Building up

I’ve been wallowing in a mud hole all weekend. It’s the same mud hole I visit whenever a writing competition ends. These contests always make me grow; they show me how far I’ve come in writing fiction. They also gently remind me how far I’ve yet to go. Let’s just say if learning to write well were a road trip from New York City to LA, this last contest put me somewhere in West Virginia maybe. Kind of lost up in the Appalachains shooting at squirrels.

I posted a big sign next to my desk yesterday that reads “You like to write.” Looking at it makes me nod my head. I do like to write. I like being creative. I like editing my ideas so they are the best they can be. I like telling stories. That’s what’s important. Not the whole comparison thing. Not the “I should be a better writer by now” thing. To go back to the road trip metaphor, there’s no use in getting jealous of the people who are way closer to LA. It’s better to just accept reality and keep stepping on that gas pedal, and for writers that means continuing to write, to try new things, to learn. Build on your skills until you wake up one morning in a motel in Palm Springs wondering why you didn’t enjoy the journey more. Why didn’t you stop at a few gift shops for tchotchkes and an Orange Julius? That way when someone asks about the trip you can stick out your bright orange tongue or regale them with stories about the cowboy boot salesman who wanted your number or the rest stop filled with Elvis impersonators.

July Poetry Slam: Palinode

This month’s Poetry Slam features the palinode, which is Greek for “counterpoem” – retract your own ideas or join Team Petty as we recycle and revise poetry that needs a second look. Learn more from Rowan here.

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 it down to other territories.

Laura brought us into a somber, then lively hospital room in her essay The Merits of Macadamia Nuts. The prompt taken from her piece is: “Foil crackled.”

How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:

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

1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the fiction|poetry 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; and
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.

Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…

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About the author:

As a professional editor and writer, Nate has published his work in numerous English and history textbooks and in on-line reading programs. In February 2014, he found his way back to creative writing and began submitting to YeahWrite. Soon after, he became an editor of the Fiction|Poetry challenge. You can read his work at The Relative Cartographer, a blog that has been recognized by WordPress, Five Star Mix-tape, Genealogy á la Cart, and BlogHer’s Voice of the Year. He lives in Chicago with his partner, a French princess, and a jungle explorer.

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