Keep taking shots

“Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?”  —Burr, “Nonstop” —Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton, An American Musical”

I had the incredible privilege of bringing my 13-year-old son to see Hamilton on Broadway today. He was spellbound. I was too, and I’d seen it once before. It’s stunning, a masterpiece. You don’t have to write as prolifically as Alexander Hamilton or as artfully as Lin-Manuel Miranda to make an impact though. Sometimes pieces I read on the YeahWrite grids stick with me long afterwards. Your writing matters so keep taking shots. Enter writing contests and welcome constructive criticism. Dish it out too. Believe it or not, giving constructive feedback to others will help your own writing as well! Time to get reading!

Popular voting for the yeah write #314 weekly writing challenge is now open! Vote by 10pm ET on Thursday for your favorite nonfiction and fiction|poetry entries!

Before you vote

The feedback from the vote is great to have, but without your personal touch, we won’t know what we’re doing right and what areas we can focus on to do better next week. Please take a moment to make a thoughtful comment on each post you read. This is about community. We want to encourage constructive criticism as well as applause. We all want to improve our writing and you can help! Don’t just say “I liked it” – get specific!

Tips for constructive criticism that doesn’t hurt:

  • Do more than say you liked what the story or poem was about. The writer worked hard to deliver their message in a certain way and it’s useful to them to know if that technique worked for them or if they should try something else.
  • Open with a positive comment or idea.
  • Pick out a sentence or paragraph that really worked for you and explain why: instead of “I love ‘the sky turned the color of Pepto Bismol.’”  say “Using an unconventional metaphor for the color of the sky helped bring out more of the narrator’s background and culture.”
  • If there’s a spot that’s unclear, bear the burden of the misunderstanding: “I struggled a little in the middle when you used a lot of pronouns. For a minute there I couldn’t tell if Gwen was with Art or Lance.”
  • Try to steer toward positive or neutral feedback unless you know the writer welcomes public criticism. You can convey a lot of useful information about what they did right rather than focusing on what didn’t work!

How do I vote?

Both nonfiction and fiction|poetry challenges are open below for your voting pleasure. The rules are simple:

  1. Everyone gets three votes on each grid. Use those votes to pick out the best writing for the popular vote!
  2. Self-voting is not allowed. That’s cheating. You want an honest win, right?
  3. Targeted votes (social media contacts coming in and voting just for you) are not allowed. That’s also cheating. Voters must read all the entries on a grid before voting for their top three.
  4. Votes must be based on the quality of writing, not your friendship with the author. If you’re torn between two posts, vote for the one that has better writing. That means grammar, punctuation and spelling as well as sentence structure and concept. The hard work of becoming a better writer structurally is important, and we want you all to feel like you earned every vote!

To vote for a post, scroll down to each grid and click on the heart within the thumbnail. Once you’ve voted for your favorite, you will be able to view the vote tallies after refreshing the page.

Have fun!

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About the author:

Stacie joined YeahWrite as its Fiction Editor in early 2013 before becoming YeahWrite’s Executive Editor in 2016. She blogs at Stacie’s Snapshots and Tidbits and was thrilled to be honored as a 2015 BlogHer Voice of the Year (VOTY) for this post. Before retiring, Stacie’s career involved developing new medicines for cancer and autoimmune diseases, work that resulted in more than twenty publications in scientific journals. Now, she enjoys daily hikes with her dogs and spending more time with her youngest son while her oldest is off at college.

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