The Practicing Writer 2.0: February 2020

Celebrating 16 years of sharing opportunities and resources.

Supporting the Craft & Business of Excellent Writing


Welcome, new readers, and welcome back to the regulars!

We value our subscribers, and we protect their privacy. We keep our subscriber list confidential.

PLEASE PASS THE NEWSLETTER ON—in its entirety—to your writing networks. If you’d like to share a particular competition or a submission alert with other writers, PLEASE CREDIT THE PRACTICING WRITER for the find. Thanks for respecting your editor’s volunteer efforts!


IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. Editor’s Note: What’s New

  2. Article/Lessons Learned

  3. Featured Resource

  4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities (NO ENTRY OR APPLICATION FEES; PAYING OPPORTUNITIES ONLY)

  5. Submission Alerts!!! (NO SUBMISSION/READING FEES; PAYING CALLS ONLY)

  6. Blog Notes

  7. Newsletter Matters


1. EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT’S NEW

Greetings, practicing writers:

This time sixteen years ago, I hit “send” and published the very first issue of The Practicing Writer. I consider the monthly editions that I’ve researched, compiled, and presented since then to be my most sustained act of literary citizenship. I’m eternally grateful that I’ve been able to devote so much time and energy to this newsletter project—and that I’ve been able to keep it a free (and ad-free) space.

[Image description: the number 16 with the word “Sweet” appearing over it.]

As the newsletter celebrates its “sweet sixteen” marker, I have a request:

If you’ve ever greeted the arrival of this newsletter in your inbox with eager anticipation; if you’ve appreciated its express focus on fee-free opportunities that pay writers for their work; if you’ve entered a competition or sent in your prose or poetry to a journal or anthology or press after seeing a listing in this newsletter; if you’ve discovered and enjoyed the work of another author via a Q&A (or, perhaps, you’ve been one of those featured authors yourself); if you’ve ever found inspiration and/or assistance from one of our “featured resources”—please consider commemorating this anniversary issue. Some possibilities:

1. TELL YOUR FRIENDS (AND COLLEAGUES/STUDENTS/TEACHERS)

Share the informational wealth with your networks—and recommend that others subscribe, too.

2. TELL ME

Email your thoughts on what the newsletter has meant to your writing practice over these 16 years. Or tell me on Twitter or Facebook.

3. SUPPORT YOUR EDITOR'S OWN WRITING PRACTICE (OPTION A)

Consider buying Birthright: Poems (published by Kelsay Books in November 2019), and/or Quiet Americans: Stories.

4. SUPPORT YOUR EDITOR’S OWN WRITING PRACTICE (OPTION B)

Check with your library. If they don’t already possess the aforementioned books, recommend purchase(s).

5. SUPPORT YOUR EDITOR’S OWN WRITING PRACTICE (OPTION C)

After reading the books, consider posting on Goodreads and/or Amazon to encourage others to do the same.

6. REMEMBER YOUR EDITOR FOR YOUR OWN PROJECTS

In your own roles as writers/editors/teachers/reviewers/podcasters, remember me/my work for reading series. For conferences and festivals. For syllabi. For features that dovetail with Small Press Month (March), National Poetry Month (April), or Jewish-American Heritage Month (May).

You get the idea.

And with that, we’ll move on. Happy birthday to our newsletter—and all best wishes for a fabulously fruitful February,

ERIKA


2. LESSONS LEARNED: 3 TIPS FOR HOSTING A SUCCESSFUL WEBINAR

Guest post by Christi Craig

As an author, teacher, and editor with a day job—and most recently ownership of Hidden Timber Books, a tiny independent press—I’m busy. The day job is a must; being an author, teacher, and editor a joy; the press a dream come true. But so much depends on my audience of readers and writers.

The Internet provides great options to cultivate an audience and attract writing students. I’ve built a small following on social media and through monthly newsletters, and I’ve grown a cohort of alumni through online courses and workshops. In the last year, however, I’ve explored the world of webinars. Some I present myself; others I host, splitting participant fees with guest presenters.

Like workshops, webinars provide an opportunity to spotlight skills, talk about creative endeavors, and give participants a genuine sense of connection—and connection is what keeps an audience coming back. While workshops suit a more intimate group of attendees with a focus on sharing work and heavy emphasis on discussion, webinars allow for more participants and a better platform for sharing lots of information in a condensed amount of time. Webinars can be recorded, too, for participants to review content again or for writers who were unable to join the live version.

Webinars are tricky, though. They are fast-paced and technology-packed. Initially, they made me feel like I needed eight hands. Beyond choosing a platform, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts, and finding a quiet, comfortable space in which to hold a webinar, here are three tips for creating and running webinars successfully. “Lessons learned.”

1. Find a Partner. I am a writer, not an IT specialist. When I began testing webinar structure and process, I quickly realized that a silent partner would be critical. For a successful experience on both sides of the screen, allow the presenter (you or your guest presenter) to focus on teaching and the Q&A, while the partner (this can be you, if you’re hosting a guest) works behind the scenes: watching for comments from participants who are struggling to get online or are unsure how to ask a question, letting the presenter know if there are audience questions that have not yet been addressed, and even keeping an eye on the clock to ensure the presenter leaves enough time for Q&A.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice. Nothing’s more frustrating than losing precious minutes of a timed webinar searching for the video button to turn on the camera or fighting with the “Share Your Screen” option so the audience can view those wonderful and creative slides. Do a mini run-through with your partner, so they know how to navigate the technical sides of things. If you’re hosting a presenter, practice with them, so there are no unnecessary jitters to deal with. (I could present a thousand times and still be nervous.)

3. Create Visual Variety. I’ve attended 60-minute slide shows with a voice-over and ended those webinars feeling unenthused. Your viewers will appreciate diversity in what’s onscreen. Treat a webinar as you would a live workshop at a conference. Participants want to see and hear from you but point them to slides of what they can expect to learn, examples of works on the topic at hand, and a list of resources. Don’t forget to show them your website, how to contact you, and where to find you on social media.

Finally (did I say three tips? I can’t resist a fourth): Design a Survey. Most platforms will let you direct participants to a survey immediately following the webinar. A few questions posed right away will garner more responses than a survey sent in a follow-up email. And those replies will help you fine-tune content to better fit your growing audience.

Want to learn more? WebinarNinja offers this guide. Another way to gain insight and experience is to attend webinars yourself (perhaps a Hidden Timber Books offering—maybe even the one that Erika is leading in March?) Likely, you will notice aspects you appreciate, ideas that inspire, and great presenters you want to emulate.

Christi Craig works by day as a sign language interpreter and moonlights as a writer, teacher, and editor. She is also the publisher at Hidden Timber Books.


3. FEATURED RESOURCE: PROGRAM LIST

Looking for low-residency/summer-study/online-only MFA programs? I’ve recently updated the list that I’ve been maintaining for many years. I’ve fixed broken links and added a new program: http://bit.ly/2PGHuLx.


4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST

  • (NELSON) ALGREN LITERARY AWARD CONTEST
    Deadline: February 17, 2020. Chicago Tribune’s “nationally recognized contest for original short fiction, named in honor of the Chicago literary great Nelson Algren” confers a grand prize ($3,500) and five finalist awards ($750). NB: Entrants must be legal residents within the 50 United States/the District of Columbia. 

  • ANDERSON CENTER AT TOWER VIEW DEAF ARTIST RESIDENCY
    Deadline: February 15, 2020. “Open to emerging, mid-career, and established artists, writers, performers, and scholars of all disciplines. Applicants must also be Deaf with native or adoptive language being ASL (American Sign Language).” NB: “The Deaf Artist Residency will begin on the 1st or 16th of June and end on the 15th or last day of June for periods of 2-4 weeks.”

  • BARBARIC YAWP! POETRY CONTEST
    Deadline: February 7, 2020. “Inkwell is accepting poetry submissions in honor of National Poetry Month in April. Select submissions may be interpreted into videos using stop-motion or artistically rendered live action shots. We seek innovative, imagistic poems that delight move us to be a part of this collaborative, celebratory project.” Prize: $200 and online publication with an accompanying video. “Additional poems will also be selected for online publication and video interpretation.”

  • JEANNE CÓRDOVA PRIZE FOR LESBIAN/QUEER NONFICTION
    Deadline: February 17, 2020. Lambda Literary’s prize “in memory of the beloved activist and author, honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award will go to a writer committed to non-fiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture and/or history. The winner of the prize will have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce ground breaking and challenging work.” Award confers $2,500.

  • CRAIGARDAN CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWSHIP
    Deadline: March 1, 2020. “The Creative Writing Fellowship is awarded to two artists each year - one Summer and one Winter residency. Interested writers may submit an application by March 1st for a Summer session (between June 1 and October 1) or by August 1st for a Winter session (between November 1 and May 1).” Fellowship covers “all residency fees for a residency of up to one month.” We welcome applications from writers at any stage of their career.” (NB: Scroll down the page linked above to locate the information on this fellowship.)

  • (JIM) DUGGINS, PHD OUTSTANDING MID-CAREER NOVELIST PRIZE
    Deadline: February 17, 2020. “Dedicated to the memory of author and journalist Jim Duggins, this prize honors LGBTQ-identified authors who have published multiple novels, built a strong reputation and following, and show promise to continue publishing high quality work for years to come.” Confers $5,000. NB: “Applicants must have published at least three novels, or two novels and a substantial additional literary work (including poems, short stories, and/or essays).”

  • ESALEN WRITER’S CAMP FELLOWSHIP
    Deadline: February 15, 2020. For “emerging writers of color and/or members of the LGBTQIA+ community to amplify all voices that need to be heard. Fellowships cover the full cost of tuition, a shared room and all meals, but do not cover transportation.” Check site for definition of “emerging writer.”

  • HEMINGWAY-PFEFFER WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
    Deadline: February 28, 2020. “The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas, is pleased to announce its 2020 writer-in-residence position. The residency will be for the month of June 2020 and includes lodging at a beautiful loft apartment on the downtown square in Piggott….The writer-in-residence will also have the opportunity to work in the studio where Ernest Hemingway worked on A Farewell to Arms during an extended stay with his wife’s family in 1928.” Residency includes $1,000 stipend for food/transportation. NB: “The writer-in-residence will be expected to serve as mentor for a week-long retreat for writers at the educational center. This retreat will be held June 8-12 and will be open to 12-14 writers from the region. The recipient may be asked to hold one or two readings of his/her own work in the region. The remainder of the month will be free to the writer-in-residence to work on his/her own work.” Also: “Candidates with an MA or MFA in a relevant field are preferred.”

  • (JUDITH A.) MARKOWITZ AWARD FOR EMERGING LGBTQ WRITERS
    Deadline: February 17, 2020. “The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers (formerly the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award) recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. The award includes a cash prize of $1000. Two Emerging LGBTQ Writer prizes will be awarded.” NB: “Emerging,” here, appears to mean that the “nominee must have written and published at least one but no more than two books of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.” Self-nominations accepted. 

  • THE MASTHEADS WRITERS’ RESIDENCY
    Deadline: February 28, 2020. For the month of July, “five writers across disciplines (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, translation, playwriting, comics, and more) are awarded residencies.” Residencies confer use of one of the Mastheads studios, a $900 stipend, travel reimbursement, and a room in a communal house in downtown Pittsfield, Mass. NB: “Each year our public lecture and conversation series is centered around a new historical era or cultural movement. In 2020, we’ll explore the theme of Modernism and discuss authors such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, James Weldon Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright, each of whom lived or worked in the Berkshires. We also host receptions for guest speakers and residents; these gatherings are an integral part of The Mastheads’ commitment to building literary community and sharing ideas. Residents also give two public readings of their work, when we offer their books or chapbooks for sale” and “submit 1,000 words or 2 to 5 poems to publish in The Mastheads X The Berkshire Eagle newspaper folds and to preserve in an ongoing Pittsfield Anthology.

  • NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWSHIPS
    Deadline: March 11, 2020. “The National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.” Fellowships alternate between prose and poetry; current guidelines are for fellowships in poetry. NB: Applicants must be “a Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States.”

  • (FRANK) O’CONNOR INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY FELLOWSHIP
    Deadline: February 29, 2020. For “writers working in English from outside Ireland. Writers who work in another language whose work is freely available in English translation and who are fluent in English themselves are also welcome to apply. The Short Story Fellow must have at least two full-length works of fiction published, of which at least one must be a short story collection.” Fellowship brings the writer to Cork, Ireland for 12 weeks. “The successful fellow would receive a monthly stipend of €2500, totalling €7,500 and self-catering accommodation. Economy flights between the author's country of residence and Cork will also be covered….The short story fellow would arrive in September when they would contribute a public reading and a four-morning short story masterclass to the Cork International Short Story Festival.” The fellow also offers “a 5-credit workshop with the creative writing department of University College Cork,” and “their mentoring duties will consist of devoting two hours each, per week, to two Cork writers over eight weeks (32 hours total).” The fellow also presents “a farewell public reading at the Boole Library of University College Cork.”

  • QUANTUM SHORTS FLASH FICTION CONTEST
    Deadline: February 29, 2020 (23:59 GMT). For “prizes of up to $US1500,” this contest seeks stories of up to 1000 words long that take inspiration from the mind-blowing world of quantum physics.” NB: Stories “must include the phrase ‘things used to be so simple.’ This phrase was taken from the winning story of the 2017 edition of the competition, ‘Acceptable Loss’ by Przemysław Zańko.” This contest “is organised by the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore, and encourages writers to imagine how quantum physics might impact future lives – or to explore the hidden effects it might already be having on the world around us.” Reminder: Read the fine print, especially concerning the rights you grant by entering. (HT FlashFictionFlash)

  • RBC BRONWEN WALLACE AWARD FOR EMERGING WRITERS
    Deadline: February 25, 2020 (11:59 PT). Canada’s Writers’ Trust “is excited to announce that two prizes will be given this year for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers…Thanks to RBC’s generous support, there will be one $10,000 winner for poetry and one $10,000 winner for short fiction. Three finalists in each genre will receive $2,500, a trip to Toronto to attend the award ceremony in May, and a mentorship opportunity.” Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents under the age of 35 as of February 25, 2020; previously published in “an independently edited literary magazine or anthology” but “unpublished in book form and without a book contract.”

  • (WILBUR) SMITH ADVENTURE WRITING PRIZE: BEST PUBLISHED NOVEL
    Deadline: March 2, 2020. “The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is an international writing prize that supports and celebrates the best adventure writing today.” Open to “writers of any nationality, writing in English.” Fee-free category closing March 2 is for “Best Published Novel,” conferring a prize of £15,000.

  • SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION WORKING CLASS WRITERS GRANT
    Deadline: February 28, 2020. $1,000 grants awarded to “working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers who have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to the financial barriers which have made it much harder for them to have access to the writing world….The SLF would like to assist in finding more of these marginalized voices and bringing them into speculative fiction.” NB: Available to international writers; “unlike our other grants, you may receive this grant anonymously or pseudonymously.”

  • (RACHEL) WETZSTEON CHAPBOOK CONTEST
    Deadline: March 15, 2020 (for fee-free submissions). “This award honors beautiful, original writing through publication as a high-quality chapbook. This year the award will focus on fiction.” Awards $250 and 25 copies of the winning chapbook, “which will be printed and sold on Amazon.com.”


5. SUBMISSION ALERTS!!!

  • Re-opening for submissions on February 1: THE WRITER’S CHRONICLE. Submission categories include essays on the craft of writing, interviews, and profiles/appreciations. Pays: “We buy first serial rights and electronic rights for all manuscripts accepted for publication. We pay $18 per 100 words for accepted manuscripts. Authors are paid upon publication.”

  • Also opening on February 1 (with a closing date of April 30): an anthology call from Kissing Dynamite Press: PUNK: AN ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY seeks “your take on the nuances of this word [“punk”).” Payment: $10 USD and one copy of the anthology.

  • FOREST AVENUE PRESS “is seeking two novel manuscripts to publish in 2022… Our titles are distributed by Publishers Group West. We urge all our authors and readers to support their local indie bookstores, so if that’s not your way of being in the literary world, you’re probably not a good fit for our press….We are especially interested in #ownvoices stories, so if your fiction is based in lived experience, please let us know.” U.S. resident-authors only. Deadline: February 4, 2020. NB: “Submissions are free for the first 250 per month; after we hit that maximum allowed by our Submittable plan, we'll have to charge $2 per submission.”

  • THE SPECTACLE’s general submissions (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction) will close on February 15. Payment: “Publication in Issue No. 9 includes a $50 honorarium.” NB: “If we exceed our monthly free submission quota for Submittable, we may charge a small reading fee.”

  • TINDERBOX POETRY JOURNAL is open until February 16 for submissions “from free verse to formal, lyric essay, flash forms, sequences of fragments, lyric drama, and on--we’re thrilled to read poems that expand the concept of what a poem can be.” Pays: $15, “regardless of how many poems are selected.”

  • CLAW & BLOSSOM, “a quarterly online literary magazine of poems and short prose” featuring work that is “touched by nature” is accepting submissions for its next issue through February 24. Current theme: “Stripes.” Pays: “$25 USD per acceptance upon publication via PayPal."

  • Also closing February 24: submissions for Issue 8 of SPECULATIVE CITY. For this issue, they are “looking for fiction, poetry, and essays within the alternative history genre. And, as per usual, we seek provocative works that are centered within a cityscape. Writers published will be paid $20-$55 according to the category and length of their submission.”

  • Submissions close February 29 at NINTH LETTER, which publishes print issues semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work.” Payment: “$25 per printed page, upon publication,” plus two copies.

  • Also closing February 29: BLUE MESA REVIEW, which welcomes unpublished fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. “We have a rotating editorial board, so each issue is fresh and unique. In general, we are seeking strong voices and lively, compelling narrative with a fine eye for craft.” Pays: $25. NB: “International submissions are accepted…but we are not able to process contributor payments outside the United States.”

  • STONECROP REVIEW, “a bi-annual magazine of creative non-fiction, fiction, photography, and art that explores nature in cities,” is receiving submissions until February 29 for its third issue, which “will explore the theme ‘sky’. Whether it’s light pollution [ED note: light, pollution?], the weather, or bird flight, look up and tell us what you see. Have you experienced a fierce storm or stopped to appreciate a sunset over the city? Perhaps you’ve had the chance to witness the city from above, how did it shape the way you think about the city and nature?” Payment: “Every contributor receives an honorarium of $20.”

  • February 29 is also when Ireland-based SOUTHWORD closes for poetry submissions. Payment: “€40 per poem published...If the writer lives outside of Ireland, they will be paid by PayPal.”

  • The end of February will also bring the end of this submission cycle at FUNICULAR MAGAZINE, which “publishes quality fiction and poetry that shocks, surprises, moves, and tickles us. Maybe all of those things in a single piece. We are a Canadian magazine and we want to publish Canadian voices, but don’t be shy if you aren’t Canadian.” Pays: “We are committed to paying the writers we publish in print”: $10/printed page (max $100) for short stories; $25/piece for flash or poetry, plus a copy. (HT @Duotrope)

  • “With the '20s rolling thunderously into place, we at the MASSACHUSETTS REVIEW are seeking unpublished work for our first special issue of the new decade. MR's editors and guest editors—Tacey Atsitty, Laura Furlan, and Toni Jensen—are looking for new Native-authored work of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and hybrid texts for a special issue responding to the 400th anniversary of the Plymouth landing.” Deadline: March 31, 2020. NB: Follow specific instructions on the post (usually, this journal accepts submissions via Submittable and charges fees; different procedures are in place for this call). Also, via Twitter, I learned that payment will be higher than usual in this case: $300, plus complimentary copies and a subscription.

  • THE SEA LETTER (REMOVED THIS ONE WHEN A READER POINTED OUT TO ME A SUB FEE THAT I HAD MISSED)

  • CASCADIA MAGAZINE seeks “work by and/or about the Pacific Northwest. We’re a regional publication and seek to publish work by writers living in or from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, southeast Alaska, northern California, Idaho, and western Montana.” Pays: “For fiction and essays, we pay between $50-100 per piece. We pay $50 total for poetry (including selections of multiple poems by one author). Payment for feature articles ranges from $100-$350 depending on length and depth of reporting. We pay between $25 and $50 per photo or illustration.”

  • From the MAKE A LIVING WRITING website: “Check out these 75 markets that pay $100 or more.

  • Essayists, even if you don’t pay to subscribe to SONIA WEISER’s weekly newsletter, you should follow her on Twitter to discover current calls from magazine/website editors.

  • And ICYMI: THE ATLANTIC is publishing fiction again! No details on pay rates, and submission info wasn’t readily available, either. But I was able to obtain some help with the latter point via Twitter.


6. BLOG NOTES

The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s always something new at our Practicing Writing blog. Regular blog features include:

  • Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers (including state/province/city-specific opportunities that are typically omitted from the monthly newsletter)

  • Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  • Friday Finds for Writers

  • Sunday Sentence

Please visit, and comment! 

And for practicing writers who are interested in matters of specifically Jewish literary and cultural interest, please also visit the My Machberet blog (“machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”).


7. NEWSLETTER MATTERS

Information contained in The Practicing Writer is collected from many sources, with the purpose of providing general references. It is researched to the best of our ability but readers should verify information when necessary and appropriate. The Practicing Writer and its editor disclaim any liability for the use of information contained within. Thank you for subscribing/reading.

For updates and additional opportunity listings between newsletters, please check in with our “Practicing Writing” blog and follow Erika Dreifus on Twitter (@ErikaDreifus) and on Facebook.

About the editor: Based in New York City, Erika Dreifus is a writer, teacher, and literary consultant whose latest book is Birthright: Poems, published by Kelsay Books. She is also the author of Quiet Americans: Stories, which was named an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Please visit ErikaDreifus.com to learn more about Erika's work.

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