harbinger Press, 2000), Overdoing It: How to Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself (HCI Books, 1992), and Heal Your Self-Esteem (HCI Books, 1991). His latest book, The Smart Guide to Managing Stress, was released in April, 2012.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

 

 

 

The post Develop Daily Writing Resilience to Succeed appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/guest-columns/writing-resilience-successful-writing-career

2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21

It’s time for our third Two-for-Tuesday prompt. If you’re new to these challenges, you can pick either one prompt or the other. Or decide to do both. Your choice.

For today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompt:

  1. Write a construction poem. Construction paper, construction hats, and so on.
  2. Write a deconstruction poem. Opposite of construction poem.

Let’s do this!

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works.

Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Construction and/or Deconstruction Poem:

“& on & on”

she builds a tower
& he knocks it down

because he built a tower
& she knocked it down

because she told a joke
& he didn’t laugh

because she failed to laugh
at his funny joke

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He has 5 kids who have all built block towers, knocked them down, and repeated.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

The post 2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-21

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Literary Agent Alert: Rachel Horowitz of The Bent Agency

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Rachel Horowitz of The Bent Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

About Rachel: Rachel Horowitz joins The Bent Agency as a literary agent, specializing in both children’s and commercial adult fiction. She has spent nearly two decades in publishing, as Director of Rights at Scholastic; in domestic rights at Doubleday; and most recently as a children’s literary scout at Maria B. Campbell Associates.

I’ll be representing authors who write thoughtful and entertaining commercial fiction—they may reference weighty issues like female empowerment, body image, family dynamics and race relations, but my authors will make you laugh out loud. If there’s one identifying feature for my nascent list, it’s authentic, universal voices that mix pathos with humor—to borrow from Robert Harding’s Steel Magnolias, “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

She is Seeking: I’m looking for humorous middle grade, and contemporary YA. I plan to represent some commercial adult fiction, most likely an adult story with a teen protagonist; I’d love to find an Age of Miracles or Glass Castle, stories that are captivating to teens but can also engage an adult reader. I’m not looking for picture books or literary adult fiction.

How to Query: Submissions can be sent to horowitzqueries@thebentagency.com.


The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

 

 

 

 

The post New Literary Agent Alert: Rachel Horowitz of The Bent Agency appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/young-adult-literary-agents/new-literary-agent-alert-rachel-horowitz-bent-agency

2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

Suddenly, we’re two-thirds of the way through this month and challenge. For those of us still poeming, let’s rock these final 10 days!

For today’s prompt, write a “what I learned” poem. Funny thing about being human is that we’re constantly learning, whether the lessons are being taught in school, on the streets, or even in grocery store checkout lanes. This poem should focus on something learned, regardless of the arena.

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works.

Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a What I Learned Poem:

“lesson”

two people with joy
can fill one person
with a deep sorrow

she will cry until
she has no more tears
or her own joyful

person to be with

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He is constantly learning new things and re-learning old things, often through the eyes of his children.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

The post 2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-20

Sunday, November 19, 2017

2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

For today’s prompt, write an abundant poem. There are so many instances of abundance in the world: Abundant sunshine; abundant happiness; abundant evil; and in November, abundant poetry!

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works.

Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at an Abundant Poem:

“forgiveness”

& i try
because i feel
i may need it some day

abundant forgiveness
for the sins
i’ve done intentionally

& unintentionally
for the hurt that spreads
like a cancer

that will eat until
there’s nothing left
to blame

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He believes in forgiveness and moving forward.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

The post 2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.


from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-19