4/1/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #92: Title Mania Plus "Break" 13


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is here! These are daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.
#92
Title Mania Plus "Break"  13

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. For a bonus challenge use the additional exercise of five random constraints.

Today's titles all come from the poem "Break" by Dorianne Laux.


Titles:
  1. Piece by Piece
  2. Porch Swings and Autumn Trees
  3. As the Child Circles Her Room, Impatient
  4. a world that is crumbling, a sky that is falling
  5. Matching Gold to Gold

Bonus Exercise: 5 Random Constraints
(I recommend picking any required words or lines before writing with a little surplus for options, but with your chosen title in mind)
  1. The first or second word of your piece must be "Renewed".
  2. You must include at least five words which rhyme with "Might".
  3. You must include someone eating a sweet or dessert.
  4. You must include the words "Magazine" "Grant" "Junk" "Holler" and "Brew".
  5. You must include in your piece at least one famous actor or movie character.

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try the 'beat tape' album "Blossoms" by lofi producers Jinsang and SwuM.




3/31/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #91: First Line Bonanza 5


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#91
First Line Bonanza 5

For today's writing exercise write a piece that begins with one of the following first lines.

  1. Snow swirled in slow circles around the empty parking lot.
  2. They would never actually say the word 'ghost'.
  3. Like many great stories—this one begins in line at the grocery store.

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Bonus Exercise: You must use the word "Social" in your title, and include someone blowing out a candle,
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt's Greatest Hits.









3/30/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #90: Between a Fact and an Exact Place 10


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.


These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.
#90
Between a Fact and an Exact Place 10
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following place (either as the setting, referenced or some aspect of it described) and the following fact in some way (its discovery, used as a metaphor, witnessed etc).
  • Fact: Dr. Jane Goodall, the world's foremost expert on Chimpanzees, received her doctorate without first getting a masters or even a bachelor's degree.


As an additional assignment, should you choose to incorporate it, is as follows: Also include a sentence that has three words that contain an /ā/ sound (as in Jake's fake tan saved the day.)
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this relaxing album "The Piano" by Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui










3/29/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #89: 3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 11


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#89
3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 11
For today's writing exercise complete the following steps. The wordbank exercise has changed so be sure to take a peek at the new 'rules'. I recommend using the timer on your phone or computer and setting it for 1 minute. Each time you write a sentence, quickly reset the timer. If it goes off before you're finished with the sentence—wrap it up ASAP!

In order to complete the large number of sentences demanded of this exercise it is imperative that you write fast. Don't think too much at all until you've reached the final exercise. The process of this quick production is to thrust past second guesses or other stumbling blocks that sometimes impede your writing. You're aiming to write 23 sentences in at most 20 minutes so you have ten minutes to organize and write that actual piece, so you're going to be writing more than a sentence a minute.

WRITE FAST, DON'T OVERTHINK


  1. Pick one word from each of three groups and write a sentence that includes all of the words, feel free to change tense, pluralize, gerund etc. Repeat the process five (5) times using different combinations. No dawdling! 
  2. Now write three (3) sentences that are six (6) words or fewer in length that use any two (2) words from the wordbanks.
  3. Now write three (3) sentences that use four (4) or more of the words.
  4. Now write five (5) sentences which begin with one (1) of the words and contain a second one (1) of the words.
  5. Now write five (5) sentences which are fewer than ten (10) words in length and conclude with one (1) of the words from the wordbanks. Remember, keep up the pace! Don't overthink!
  6. Now rephrase two (2) of your sentences from exercise #1 in either a more efficient or more descriptive manner.
  7. Now write a piece of fiction or poetry that uses at least three (3) of the sentences you've written throughout this process of exercises. Try to use as many of the (good) sentences as you can, or parts of the sentences if the whole thing doesn't fit or works better altered.


Word Bank 1:
  • Knuckle
  • Bat
  • Brawl
  • Escapade
  • Mice
Wordbank 2:
  • Elope
  • Triangle
  • Tortilla
  • Salamander
  • Wept

Wordbank 3
:
  • Film
  • Garlic
  • Scoop
  • Junk
  • Trumpeted

Bonus writing exercise: Include someone listening to live music being played in a residence.

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Want some background writing music? Try this viola and piano orchestral album called Soul Stories.








3/28/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #88: Ekphrastic Church 9


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.


#88
Ekphrastic Church 9
For today, we're going to write a poem or prose piece inspired by another piece of art, or an ekphrastic piece. The piece of art in question is this image of the Ghosts of St. George Church in the Czech Republic.





No handholding today. What do those ghosts make you think of? Ghosts in a church... lots to work with. You got this.
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If you'd like background writing music try jazz legend Benny Carter's album "The Origins".








3/27/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #87: Three Things Together 12


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.


These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#87
Three Things Together 12



F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, Nice and simple.

  1. A Watermelon
  2. The Hoover Dam
  3. Pliny the Elder

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this lofi playlist titled "S N O W"








3/26/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #86: Title Mania Plus the Beach 12


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is here! These are daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.
#86
Title Mania Plus the Beach  12

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. For a bonus challenge use the additional exercise of five random constraints.


Titles:
  1. Quick as an Iguana in the Slums
  2. Flip Flips and Frozen Margaritas
  3. Beached
  4. Dust Devils and Sandstorms
  5. No Lifeguard on Duty

Bonus Exercise: 5 Random Constraints
(I recommend picking any required words or lines before writing with a little surplus for options, but with your chosen title in mind)
  1. The first or second word of your piece must be "First".
  2. You must include at least five words which rhyme with "Treat".
  3. You must include the image of a cloud attacking another cloud.
  4. You must include the words "Filling" "Fling" "Bucket" "Oil" and "Swan".
  5. You must include in your piece at least one brand of soft drink or soda.

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this album from the Marian McPartland Trio .



3/25/20

Journal Submission Journal 3/24/20 No Means No: Journals that don't read Simultaneous Submissions


Journal Submission Journal 3/24/20
"No Means No"

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash
For this week's journal I've chosen to focus pretty much entirely on Simultaneous submissions. Not multiple submissions, which is sending multiple submissions to the same journal (which few journals allow), but simultaneous submissions, specifically of the creative writing variety ie Poetry, Short Stories (fiction and non fiction) and even some hybrid forms. Just a quick note before I move on to those, here are a couple journals that do accept simultaneous submissions which I've been reading these past two weeks.

Sundog Lit is a good online journal, I really dug Emma Bolden and Matt Muth's pieces in their newest issue. Also Rivet is a quirky journal I recently discovered that puts out some interesting work. In their words: "Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks publishes new literary work that breaks from the confines of mainstream realism to surprise, delight, and challenge readers. We seek writing that crosses boundaries of form, content, genre, and style — either subtly or radically. If you have something that’s weird and interesting and strangely powerful but don’t know who would publish such a thing, it’s exactly what we want to read". And finally Harpoon Review is an eclectic online journal that accepts no fee email submissions on a rolling basis. I especially liked Laura Fletcher's "Bones" from the most recent issue. But now, onto the submission feature known as Simultaneous Submissions.


What are "Simultaneous Submissions"?

Simultaneous submissions" is the term used to describe the practice of sending your creative writing to more than one magazine or publisher at the same time. This is the industry standard, but it wasn't always the case, and there are a number of journals that will not accept simultaneous submissions, requiring submitted work to solely be submitted to them, and not sent out elsewhere until a rejection is received.

Why would a magazine not want simultaneous submissions?
With many journal/magazine acceptance rates under 3% and average response time around 6 months, it can seem like sending exclusive submissions could mean pieces would go unpublished for decades. And this actually would be the case were all journals to not accept simultaneous submissions—however, thankfully most have done away with the policy. For those that retain it, they do for a variety of reasons... som editors have been burned when they wrote to accept a piece of writing only to discover that it had been accepted at another journal months before they'd even read the piece, or had a series of pieces withdrawn at the point of acceptance or even discovered after-the-fact that it was published elsewhere. So that's why it is very, very important to maintain proper simultaneous submission etiquette.  


What is proper simultaneous submission etiquette?
If a magazine/literary journal says they don't accept simultaneous submissions, DO NOT SEND SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS. Simple as that. However, in researching if they do accept simultaneous submissions, you will see that some journals accept them, but wish to know if a submission is exclusively submitted to them or if it is a simultaneous submission. If this is the case: mention that it is a simultaneous submission. See? Super simple.  


What happens when a simultaneous submission is accepted?
If and when a piece that you have submitted to multiple journals is accepted at one, that very day sit down and send a note to each journal that the piece was also submitted to that it has been accepted elsewhere and is no longer available. Is there a perfect way to phrase it? Nope. But also, if the journal accepts SS's, they know the game and many journals will respond with a congratulations. I've only once been notified that that same poem was in the process of acceptance when I pulled it, but many times have been told that there is nothing to be 'sorry' for. In most literary magazine's guidelines it will say to email or make a note in the submittable submission's "note" section. If it doesn't say which they prefer, I opt for submittable if it is an option. Some journals won't have an option to add a note to the submission in the 'notes' tab, in which case you'll be finding an email address and sending them the notification. 

That's where, what do I send?
If you're writing an email notification, mention the date of the submission and the submittable submission # (if it's submittable, you'll find that # in the submission's URL, it's the 8-digit number following "https://manager.submittable.com/user/submissions/" when you're in the submission), the title of the piece/s you're withdrawing, and be polite. That's about it. Let them know it's "been accepted elsewhere and is no longer available for first publication".


The Usual lists for your own submissions

Entropy Mag's list of where to submit is a great resource and while this is February's list, there' s a good amount of places that have rolling deadlines or aren't until sometime in March.
Zebulon's Flash Fiction Submission Guide. Yeah, I'll admit I referenced this, I put a lot of work into it, and though it's almost 5 years old and needs an update, there are a lot of smaller and lesser known journals I reminded myself with using this guide.
Duotrope. Always. A great search and browse function.
Submittable Discover Tab. Good for deadlines. There are a few March 15th deadlines and definitely some end of the month/April 1st ones to keep your eye on.
Poets & Writers Contest Calendar. If you've got a little extra scratch and want to enter some contests this is one of the best places to go. I used this a lot in January but overextended my submission budget a bit so I'm back to pacing out those $3 submissions.
New Pages Calls for submissions. New Pages is a tremendous resource, they have lots of supplemental information about hundreds of journals including lit mag reviews, which you don't see too many places.

In my research I've come across these 21 journals and 6 contests that are currently publishing which do not accept simultaneous submissions. Take a deep breath, and let's dive in!


No Simultaneous Submission Journals:

Comstock Review: This is one of the few long-lasting journals to not be housed by a university. They prefer more accessible/understandable poetry. In their words: "We choose our poems solely on the basis of what we consider to be their artistic merits. We are not swayed by long publishing histories. We do not publish single haiku, and rarely publish anything over two pages unless we find it exceptional and deserving of so much space. We are not afraid of the avant-garde, but shy from the overly obscure, the patently religious, and the needlessly graphic." And their editors 'appreciate': "Well crafted verse, either traditional or non-traditional; Consistency of metaphor; Refreshing, distinctive imagery and diction; Effective use of poetic devices and sonic qualities;Theme or approach that casts new light on the world and the human condition; and/or a poem that tickles your brain long after the page has turned." Their 2020 deadline is fast approaching on April 1st and they do not charge a submission fee.

december: This is another of the rare long-running non-university journals, and they've gone through many changes since 1958, but they're still going strong! They charge a $2.50 submission fee for non-subscribers, but subscribers can submit for free so there's that extra reason to subscribe. 

Eunoia Review: I mentioned them in the last Journal Submission Journal, but they are an online journal from Indonesia that eschews periodic issues and instead posts new pieces every day, similar to a couple other venues on this list. They are the fastest replying market on Duotrope, so your pieces won't be tied up there for weeks and months. They almost always reply within 2 days. Pop over to the journal and read some of the work they publish.

Everyday Fiction: Everyday Fiction publishes flash pieces, well, every day. Submit up to 3 pieces of flash fiction and allow up to 3 months for a response. Because they publish pieces every day, their acceptance rate is a little higher than some journals earning them a place on Duotrope's 25 most approachable fiction markets.

Flash Fiction Online: I highly recommend anyone thinking of submitting of course first read the journal, but also read this interview with the editor. When asked the best advice they could give potential submitters they responded: "Read the guidelines. Read the guidelines. Read the guidelines. As I was raising my children I discovered that if I told them to do something three times, it would increase the probability of them actually remembering to do it. So there you go." So READ THE GUIDELINES. I feel like I shouldn't even give any more info. Just go read the guidelines and read the journal. They do accept submissions in multiple genres.

Hudson Review: This storied journal's continuous publication goes all the way back to 1948. One of the best journals out there, and dadgummit, no simultaneous submissions allowed. In fact, they only allow fiction submissions online, poetry is done analog.

The Nation: This one isn't even a literary journal! It's just an awesome, super high circulation politics and culture magazine. They publish very high profile poets and unknowns alike. Typically their audience is educated but not necessarily super into poetry—so they publish a wide variety. Submit up to 3 poems at a time, and only submit twice a year.

North Dakota Quarterly: This literary journal out of the University of North Dakota is pretty eclectic but leans a little toward accessible. In their words "No preference with regard to form, style, as long as the content isn't lame and the language works" and "Editors enjoy everything from Sappho to Mayakovsky, from Dante to Anzaldúa."

Prairie Schooner: This is another well-known journal out of the University of Nebraska that is often featured in year-end 'best ofs'. They don't charge a submission fee but take a regular submission period of around 3 months to respond, and their deadline is May 1st.

(Their website is currently hacked) Straylight: This is University of Wisconsin-Parkside's literary journal. They have both an online and a print component. They reply in an average journal's reading time of around 3 months. I really like their aesthetic which is accessible but a little elevated. Granted, I've been published there a number of times so I am probably a bit biased, but I dig them.

Threepenny Review: I feel like I'm repeating myself, but a lot of the journals/magazines on this list can afford to demand no simultaneous submissions and still get tons of submissions from quality writers because they are prestigious. Threepenny Review is no exception there, again being often picked for year end best of anthologies. They pay top dollar for publication ($400 for fiction, $200 for poetry) and also are one of the fastest responders on duotrope. I know I almost always get my response within two days. And their acceptance rate is under .1% so don't be surprised if your best pieces aren't able to make it through their slushpile, but we're here to dream and live, aren't we?


Science Fiction/Fantasy specific publications:
(special note): Many of the journals here want a very specific type of manuscript formatting from a bygone era called Shunn formatting named after the dude that codified it. Here's a link to the document that explains all the details. There are a number of particulars so spend some time going over this so you get everything right. 


Analog Science Fiction: Consider by many to be the magazine where science fiction grew up Analog has been publishing since the 1930s.

Asimov's Science Fiction: If Analog is where science fiction grew up, Asimov's is where it's at right now... as well. I mean, Analog, Asimov's, Clarkesworld and F&SF are all on the same super high tier of sci-fi/fantasy journals. They're all a bit different though, so be sure to read the guidelines and the magazines.

Clarkesworld Magazine: Another one of the most award-winning magazines in the genre, they only publish prose and only a very small percentage of the pieces submitted. On the submission guidelines they have a nice long list of hard sells for their magazine that you should definitely read before submitting.

Daily Science Fiction: This journal publishes daily flash fiction pieces of the science fiction variety every weekday. They pay $.08 a word and accept stories up to 1500 words long. Check out their stories. Check out their guidelines. Make it happen today!

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction: F&SF is another great longstanding journal of the genre. They publish fiction of all lengths, up to 15,000 words. In their words: "We have no formula for fiction. We are looking for stories that will appeal to science fiction and fantasy readers. The SF element may be slight, but it should be present. We prefer character-oriented stories. We receive a lot of fantasy fiction, but never enough science fiction or humor."

Strange Horizons: One of the few long-standing venues for science fiction poetry, Strange Horizons publishes fiction, poetry, art, nonfiction and reviews "of works of speculative and SF/F art and entertainment—especially books, films, games, and other similar media" every month going back to 2000.


Snail mail only No SS journals:


Epoch: This is Cornell's lauded journal that is frequently featured in the year-end 'best of' anthologies. They publish both fiction and poetry, but only accept paper submissions. Also, they're currently closed due to Covid-19 and will open again for submissions in the fall, which is a bummer because I'd gone through all the hassle of making 2 submissions there (they allow multiple submissions, just no simultaneous) and got my SASEs with a note saying they were rejected unread.

Conjunctions: This is Bard College's journal that has numerous times topped the 'rankings' of Pushcart Prize and Best Americans. They frequently publish themed issues so be sure to check their website for any specific submission calls.

Antioch Review: This is another very highly regarded journal, and while they don't technically outlaw simultaneous submissions, they "strongly discourage" the practice. Soooo, ideally you'd consider them NOSS, but if you slip up or have a piece you have out elsewhere and just have to send to AR, you can do it. Just, you know, they strongly discourage it.

The Sun: This general interest magazine publishes family friendly, but quality poetry. Seriously good stuff. They also are in the whole 'year-end best of' anthologies often. Like Antioch Review, they "Strongly discourage" simultaneous submissions.

Hudson Review: They accept only fiction online, so if you want to send them a no simultaneous submission of poetry, you gotta do it through the mail.

Contests:

Comstock Review Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest: Entry fee $27.50 for 5 poems of no more than 40 lines (not counting stanza breaks). Prizes $1000/$250/$100. July 15th deadline.
Common Ground Review Poetry Contest: Entry fee $15 for 1-3 poems. Prizes $500/200/100. April 10th deadline.
North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Prize: Entry Fee $23 for up to 5 poems. Prize $500. All entries get a copy of the issue containing the prize winner, so you at least get a consolation prize of a good journal for entering. November 15th deadline.
North American Review's Terry Tempest Williams Prize for Creative Nonfiction: Entry fee $23 for one piece of nonfiction up to 30 pages. Prize $500. All entries get a copy of the issue containing the prize winner, so you at least get a consolation prize of a good journal for entering. April 1st deadline.
december's Curt Johnson Prose Award for fiction, and nonfiction: Entry fee: $20 for one prose piece of up to 8000 words. Prize $1500/$500 in each genre. May 1st deadline.
The Steve Kowit Poetry Prize is presented by San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild, with the winners being published in the San Diego Poetry Annual. The entry fee is $15 for a single poem, and the prizes are $1000/250/100. The deadline is October 15th.

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I'd love to hear other journals you fine folks have found recently, or are your favorites too! And if this post or my blog in general has been helpful, I'd really appreciate any donations you might be able to spare.



2020 Writing Exercise Series #85: Six Word Shootout 5


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#85
Six Word Shootout 3

For today's writing exercise write a piece that includes the following six words (for the 66th prompt of the year, it seemed fitting). While it perfectly sets you up for a sestina, feel free to write whatever you'd like (but ya know, give that sestina a shot!). Also feel free to make slight alterations to the required words if you want to avoid that eye-pokey repetition you can find in sestinas sometimes. All the words will either have homonyms or have easy substitution options, so look for those homonyms!

Required Words: Chilly, Flew, Have, Need, Reed, Waste

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Bonus Exercise: Choose your title from within the poem "Gettysburg: July 1, 1863" by Jane Kenyon—a couple examples would be "Hardly More Than a Boy", "Strangely Exhilarated" or "After the Blaze of Open Afternoon" among many other  great moments from the haunting verse.  
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "4AM Study Chill Vibes" mix of lofi hip hop.






3/24/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #84: 3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 10


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#84
3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 10
For today's writing exercise complete the following steps. The wordbank exercise has changed so be sure to take a peek at the new 'rules'. I recommend using the timer on your phone or computer and setting it for 1 minute. Each time you write a sentence, quickly reset the timer. If it goes off before you're finished with the sentence—wrap it up ASAP!

In order to complete the large number of sentences demanded of this exercise it is imperative that you write fast. Don't think too much at all until you've reached the final exercise. The process of this quick production is to thrust past second guesses or other stumbling blocks that sometimes impede your writing. You're aiming to write 23 sentences in at most 20 minutes so you have ten minutes to organize and write that actual piece, so you're going to be writing more than a sentence a minute.

WRITE FAST, DON'T OVERTHINK


  1. Pick one word from each of three groups and write a sentence that includes all of the words, feel free to change tense, pluralize, gerund etc. Repeat the process five (5) times using different combinations. No dawdling! 
  2. Now write three (3) sentences that are six (6) words or fewer in length that use any two (2) words from the wordbanks.
  3. Now write three (3) sentences that use four (4) or more of the words.
  4. Now write five (5) sentences which begin with one (1) of the words and contain a second one (1) of the words.
  5. Now write five (5) sentences which are fewer than ten (10) words in length and conclude with one (1) of the words from the wordbanks. Remember, keep up the pace! Don't overthink!
  6. Now rephrase two (2) of your sentences from exercise #1 in either a more efficient or more descriptive manner.
  7. Now write a piece of fiction or poetry that uses at least three (3) of the sentences you've written throughout this process of exercises. Try to use as many of the (good) sentences as you can, or parts of the sentences if the whole thing doesn't fit or works better altered.


Word Bank 1:
  • Filthy
  • Fruit
  • Bear
  • Vexed
  • Lanky
Wordbank 2:
  • Rankle
  • Quizzed
  • Gained
  • Taco
  • Ocelot

Wordbank 3
:
  • Hunker
  • Grating
  • Quartz
  • Octopus
  • Blot

Bonus writing exercise: Include the name of a classical composer, and you must include either a tambourine or a kazoo.

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Want some background writing music? Try this lofi mix called "ENDLESS - A Chill Synthwave Surprise Mix".







3/23/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #83: Erasing "The Purity of the Turf" 3


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.


These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#83
Erasing "The Purity of the Turf" 3

For today's exercise we have split paths for fiction and poetry, though I highly recommend that even fiction writers try the poetry exercise, because erasures can be a blast!

For poetry do an erasure or black-out poem from the following selection of P.G. Wodehouse's short story "The Purity of the Turf". You remember AskJeeves.com? These Wodehouse stories are where that Jeeves originally found his fame, as well as the idea of a valet/butler being called Jeeves.

An Erasure/Blackout is really simple: you take the given text and remove many words to make it your own new piece. One way to go about the erasure that I like to do is to copy the text and paste it twice into your document before you start erasing or blacking out (in MS Word set the text background color to black), that way if you get further into the erasure and decide you want a somewhat different tone or direction, it's easy to go to the unaltered version and make the erasure/black-out piece smoother. Another tip is to look for recurring words, in this example 'bingo' occurs multiple times and could be a good touchstone for your piece.

If you insist on fiction, write a piece with one of the three titles taken from this section:

  1. Bobbing About
  2. An Opprobrious Remark 
  3. Bit of a Snob


Today's excerpt is a little short so keep that in mind when composing your erasure.



Erasure Selection:

from "The Purity of the Turf"

“If I might make a suggestion, sir.”

I eyed Jeeves with interest. I don’t know that I’d ever seen him look so nearly excited.

“You’ve got something up your sleeve?”

“I have, sir.”

“Red-hot?”

“That precisely describes it, sir. I think I may confidently assert that we have the winner of the Choir Boys’ Handicap under this very roof, sir. Harold, the page-boy.”

“Page-boy? Do you mean the tubby little chap in buttons one sees bobbing about here and there? Why, dash it, Jeeves, nobody has a greater respect for your knowledge of form than I have, but I’m hanged if I can see Harold catching the judge’s eye. He’s practically circular, and every time I’ve seen him he’s been leaning up against something half-asleep.”

“He receives thirty yards, sir, and could win from scratch. The boy is a flier.”

“How do you know?”

Jeeves coughed, and there was a dreamy look in his eye.

“I was as much astonished as yourself, sir, when I first became aware of the lad’s capabilities. I happened to pursue him one morning with the intention of fetching him a clip on the side of the head——”

“Great Scott, Jeeves! You!”

“Yes, sir. The boy is of an outspoken disposition, and had made an opprobrious remark respecting my personal appearance.”

“What did he say about your appearance?”

“I have forgotten, sir,” said Jeeves, with a touch of austerity. “But it was opprobrious. I endeavoured to correct him, but he outdistanced me by yards and made good his escape.”

“But, I say, Jeeves, this is sensational. And yet—if he’s such a sprinter, why hasn’t anybody in the village found it out? Surely he plays with the other boys?”

“No, sir. As his lordship’s page boy, Harold does not mix with the village lads.”

“Bit of a snob, what?”

“He is somewhat acutely alive to the existence of class distinctions, sir.”
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try Austrian composer Ferdinand Rebay's Sonatas for Flute and Guitar.








3/22/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #82: Between a Fact and an Exact Place 9


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.


These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.
#82
Between a Fact and an Exact Place 9
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following place (either as the setting, referenced or some aspect of it described) and the following fact in some way (its discovery, used as a metaphor, witnessed etc).





As an additional assignment, should you choose to incorporate it, is as follows: Also include a ladder, a grasshopper and a musty sponge or towel.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Night on the Mountain" lofi mix.









3/21/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #81: Ekphrastic Quarantine 8


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.


#81
Ekphrastic Quarantine 8
For today, we're going to write a poem or prose piece inspired by another piece of art, or an ekphrastic piece. The piece of art in question is this 2020 image called "Quarantined" by French-American illustrator Pascal Campion.



No handholding today. Like the subject of this painting and other social distancers, you're on your own. In this case, what else is going on with these people? What's the difference in the saxaphone's story and the violinist's? The guitarist's? What are their struggles? How long into quarantine are they? What type of music are they play? Are all of the neighbors into it? Who's pissed? Who's the best/worst player? Do they know? Lots to work with. You got this.
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If you'd like background writing music try experimental Chicagoan artist Addison Flux's 2019 album "Slumflowers".







3/20/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #80: Three Things Together 11


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.


These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#80
Three Things Together 11


F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, Nice and simple.

  1. A Plastic Sandwich Bag
  2. A Bongo
  3. Norman Bourlaug (credited with saving over a billion people from starving to death, father of the 'green revolution')


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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this performance by French multi-instrumentalist FKJ at the largest salt flats in the world in Bolivia.






3/19/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #79: Title Mania Plus Fire 11


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is here! These are daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.
#79
Title Mania Plus Fire 11

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. For a bonus challenge use the additional exercise of five random constraints.


Titles:
  1. Controlled Burn
  2. Before the Fire
  3. Embers Slowly Dying
  4. S'mores and Hot Dogs
  5. Mossy Rocks, Vodka and Smoldering Coals

Bonus Exercise: 5 Random Constraints
(I recommend picking any required words or lines before writing with a little surplus for options, but with your chosen title in mind)
  1. The first or second word of your piece must be "Another".
  2. You must include at least five words which rhyme with "Heap".
  3. You must include a Rubber Ball.
  4. You must include the words "Final" "Dole" "Decrescendo" "Float" and "Stroll".
  5. You must include in your piece at one person by proper name (Will Smith, Barney the Dinosaur etc).

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try UK jazz musician Robohands' album "Dusk".