Forward, always forward

Sometimes all you need to get your fiction writing moving is a good shove–or a deadline.

Raise your hands: how many of you are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? I’ve done it twice (2006 and 2007), and while I doubt either of my NaNo novels will ever see the light of day, I found it an amazing, rewarding, and extremely useful experience. Here are four things I learned that I use every day:

  • Write it down. It sounds stupid, but fear of putting your words on the paper (or the screen) is your biggest enemy. Forget about what the reader will think, and just write it down.
  • Write in the tiniest blocks of time. Write 100 words in the 15 minutes while you’re waiting for the bus, or 300 over your lunch break. Write a sentence at a time between meetings. Tiny blocks of time add up.
  • Keep moving forward. Don’t try to write and edit at the same time. Momentum is everything when you’re trying to hit 1,667 words a day.
  • Deadlines are your friend. Nothing lights a fire under your fingers like a deadline.

These are things you can use for your everyday blog posts, your short stories and essays, and yes, your yeah write submissions. But just like your NaNo novel is not a finished, polished product, neither is the first draft of your yeah write entry. We do expect you to proofread and edit, to give us your very best, polished work.

Finally, give your brain a break from your novel. How about you hop on over here and give us a short story or poem? Remember to read the submission guidelines before you press post or hit send, especially if you are new around here (Welcome!). Have a favorite yeah writer or two? Why not ask them to be your writing partner? Everyone needs another set of eyes to point out the typos, word repetitions, content errors, and ungainly phraseologies in our posts. Stop by the coffeehouse and meet some of the people behind the words!

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Yeah write super challenge for fictioneers!

The final round of the fiction super challenge is over! Our finalists were charged with combining two genres – western and horror – into one cohesive story. The judges will spend the week or so reading your work. In the meantime, check out our amazing final round guest judge, Claire Willett, and then go read some of the entries from the first two rounds over on the super challenge announcements page. The final round winners will be announced next week!

Prompt up!

Prompt up is our optional weekly writing prompt for the fiction|poetry challenge! Here’s how it works: we choose a sentence prompt from last week’s winning nonfiction post and announce it in the kickoff. It’s your job to use that prompt in your poem or story and then run with it. The prompt is just a springboard, though: feel free to use it as your first sentence, move it, change it, or float down it to other territories.

This week, Cindy came up for air after a tumultuous past few months in her post, 300 Words About Grief. The prompt up taken from her essay is: The opposite bank seems too distant, a shore you can never hope to reach.

November poetry slam

Ready for a new poetry slam form? Yeah, I couldn’t wait, so here’s my first try: Just like in a flute of prosecco, echo poems tend to bubble up.

Remember, our nonfiction know-how is not just for nonfiction. Have you ever held back from posting an essay because you were afraid it might hurt someone’s feelings? You’re not the first. This month’s nonfiction know-how tells you what you need to know to decide whether or not to go for it.

Yeah write #291 fiction|poetry writing challenge is open for submissions!

Basic yeah write guidelines: 750 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; fiction or poetry only.

How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:

  1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the challenge grid badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry
  2. Follow the InLinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid
  3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message
  4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge
  5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog

Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.

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