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

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

A Thousand Words: Bubbling Over

Creative Commons image by “Permanently Scatterbrained” 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.  Maybe it will inspire you to go outside and do something fun.  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

Persistence Pays Off for Writers

Dani Shapiro says writers’ tenacity reminds her of a terrier with a bone, but it has its benefits.

In an essay posted on The Inner Writer, bestselling author Dani Shapiro writes about how difficult it has become for new writers to succeed in the publishing world today.  With a focus on blockbusters and bestsellers, she wonders how writers will be able to take the time and put in the effort needed “to create  something original and resonant and true?”

For most writers, the writing life is not the red carpet life.  There are no lush scenes of privilege and excess.  What writers get instead, she writes “is this miserable trifecta: uncertainty, rejection, disappointment.”

Woo hoo! Where do I sign up?

Ms. Shapiro’s insight is discouraging, but it’s also realistic.  It’s a tough door to break through, but there is still room in the market for the newcomers.  By focusing on the writing itself, and not on publishing, perhaps we can we can find the courage and the dogged tenacity to keep going when the rejections and doubts start piling up.  That’s when we’ll find that the risks are worth the rewards.

To read the essay, please visit:  A writing career becomes harder to scale.

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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 Inner Writer, Dani Shapiro, The Daily Post