April is the Cruelest, Most Poetic Month

It seems appropriate for the title of this post to introduce National Poetry Month by paraphrasing the opening line of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Maybe because it is the cruelest month, the Academy of American Poets (poets.org) picked April as National Poetry Month.  Whatever the reason, the party starts today and continues all month.

Share in the celebration by visiting poets.org to participate in:

  • 30 Poets, 30 Days: A poetic tweet-a-thon, where selected poets have 24 hours to tweet daily insights.
  • Poem-A-Day: Sign up to get a poem from a new poetry book emailed to you each day.
  • Poem In Your Pocket Day: On April 14, join thousands of people across the country by carrying a poem in your pocket.
  • Poem Flow for iPhones: This app features daily poems beautifully presented as fixed and animated text.  Even if you don’t have an iPhone, you can enjoy.

Whether you want to celebrate online or in person at book stores, poetry readings, libraries, or slams, there are hundreds of events planned across the country.  To find out what’s going on near you, visit the National Poetry Map.

Poets.org has more planned. Visit the National Poetry Month page for all the details.

Resources: poets.org, The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, The Daily Post

 

Can Restraints Keep Creativity Alive?

In this video from The 99 Percent, creativity expert Scott Belsky discusses some decidedly uncreative ways to keep ideas alive and moving forward.

How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap suggests compromise, restraint, planning, and discipline.  The suggestions aren’t as sexy and exciting as the pursuit of new ideas, but they could be helpful in avoiding what he calls the “idea plateau” and in keeping us focused on a project to its completion.

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Your Brain on Write is a series of posts exploring scientific, psychological
and cognitive aspects of writing and creativity. Click here to see additional posts in the series.

Resources: The 99 Percent, Scott Belsky, The Daily Post

6+ Prompts for Writers Who Make the Time

Every Tuesday at 9 pm EST, writers who find it difficult making time to write join together for an hour of silent writing. Writing for a specific and set amount of time is not only satisfying, it helps in building a consistent and rewarding writing life.

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers, but it was created especially for those who find it hard to put aside distractions for their craft.  To participate,  join us tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.

You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Oak Grove Day Dream”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

The 9 pm PST retreat is open by request.  If you’re interested in this session, please leave a comment here.

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Ray Bradbury

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Ray Bradbury, The Daily Post

A Thousand Words: Oak Grove Day Dream

Creative Commons image by oddsock on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Whatever your response, I hope the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post

For ‘Tolkien Reading Day,’ a Favorite Quote

As someone with a strong sense of wanderlust, the second line of this quote always meant something special to me.  I heard it long before I became familiar with J.R.R.Tolkien or The Lord of the Rings, but when I found out Tolkien wrote it in The Fellowship of the Ring, I smile and thought, Yeah, that makes sense.

In honor of Tolkien Reading Day 2011, I’m happy to share a few of his words.

Resources: The Tolkien Society, Playdura on Flickr, The Daily Post

7 Writing Prompts and Some Motivation

Every Tuesday at 9 pm EST, writers who find it difficult making time to write join together for an hour of silent writing.

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.

You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Bubbling Over”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From Writer’s Digest: Writing Prompts (10 pages of them!)
  6. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  7. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

While catching up on my RSS reading this week, I found Keeping Motivated Daily by Elizabeth Spann Craig.  The post talks about staying motivated by finding the joy of writing in the writing itself.  She shares words of wisdom for all writers, struggling or not.

If you visit Elizabeth’s blog, Mystery Writing is Murder, plan on spending some time.   Her posts are filled with great information and useful advice.

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Flo Ziegfeld

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld, Susan Fleming, ky_olsen on flickr, The Daily Post

For the Love of Literary Landmarks

Literature and travel.  They’re as good together as chocolate and peanut butter.  Thanks, Reese’s!  One of my favorite things to do while traveling, is visit an author’s home.  I find it inspiring and motivating to be in the presence of greatness, and I often leave a visit with a renewed commitment to my writing.

I’ve seen many homes already and plan to keep going, but one of the challenges in planning a visit like this, is that there’s no clearing house of information on these homes.  They’re not exactly Disney (to some), so tourism guides often overlook them.

A.N. Devers, a writer with an obsession similar to mine (the literary/travel one, not the chocolate/peanut butter one), found the same thing.  In response, she created Writers’ Houses, an online travel guide to writers’ homes in the U.S., with a sprinkling of homes around the world.  The homes are searchable by author, city, state, or country.  Each listing includes links, photos, hours, addresses, and other details to help make trip planning easier.

The website, launched in July 2010, is a work-in-progress, and Ms. Devers hopes to expand it with contributions from other literary travelers.

If armchair travel is more your speed, Writers’ Houses is a fun place to visit.  Just point and click to visit Walt Whitman’s birthplace, Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home, or the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.

To get your trip started, here are a few of the literary landmarks I’ve visited:

William Faulkner’s office at Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi.

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Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

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  Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s home in Grasmere, Cumbria England
Resources: Writers Houses, The Daily Post