13 Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Accomplished

Gretchen Rubin is the author of multiple New York Times bestselling books including The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, is the host of a chart-topping weekly podcast, and maintains a popular website with hundreds of thousands of readers form around the world. When it comes to advice on being a productive writer, she is someone we should all be listening to.

One of the challenges of writing is…writing. Here are some tips that I’ve found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day; don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Staying inside a project keeps you engaged, keeps your mind working, and keeps ideas flowing. Also, perhaps surprisingly, it’s often easier to do something almost every day than to do it three times a week. (This may be related to the abstainer/moderator split.)

2. Remember that if you have even just fifteen minutes, you can get something done. Don’t mislead yourself, as I did for several years, with thoughts like, “If I don’t have three or four hours clear, there’s no point in starting.”

3. Don’t binge on writing. Staying up all night, not leaving your house for days, abandoning all other priorities in your life — these habits lead to burn-out.

4. If you have trouble re-entering a project, stop working in mid-thought — even mid-sentence — so it’s easy to dive back in later.

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The $54,000 Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship – Apply Now for 2016

Are you an American-born poet who would like to spend a year travelling abroad? If so, then the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship might just be your perfect opportunity.

The Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship awards approximately US$54,000 annually to poet to spend one year outside North America, in whatever place the recipient feels will most advance his or her work.

The scholarship is open to all American poets, whether their work has been published or not (though recent recipients have been published poets). There are no age restrictions and poets do not need to be enrolled at university or college.

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Small and independent magazines are the lifeblood of the literary scene, providing many emerging writers with their first chance to have their work published. Here are five new literary magazines accepting submissions this August.

Two Cities Review

Two Cities Review

Two Cities Review (USA) launched its inaugural issue in (the northern hemisphere’s) Spring 2014. Published quarterly, the editors are looking for “high-quality fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction that bridges the gap between forms, genres, or realities”. They interpret this loosely, but are especially excited by work that crosses form or genre in a new and exciting way. Submissions can be up to 3000 words and simultaneous submissions are accepted.
Read more about Two Cities Review

 

Pear Drop

Pear Drop

Pear Drop: A Journal of Art and Literature (UK and USA) aims to tell stories that document and explore the human condition from all perspectives. It published its first issue in March 2015 and its most recent issue (#3) carried the theme ‘Untitled: A Discussion on Feminism’. Pear Drop  is currently seeking flash fiction submissions of up to 500 words for its next issue with the theme ‘Law Enforcement: The Theatre of Crime & Punishment’. The deadline is 1 September.
Read more about Pear Drop

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Ursula K. Le Guin Launches Online Writing Workshop

Photo by Jack Liu

“A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the most respected and prolific writers of science fiction and fantasy. Last week she announced she would be launching an open consultation or “informal ongoing workshop” on the Book View Cafe, a website she co-founded in 2008.

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7 Essential Tips for Writing a Successful Blog

Karen Andrews is a professional writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. She began blogging in 2006 and now has one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. Here she shares her best tips for writing and maintaining a successful blog.

1. WHAT YOU GET IS PROPORTIONATE TO WHAT YOU GIVE.

Yes, I’m talking in a selfless way here. Many successful bloggers will tell you that their mantra is always to ‘give, give, give’ – or, in other words, be as informative and helpful as possible, packing each post with jaw-dropping content. And I’m the first to admit that those kind of posts are lengthier, more time-consuming to write. They are worth it, though, and generally get the best amount of traction on social media and have staying power.

I’m also talking about smaller-scale matters. As you begin blogging and start moving around in those circles, there is an element of ‘If you do this for me I’ll do that for you’. That kind of network-building can be important when building your reputation, and is an opportunity to demonstrate reliability, ideas and a proactive attitude. Think about your strengths before making any offers. Back-tracking isn’t the best thing to do if you decide you’re not ready or certain about a course of action. Luckily, people are friendly and are usually happy to help out if you have any questions!

2. THAT MOMENT YOU QUESTION IF WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS WORTHWHILE. SIT WITH IT. IT’S IMPORTANT.

Those of us who choose to divulge personal, sometimes difficult, details about parts of our lives will be familiar with that feeling of trepidation right around that moment you’re about the hit the ‘publish’ button. Do you get it? I still do. And if I ever get tempted to hit the ‘save draft’ button instead because I get afraid I think of the words of Brené Brown: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

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The Sunday Times Short Story Award 2016: Entries Now Open for the World’s Richest Short Story Prize

Writers from around the world are invited to enter the 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. The winner will receive £30,000 (US$46,500), making this the most valuable prize for a single short story in the world.

The prize is for stories up to 6000 words in length and there is no entry fee. Stories can be either unpublished or published. If published, the work must have first appeared after 1 January 2015.

Writers can enter regardless of their nationality or residency but they must have an existing record of publication in creative writing in the UK and Ireland. In 2015 the award went to Chinese-American author Yiyun Li. Other past winners include Junot Diaz, Adam Johnson and CK Stead.

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Entries for Boston Review’s 2016 Short Story Contest Are Now Open

Boston Review is now accepting entries for the Aura Estrada Short Story Contest 2016.

Founded in 1975, Boston Review is one of America’s most prestigious literature and politics magazines. Past contributors include Saul Bellow, Jhumpa Lahiri and John Updike.

Boston Review’s Aura Estrada Short Story Contest is open to all writers, regardless of citizenship or publication history. The winner of the contest will receive $1500 and have his or her work published in the July/August 2016 issue of Boston Review. The runners-up stories may also be published.

The 2016 contest will be judged by Jennifer Egan, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for A Visit from the Goon Squad.

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