• April is National Poetry Month!

    Prose writers can click here to find one way to honor their poetry fellows. See what Pacific Northwest poets are doing in April here.
  • I’m a writer, too!

    On 12.01.09, I estimated that I had about 32,000 words left to write to complete my first draft of the opening book in my paranormal mystery series, THE LOST & FOUND.

    Here's my progress updated 2.12.10:

    33% of 32,000 (10,648 wds)
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Registration Open! “Back to School, Back to Writing” Online Class

WRAIN 100: Back to School, Back to Writing (especially for writing parents!) Sign up here
Level:
new to intermediate
Duration: Four Weeks of Generative Writing for writers returning to writing after an absence
Format: Online/NonInteractive
Dates: September 9 through 30 (Wed)
Description: In this four-week online workshop, you’ll use your time generating new work and learning strategies for balancing home and work life with the writing life you want. Participants are expected to submit 2-3 new drafts (a total of 3,000 words) for review over the course of this workshop and will receive weekly prompts to get them started. You will submit these drafts to me, and I will give you feedback on what works, what could be improved, and what questions might linger. My aim is to nurture your writing practice through generative assignments so that it becomes comfortably integrated into your life.
                This class is appropriate for writers who are interested in starting a creative writing practice or who have not written in a long time, but want to get back to it. My specific focus will be on the needs of writing parents who are either caregiving or working full-time (or both). Handouts will cover time management strategies and confidence building. This class is limited to 8 members and will meet with me through a private platform online. There is an orientation period so that participants can familiarize themselves with the platform (which is pretty easy to use). There is no live chat session for this workshop; the focus for now is to simply get started or restarted in the writing life by generating new work and acquiring new tools for having a writing life you love.
               All instructor-t0-student replies to work posted for review over any given week (Wed-Wed) are posted on Wednesdays; students can post their work for review by the instructor any day of the week. This workshop will be offered again in Fall 2010.
Texts/materials: Announced once class is filled
Price/Payment Form: $100; PayPal
Registration Deadline: August 26 Sign up here
Class Min/Max: 4/8
Platform orientation: September 2

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June dispatch: Can writers ever take a break?

Check out these cautions against taking your laptop or handheld with you on vacation.

Creative solutions for the writer who doesn’t want to be yet another Voice in the Dark

Something that’s been coming up a lot with my other clients: marketing issues. These boil down as follows:

  • submitting short work
  • finding agents
  • considering self-publication
  • considering electronic publishing
  • finding venues for reading
  • making webpages
  • building reputations through P2P (person to person) networking
  • online social networking
  • maximizing Twitter

Are you struggling with any of these concerns? They seem so “business-like,” and yet, as a creative person, you have the right foundation for making these things work on terms that mesh with your creative life.

I’ve co-hosted a writers’ marketing group for years and many of the things we learned as a group can be applied across disciplines.

I’m no marketing guru, per se, but I know how to find ways to balance the creativity life with the necessary work of promotion and networking yourself.

I’m a firm believer that we make or do things to communicate with the larger world; it’s an existential question as to whether it matters to be creative if nobody notices. For me, and for most of the people I’ve worked with as clients, it definitely matters that people notice; otherwise, we’re just voices in the dark.

These days, the marketing models are changing as well, and social networking is becoming a great equalizer, making it possible for people to generate platforms of followers/fans/connections that are responsive to their creative work in a way that the old corporate framework never really supported.

Do let me know if this is an area where you are challenged or want to learn more about, and give me some details of what it is that you are challenged by or what you have already done but would like to do more of. I’m happy to discuss, perhaps even to demystify or de-stigmatize, this “business-side” application of your creativity.

Taking new clients August 1.

NetWatch: Werking Werdz

1. Online news gathering in the 21st century
Jason Preston at EatSleepPublish posted a guest blog entry at the Journalism 2.0 blog: “There is no rule book for online news”

2. Stet! Fixing errors after the work is published
Susan Johnston at The Urban Muse writes about a common problem encountered by nonfiction writers: “What To Do When You Screw Up an Article

3. You go, girls! Web 2.0 writing opportunities for pre-teen girls
New Moon magazine recently launched an ad-free interactive website for girls ages 8-12. Members who subscribe ($29.95 annually) receive 6 issues of New Moon Girls print magazine, have the opportunity to share their media creations (writing, video, audio, graphics), enjoy exclusive member-extras, have access to fully moderated private chats with other members, and a lot more. The website is darling and, for that price, a parent can feel pretty certain that their daughters will become media savvy, connected, and in tune with the issues concerning young people like never before. They get a big thumbs up from me!

4. What we leave behind: one man’s poems extend a legacy
Russell Contreras reports for the Associated Press on the late Cambodian monk and poet Ly Van Aggadipo’s unearthed writings and the movement to see them into publication. “On worn pages were handwritten, carefully crafted poems describing his memories of witnessing infant executions, starvation at labor camps and dreams of escaping to America.”

5. Creative writing grads publish a “look book”
Amanda Seely for the DailyWildcat reports on an innovative way for University of Arizona students to get the attention of literary agents. Maybe other writers in clusters can borrow from this model?

Reflections on Jane as she weaves through her second decade [cross-posting from Jane’s Stories]

from See Jane Write!

Reflections on Jane as she weaves through her second decade

by Tamara Kaye Sellman

I had the great pleasure of meeting up with some fine women writers I haven’t seen in a good long while at the recent AWP conference in Chicago. I was there to present on Internet metrics and small press publishing for the CLMP, but happily sat at the JSPF table at the bookfair to show my support.

More

Please consider joining this earnest and vital grassroots organization of women writers nationwide. They exist to see voices into print which don’t always get the attention they deserve: all women, certainly, but especially younger women, women over 50 and women of color. What started out as a safe place for women to meet and to discuss their writing back in 1998 has since become a spunky, service-oriented community with circles in Asheville NC, the Chicagoland area and St. Augustine. I hope to start up a PacNW circle in the future, so if you’re interested in helping to put a Jane group together in the Puget Sound area, please let both me and president Glenda Bailey-Mershon know!

Ready, Set, AWP!

A week from today I’ll be heading off to my favorite writing conference (besides the Field’s End Writers’ Conference, of course, which has just opened registration, so sign up now and get the early bird rate!).

The Associated Writing Programs conference draws 8-10,000 people annually to talk about writing and publishing through the lens of writing programs. It used to be more aligned with university programs, but now exists to help all the independent community programs out there. Many (include Field’s End’s) have sprung up in the last decade or so in response to the desires of thousands of writers outside academia who still want to engage in an active pursuit of continuing writing education through correspondence, online, and specialty community courses.

This year the event will be held in my old stomping grounds, Chicago, so I’m extra thrilled to visit the city of my alma mater (which is the site of one of the best college writing programs around: The Story Workshop Program at Columbia College). I’m also thrilled to be attending as a new member of their program, Writers Conferences & Centers, and can’t wait to sit in on numerous relevant discussions about building excellent, economically viable events that serve the needs of local and regional writers. Click here to check out Field’s End’s listing with WC&C.

I’ll also be presenting on a panel (#S119) sponsored by the CLMP for the conference at 10:30am on Sat, Feb 14:

Google Me: MySpace, Metrics, and Electronic Magazines
Moderator: Thom Didato
Panelists: Rob Arnold, Aaron Hawn, Dan Nester, Tamara Kaye Sellman, Marion Wrenn
Online literary journal editors and web-savvy publishers—from Memorious: a Forum for New Verse and Fiction; failbetter; Drunken Boat Online Journal of the Arts; Margin; Painted Bride Quarterly—discuss making the most of what the internet has to offer.

Come join in the fun if you plan on being there!

Reading is back in vogue, apparently (but it never went out of style at my house…)

The NEA’s report this year on reading in the US joins with a lot of other positive news encountered already in this young year 2009 (namely, a plane crash with 100% survivors, an awesome new president, stem cell research moving forward and funding for abortion services abroad): people are reading more than ever before.

“For the first time in more than 25 years, American adults are reading more literature,” claims the 2009 National Endowment for the Arts study. “This new growth reverses two decades of downward trends cited previously in NEA reports such as Reading at Risk [PDF] and To Read or Not To Read [PDF].”

Aha, one of the things they looked at was online reading and lo! there it is, evidence that people who spend more time on their computers aren’t necessarily reading less at all, despite what the naysayers all assumed. This bodes well for publishers for which the Internet is their only medium as well as for companies building digital book readers like Amazon’s Kindle.

(For my part, I downloaded Revolutionary Road for less than $3 and was glad that’s all it cost me because, even if author Yates’ writing style is quietly elegant, I couldn’t stand the story, either because so many anti-suburbia manifestos have already done a better job of blasting life in the ‘burbs already—yes, I know, Yates’ literary condemnation was one of the first, but still—or because I just don’t like reading stories where nobody learns or changes.)

Anyway, take a gander at the new NEA report. It arrives at some pretty interesting, and optimistic, conclusions.