Stronger, Healthier & Less Stressed

Yes, my dear sister writers, the very act of writing gives us all those benefits! We know it feels good, but now there’s research to back it up, and the results are better than expected. Writing about stressful events eases stress-related ailments. Writers heal faster from wounds and surgery, have stronger immune systems, fewer asthma attacks, and sleep better.

What science tell us about people who write:


The benefits of writing go far beyond building up your vocabulary.

No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.

Read More…



I thought AWWG WordFest Was Fabulous! Share your opinion:

Here’s a quick survey for attendees and AWWG members to provide feedback on this year’s summer event, AWWG WordFest!

Please let us know about your experience!

Thank You!!

Your Opinions Count

Please leave your suggestions in a comment, below. Or email patrise for a confidential message.


Coping with Rejection

Last fall I submitted two stories to two different short story contests. I waited hopefully for the news of my fate. Eventually, both were rejected.

I’d be lying if I claimed it didn’t sting. It’s one of my worst shortcomings, fear of rejection. But one arrived with a hand-written note of encouragement to submit again. That seemed pretty special.

The odds are tough. The universe is big and full of competition. But so what? We are called by Something to write, and our work is not finished when we put down our pens.

So here’s some cheerleading from the Best of the Best on how to handle rejection:

1. “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” — Sylvester Stallone


2. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” — J.K. Rowling


3. “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan


4. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger


5. “Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac.” — Madonna


6. “By the time I was fourteen, the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.” — Stephen King


7. “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” — Oprah


Thanks to Upworthy for these

Young Activist’s Call for Books


Marley Dias with examples of POC girl-power books

Marley Dias recently applied for and earned a grant from Disney to help feed orphans in Ghana. She is eleven years old.

Recently Dias came home from school frustrated, and explained to her mom that all her school reading assignments seemed to be monochromatic.

“I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs.”

Her mother Janice asked her what she was going to do about it, so Marley started a book drive for stories where non-white girls are the main characters, not just in the background or minor characters.

Now gaining followers via twitter for her #1000BlackGirlBooks drive, Marley explained:

“I’m hoping to show that other girls can do this as well…I used the resources I was given, and I want people to pass that down and use the things they’re given to create more social action projects — and do it just for fun, and not make it feel like a chore.”

Read more about Marley and her project in the Philly Voice, and send books to her project at the address below.

Book donations can be sent to 59 Main St., West Orange, N.J., 07052, Office 322.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie awarded ‘Best of the Best’

Awarded for the decade’s best novel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie previously won the 2007 Prize for her novel about 1960s Nigeria, a land riven by civil war. Half of a Yellow Sun…

“…is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race – and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.”

The BAILEYS Women’s Prize for Fiction  celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Formerly known as the Orange Prize, this British award bestows the winner with £30,000 and a bronze ‘Bessie’ statuette, and is endowed by an anonymous donor.

The prize is open to any full length novel written in English by a woman of any nationality, published in the UK. (But alas, self-publishing does not qualify.) Each year a team of notable women authors and leaders review 150 books to determine the Short List and the Prize winner.

Mother’s Day Proclamation


Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910 abolitionist, activist & poet

by Julia Ward Howe, 1870

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

“From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Stuck? 5 things to try:

Ideas for when you when can’t step away from your problem

© marc johns serious drawings

Illustrator Marc Johns likes to go for a walk or do dishes to relax his mind, but when that’s not possible and he needs to push through a creative block, he tries one of five things:

  1. Instead of coming up with one solution, come up with 20.
  2. Shorten your deadline to 10 minutes from now.
  3. Put away all digital devices.
  4. Use different materials, like chalk, crayon, paper and pen. (if you type, write longhand; or vice-versa)
  5. Pretend you are a pastry chef or a pilot or a hot dog vendor (you get the idea). How do these people look at the world?

Source: Breakthrough! 90 proven strategies to overcome creative block & spark your imagination, Alex Cornell, editor.

from Psychology Today: Why Do Women Write?

Why Do Women Write? Why Face the Blank Page?

We create, construct and tell our stories to own them.
Here are the core ideas in Barecca’s article:

• Ideas Have Consequences
• Hear Yourself Think
• We create, construct and tell our stories to own them.
• Read other women writers
• You’re Not Alone

Some thoughts on the birthday of Alice Munro, about writing…


“It’s the birthday of the short-story writer Alice Munro (books by this author), born in Wingham, Ontario (1931). She grew up on a farm, and she said, “Reading was an indulgence that you didn’t go in for if there was physical work to be done.” Women were only supposed to read on Sundays, because on every other day of the week they had no excuse to be reading when they could be knitting instead.

She went to college, hoping to become a writer, but she dropped out to get married and have three children. She got divorced and went back to her hometown to take care of her sick father, and she was amazed at how much material there was there. She said, “What I wanted was every last thing, every layer of speech and thought, stroke of light on bark or walls, every smell, pothole, pain, crack, delusion, held still and held together — radiant, everlasting.” And she took those things and turned them into short stories.

She said: “It’s not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, ‘Read,’ but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, ‘Don’t read, don’t think, just write,’ and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you’re going to be a writer you’ll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think ‘There must be something else people do,’ you won’t quite be able to quit.”

Italics mine! Her words feel quite true to me…

Write on! See you at the Accokeek Women’s Writer’s Group the second Monday in August!

Writing Our Dreams

Image by Carol Burbank

Lotus light by Carol Burbank

In the dreaming process of writing, we must sometimes return to the source, and listen to our dreams. Whether or not we actually write our night or daydream experiences down, they are the cartographers of the mind and heart. Paying attention to the stories we dream helps us write from our deepest lives, our imagination. These are the stories that matter. They shape our biography, our expectations, our hopes and our creativity. They help us tell our stories.

This morning I dreamed again about a job that taught me — no, forced me! — to face my deepest self, the part of me that needed to expand. In the dream, I understood my experience as ordinary, almost banal. This dream didn’t have the epic, dramatic tint to the experiences that felt so painful to me then. It was almost as if I was shown a neutral canvas. After I woke up, I remembered a colleague, who came to my office, looked into my eyes, and said — “Don’t say anything, just listen. Get out of here. Don’t get stuck. This is not a good place.”

What a paradox! No wonder I need to work out this particular puzzle in my dreams. I’ve been thinking all day, off and on, about that paradox. As I ask myself where the story lives, I’m thinking about an essay, to explore the evil of banality (as opposed to the classic, the banality of evil, a phrase that described Hitler’s micromanaged atrocities).

That’s not to say what I experienced was evil per se. Evil  is such a loaded word — terrorism and rape and poverty are genuine evils. But in my dream, I saw the machine of the workplace, and my memory of my colleagues warning shined a light on that machine that made me think about evil. As a writer, I get to play with that, whether or not anyone else ever reads my exploration.

I don’t write about my own life much — it’s just not as interesting as more archetypal, mythic, magical things. But my dream pushed me into the autobiographical territory, offering something paradoxical, intriguing. It made me want to write, to figure out what I was trying to tell myself this morning.

Lying in bed that extra ten minutes to let the fullness of the dreamstory expand opened up a very cool can of worms. I’ve been writing long enough to celebrate that kind of inspiration, and trust that wherever it leads, I’ll catch some interesting wordfish.

Have you ever had a dream that prodded you to write? Let’s share the stories, and the writing that came out of them!