Category Archives: Writing

Creative Juice #301

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Creative Juice #301

Neat things to see this weekend! Happy Fourth, everyone!

Creative Juice #298

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Creative Juice #298

Lots of good stuff here.

TED Talks About Writing

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TED Talks About Writing

In my day-to-day life, my enthusiasm for writing occasionally wanes. I need a pep talk to help me keep working. When I had a regular critique group, our weekly sessions served that purpose well. But for a number of reasons, I don’t have one now, and I have to look elsewhere for encouragement. What about you? Do you ever long for someone to infuse you with writing inspiration?

Lucky for us 21st century writers, we have YouTube and TED talks. Here are some excellent ones for writers.

Julia Friedman on keeping a journal:

Chandler Bolt on how and why to write your book’s first draft this weekend:

Anna Brekken on being more creative in your writing:

Freya Wright Brough on extreme writing:

Ann Morgan on why stories matter:

Tom McRae on 7 Truths of [Song]writing:

Jacqueline Woodson on reading slowly:

Creative Juice #297

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Creative Juice #297

This week’s articles are a gold mine for writers, but there are pickings for other creative people too.

Video of the Week: A Writer and her Cat

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Music for Writing

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Music for Writing

Do you like to listen to music while you’re writing? I do. While I write, I prefer music that has a mysterious mood, usually instrumental, or with vocals whose lyrics do not demand that I listen to the words. (Don’t distract me with compelling words when I’m trying to come up with my own compelling words!)

I’ve selected 10 of my favorite pieces of writing music for your listening pleasure:

Philip Glass, Secret Agent:

Enya, Orinoco Flow:

The Piano Guys, Arwen’s Vigil:

John Williams, Hedwig’s Theme:

Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings:

Johannes Brahms, Violin Sonata No. 3, first movement

John Tesh, Bastille Day:

Astor Piazzolla, Oblivion:

Léo Delibes, Flower Duet:

Camille Saint-Saëns, Aquarium:

Do you like my writing music? Would you like to listen to it when you write? Bookmark this article and have the music playing in the background while working on your scenes. Or listen to these pieces and more on the ARHtistic License Creative Playlist on YouTube.

Now it’s your turn. Do you like to listen to music as you write, paint, quilt, or make your art? What kind of music do you like when you’re working? Do you have a playlist? Share in the comments below.

Creative Juice #295

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Creative Juice #295

Beautiful. Creative. Uplifting.

  • The Lucas Brothers are standup comedians with philosophy and law degrees. And they wrote the script for Judas and the Black Messiah.
  • It’s hard to get started sometimes. But, butt in chair. Daydream. Doodle. Do something to engage your subconscious. And then, suddenly, the magic happens.
  • Writing routines.
  • Six words to say to your child. I wish I’d done this more.
  • You’d like to make a quilt, but don’t have the energy for a full-sized project. How about a pillow instead? 63 free patterns.
  • For the novelists: your character must experience failure.
  • I am amazed this artist finds on-site such a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of rocks to make his art.
  • Sculptures springing out of books.
  • Artist Robin Seiz shares her work, her journey, and her studio.
  • A children’s book illustrator shares her process.
  • What being in a coma is like.
  • Ancient art of Iran.

Creative Juice #294

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Creative Juice #294

Lots of articles for writers this week. And for non-writers as well.

Video of the Week #356: Writing the Books You Wish You Could Have Read

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Confessions of a Writing Contest Junkie

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Confessions of a Writing Contest Junkie

I’ve been entering writing contests for decades. Once, I even placed third runner-up in a Novel First Chapter contest—the highest level that had no prize attached to it.

I really want to win a contest.

You know those short pieces you write, the poems, short stories, and essays? It’s so hard to get them published in a top forum, or even a respected one. And really, only the very top markets pay well.

But contests! There are contests where the prize for a single poem is $2000 or more. Now, that’s a nice payday!

But most of the contests require an entrance fee of anywhere from $5 to $30. You can’t just go entering contests willy-nilly; you’d go broke, unless you’re truly amazing.

Also, most contests don’t want pieces that have been published elsewhere, even on your own personal blog. I post a lot of my poems on my blog.

elements of fiction
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

One neat thing about literary magazine contests is, some of them will give you a year’s subscription if you enter. That’s a great deal, because they often cost $20-30, and you get a much better feel from the hard copy magazine than you do when you look at prize-wining pieces or issues online. I’ve been able to eliminate some journals from my contest list because they’re filled with stories and essays that don’t appeal to me; I’ve also been able to narrow my list to publications that feel like home.

I currently have 3 groups of poems, a picture book, a short story, and a poetry chapbook entered in different contests. Every time my work is not selected, I look it over, do a little rewriting, and send it out again. I’m on many organizations’ email lists, so I’m always learning about new contests, but my favorite source is Poets & Writers magazine. Actually, their contest database is on their website, but I like how in the physical magazine there’s a section in the back with upcoming contest deadlines. I check the requirements and the prizes and strategize what I can send to the best contests.

I still haven’t won a contest, but I feel like I’m getting closer. When I read a winning piece and it has a similar feel to mine, I’m hopeful that maybe the next one. . .

Now it’s your turn. Do you ever enter writing contests? Have you ever won one? What are the pros and cons of contests? Share your thoughts in the comments below.