The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘hosting a submissions party

The beginning of September marks change. For many of us, it signals the end of summer and a realization that we’re well into the third quarter of the year. It’s often a time of transition and reflection.

At this point in the season, we usually need a boost for our writing as we make a transition in our schedules. Our schedules shift now for a variety of reasons. For some that means getting kids (or one’s self) off to school, starting a big home project, or squeezing in the last vacation until the winter holidays. Any change in our schedule can interfere with our desire to get creative work done. Also, ongoing summer weather can make us feel lethargic which can translate to how we meet the page.

Here are 3 FUN ways to stay inspired during the last weeks of summer:

  1. Check Out New Writing Podcasts. There are TONS of great podcasts about writing. I listen to several while driving back and forth to work. They help me think about craft, catch up on publishing news and brainstorm good ideas. These are a few of my favorites:

-The Writer’s Well: Ever wonder what it’s like to quit your day job and write full-time? Rachel Herron and J.Thorn team up for 20 minutes each week to talk about the real life joys and struggles of making a living from their writing. One host asks the other an unscripted question and they both answer it. Lots of impromptu wisdom shared. They also focus on issues of wellness and health for writers.

I Should Be Writing: A Podcast for Wanna be Fiction Writers. Author Mur Lafferty has been hosting this podcast for ten years. Mur’s honesty about the ups and downs of the writing process really speaks to me. She’s very encouraging and a master at sharing tips on how to keep one’s self writing (and why it is important to do so). She periodically conducts interviews with leading authors and also does an occasional feedback show where she answers listeners’ questions. ‘I Should Be Writing’ has won the Podcast Peer Award and three Parsec Awards.

Shipping and Handling-Ever dream of being represented by an agent? Most writers do. Ever wonder what an agent’s life is like? Check out two successful agents, Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary Inc. and Jennifer Udden of Barry Goldblatt Literary that get together every month, over a glass of wine, and chat about how they decide to sign a client, how they pitch to editors and much more. A peek into a world the fascinating and fast changing world of publishing.

2. Host a Submission Party
How is submitting your work going? Has it slowed down some? Need a bit of support? Have you ever tried hosting a submission party with other writers? It’s fun and can provide the momentum needed to get more of your work out into the world. I wrote about the why and how of submission parties here.

3. Try Some Writing Prompts
Feeling stuck in your writing? Bored with your writing? Take a break and try these fun writing prompts, all focused on ice and coolness.

 

 

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Another tip for jump-starting mid-year writing.

Tip 3: Plan a Submissions Party

In my first writing group, more than fifteen years ago, I learned about the power of holding at least one ‘submission party’ during the year. A submission party meant that we planned a date and we all brought our polished manuscripts, manila envelopes, our bundle of SASEs (self-addressed stamped envelopes –yes, back in those days when you had to send manuscripts via snail mail and with a SASE!), and food and drink to someone’s house. We helped each other write query letters, find new markets to submit work, develop submission charts, and triple check final copies of stories. And, the best part of all, we’d each leave with several stuffed packets ready to mail to magazine and anthology editors and contest judges.  These parties uplifted us and took the fear, dread and challenge out of submitting. And, they helped us get a batch of stories into the mail at one time.

If you are trying to stretch yourself by increasing your submission rate, a submission party might be just the kind of event that inspires you.

Last year, my current writers’ group decided to gather for a submissions party. Now, we were very lucky as our impeccable host went above and beyond throwing a simple submissions party. She set up stations where we could list our current writing accomplishments and talk about the rejection (or acceptance) letters we had received (i.e. the ‘good, bad and ugly’).

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She also made up little gift boxes for each of us containing chocolate, specific submission markets and also laminated strips of paper with prompts for building characters (gleaned, she said, from the local community college catalog—reminding us that inspiration is everywhere).

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And, to top it all off, she also made delicious crepes!IMG_2458

At this party, we also helped one of the writers come up with a marketing strategy for her recently published novella. We traded literary journals and read aloud some of our favorite poets. We talked about our dreams for ourselves as writers and, of course, we told stories. We’re a critique group that meets monthly, so this party was a nice departure from our usual routine. We’re planning another submissions party in July and I suggested that we each bring a recipe for a drink of one our favorite writers (or make up one for a character that we’re working on). The making and sampling of a variety of non-alcoholic and ‘adult beverages’ should be fun!

At your next writers’ group meeting, suggest hosting a submission party during the summer. And, it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the one I described. And, if you’re not in a group (Well, you should be! Remember–when focused friendly people come together to support each other, they can produce incredible results!), then ask a writing buddy, if he or she would be interested in executing this idea on a smaller scale.


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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