Aging Gracefully? Who Needs It? Check out this inspiring poem by Moyra Donaldson

Who says we can’t write poems that break open cliches about being a woman!? Well, no one really, no one worth listening to. If you are writing about aging, check out this great poem and be inspired to speak freely, and think out of the box!

When I Am Old
by Moyra Donaldson

I’ll have dewlaps and a hump and say what all the time
in a cross voice: on every one of my bony crony fingers
a ring. My lips painted with a slash of bright fuchsia,
I’ll drink margaritas by the tumbler full and if my dealer
dies before I do, I’ll just have to look for younger suppliers.
I can’t imagine not being interested in sex, but if it happens,
so be it, really I could do with a rest, complete hormonelessness.
I may forget who I am and how to find my way home, but be
patient, remember I’ve always been more than a little confused
and never did have much of a sense of direction. If I’m completely
demented, I’m depending on friends: you know who you are.

“When I Am Old” by Moyra Donaldson from Selected Poems. © Liberties Press, 2012.

FEMINIST WRITING FELLOWSHIP

Are you a feminist writer? Check out this opportunity!

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Fellowship Program

Everyday Feminism is offering a Fellowship Program in order to grow the number of intersectional feminists who can write about social justice issues in a way that reaches a more general progressive audience.

The Fellowship is a 6-month training and mentorship program for activists who write at the intersection of personal and social liberation. Fellows will learn the very writing approach that has helped Everyday Feminism reach 3-4 million people per month in less than 4 years and made more radical politics accessible, appealing, and relevant to a more mainstream audience.

This is a virtual program and Fellows can be anywhere in the world as long as they have Internet access and can participate in the webinars, which will be held during US business hours.

CLICK HERE

March Submission Deadlines: 20 under $20

Check this out — and submit your work!

Women Who Submit

By Lisbeth Coiman

As part of our ongoing effort to encourage women to submit to top tier literary journals, Women Who Submit has put together a monthly submission call round up, hoping women writers find it useful and come back to it again and again. For our first list, we have included 19 publications with under $20 submission fees, and one publication with a slightly higher fee.

General

  1. The Indiana Review

Reading Period: Opening date not listed – March 10

Submission guidelines

What They Like:  They’ve received a ton of stories about cancer, so he could do without seeing any of those for a while and would prefer to see stuff that’s “different.”

  1. James Franco Review

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Genre: Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction

Rotating Editors

Blind reading

  1. The Masters Review

Reading Period: January 15 – March 31

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Emerging fiction from new…

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Unpopular Opinion: Freelancers’ Rhetorical Inconsistency between Paying and Getting Paid for Services

Are you guilty of this contradiction — expecting to be paid, but being reluctant to pay for good services to help you be a better writer? Food for thought….

Contemporary Contempt

Contently’s “The Freelancer” published an article by Yael Grauer today entitled 5 Free Alternatives to Must-Have Freelance Tools. Being relatively new to freelance writing, I read it with great interest, and appreciated Grauer’s helpful breakdown of the pros and cons of various software options. But the underlying conceit of the article (money-saving tips!) is a familiar one, and when contrasted with another common refrain among freelancers (F-you; pay me!), it left me with a nagging feeling that there’s a growing cognitive dissonance that we should address.

While advocating that “freelancing isn’t free,” freelancers as a group persist in searching for free alternatives to the tools critical to doing business. This is characteristic of a prevailing, individualistic attitude among freelancers when it comes to compensation: we’re all looking out for number one and are encouraging each other to do so. This individualism is borne out of necessity. After all, we are…

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Embrace Your Ignorance and Just Get Started (again)

Inspiration!

Women Who Submit

by Rachel Sona Reed

The best part about having to repeat Algebra in high school was the amount of class time it gave me to write fiction. I had been doing this since 4th grade, using interstitial moments gained by finishing work early to scribble the stories, scenes, and sentences bubbling up into my consciousness before they spilled out of my brain and evaporated.

Like the tragedy that follows any bout of hubris, these epiphany-fueled, frantic (epi-frantic?) creative outbursts struck less and less, until writing became “something I used to do.” By college, my fiction, much like reading for pleasure, seemed to have officially left my life. My irrepressible urge to write hibernated so I could allocate energy to more intense academic work. Xanga, LiveJournal, and the many blogging platforms that have come since also played a role in redirecting my creativity away from its first love: fiction.

In truth…

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The Wisdom to Know the Difference: On Rejection, Violence, and Resilience

Check this out — self defense strategies to help us deal with different kinds of rejections, by choosing our response! “It’s up to us as writers to figure out when our writing is rejected because it’s unsettling and when it’s rejected because it’s not up to par. We need to know when to change and when to keep plugging on with submitting until our work finds a home. We need the wisdom to know the difference. Unlike in self-defense, our safety doesn’t depend on this wisdom. But our happiness and our resilience as writers might.”

Women Who Submit

by Jay O’shea

Recently, I was rejected for a fellowship for which I was asked to apply. This isn’t the first time I’ve been invited to put myself forward for an honor of some kind – an award, a job, a publication opportunity – only to receive a rejection. I am aware of this and, yet, every time I receive one of those requests-to-apply emails, the cogs of the fantasy-generating apparatus in my mind start to turn. I reflect on the benefits of the award, publication, or job and how satisfied I would be on receiving it. Each of those rejections sting even as I tell myself that rejection is part of the writing game and that rejection is, as we’ve all heard so many times, a sign that we’re making our best efforts to add our voices to the conversations we long to be part of.

Like many writers…

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The Art of Submitting to Writing Contests

Some wonderful insights here about entering contests.

Women Who Submit

by Tammy Delatorre

It was the first writing contest I had placed in. I was in the seventh grade. Our English teacher had forced us to write haikus and entered them—with a brief mention of this in class—into a statewide contest. On a field trip, we would find out the winners.

Cut to: We’re crowding into an auditorium, the good meal of a tuna sandwich and milk swimming in my belly. I was looking forward to a fun bus ride home, when a woman on stage announced I had won honorable mention for my haiku. Having heard my name, I looked around. People were waving me onstage. In a daze, I went up and accepted my ribbon.

For the most part, every writing contest I’ve placed in thereafter goes pretty much the same way. Bleary-eyed incredibility. I won. Are you sure?

Over the years, I have learned many lessons about…

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Amazon publication of Storyweaving Playbook!

Good news this month! My Storyweaving Playbook: Answer the Call to Adventure, which was published in October, 2015 as a paperback book, is now on Amazon, as an e-book! (Only $9.99)

This playbook is a self-paced, playful, practical journey into the heart of your creativity. Writers get a shot in the arm as they answer the call that brings them present and accounted for to their writing practice. Seekers gain confidence and clarity to bolster their creative life choices.

Check it out, and let me know about your experiences along the way.

The second edition of this game-changing workbook!

The second edition of this game-changing workbook!

25% COACHING DISCOUNT WHEN YOU BUY THE BOOK: Contact me at cburbank@storyweaving.com to schedule a free introductory session to find out more…

Rewriting Myths: A Worthy and Challenging Writer’s Exploration

tumblr_m0sacwHAsz1r9xp88o1_500Tigers Above, Tigers Below

In a way, that old cliche that there are no new stories is true. The web of story vibrates with human nature, and the millions of stories we’ve told ourselves. The trick is to transform the story we’re telling so it’s fresh, so it sings! Here’s a great example, a poet who takes an ancient Buddhist story and makes it her own.

I’ll let Pema Chodron tell you the ancient story:

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
From The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chödrön, page 25

Now see what poet Eliza Griswold did with it:

Tigers
by Eliza Griswold

What are we now but voices
who promise each other a life
neither one can deliver
not for lack of wanting
but wanting won’t make it so.
We cling to a vine
at the cliff’s edge.
There are tigers above
and below. Let us love
one another and let go.

“Tigers” by Eliza Griswold from Wideawake Field. © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

Pretty powerful, right? Inspiring! This week’s assignment is to choose a story and make it new, however you can in whatever genre you write.

If you’re interested in Writing Coaching or editing, contact me at cburbank@carolburbank.com.  My new workbook, Storyweaving Playbook One: Answer the Call to Adventure, will be published in October 2015.

How do you establish a productive writing routine? Ronald Kellogg’s advice…

Wendy MacNaughton for Brain Pickings

Wendy MacNaughton from Brain Pickings

Here we are again, the symbolic (or real) beginning of the school year, and the revv up for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month).

Do you know what your writing schedule will be?

Check out this great blog from Brain Pickings!

The summary of Kellogg’s findings about the psychology of effective writing habits might inspire you!

Here’s a taste:

“Location and physical environment also play a role in maintaining a sustained and productive workflow. Bob Dylan, for instance, extolled the virtues of being able to “put yourself in an environment where you can completely accept all the unconscious stuff that comes to you from your inner workings of your mind.” Reviewing the research, Kellogg echoes Faulkner’s memorable assertion that “the only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost” and notes that writers’ dedicated workspaces tend to involve solitude and quiet, although “during the apprenticeship phase of a writer’s career, almost any environment is workable” — most likely a hybrid function of youth’s high tolerance for distraction and the necessity of sharing space earlier in life when the luxury of privacy is unaffordable.

But the key psychological function of such dedicated environments isn’t so much superstitious ritualization — an effort to summon the muse through the elaborate juju of putting everything in its right place — as cognitive cueing. Kellogg considers the usefulness of a special space used solely for writing, which cultivates an “environment that cues the desired behavior.”

Read more…