Member Monday Call for Submissions

Dear Writers Forum members,

Did your New Year’s resolutions include being more daring in your writing life and actually letting someone read some of the precious words you’ve scrawled in all of those notebooks?  Well, you’re in luck because Writers Forum is here to help you check that resolution off your list.

This year be brave and submit a piece for Member Monday.  We love to celebrate your talent and give you a little free publicity while we’re at it.  I’ve got quite a few Mondays in January and February just waiting for YOU.

So here’s what to do.  If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.

Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links (like your author website, links to your books on Amazon, etc). Upon submission, the author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter.

Thank you and happy writing!

Fondly,

Alicia, your devoted webmaster

Writers Forum Members Wanted for NaNoWriMo

Hi, guys, it’s Alicia, your friendly Writers Forum webmaster and I’m thrilled to tell you that November is almost here.  You already knew that, but what you may not know is that we’re standing tiptoe on the verge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

National Novel Writing MonthWhat is NaNoWriMo?  It’s a national (free) event to give you the kick in the pants you need to write that novel you’ve always dreamed of.  Maybe you’re a poet/memoir writer like me and you’ve never dreamed of writing a novel, trust me, this is still a month of fast and furious writing fun that you don’t want to miss out on.

When you sign up to be a part of NaNoWriMo, you’ll

  • write a 50,000 word novel in a month (that’s 1,666 words a day for those of you keeping track)
  • track your progress online and be able to see the progress of your NaNoWriMo friends as well (so you can rub it in their faces when your word count towers above their word count encourage them when their word counts dwindle)
  • get pep talks and support from a slew of amazing authors
  • meet fellow writers online and in person

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past few years and will be stomping away at my keyboard trying to best my fellow Writers Forum members who are just crazy enough to write with me every year.  You should join us.  It’s a terrible amount of fun.  Well, what are you waiting for?  Sign up here.  Then shoot me an email at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com or leave a comment so that we can be NaNoWriMo writing buddies.

Happy noveling!

September Call for Submissions: A Lesson Learned

Hey, Writers Forum Members!  I hope you had an amazing summer.  I had an incredibly challenging and equally rewarding time in Uganda.  I’m thankful for my loved ones there, but also thankful to return to my loved ones here.

Thanks to all of the members who responded to the July Call for Submissions surrounding the theme “Summer”.  We are now accepting submissions from Writers Forum members in good standing to be published in September.  The theme is “A Lesson Learned”.  Poems, essays and fictional pieces are welcome.  Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.  During September we will also be featuring the young writers who submitted essays surrounding this theme for the Writers Forum/Enjoy Magazing Young Writers Contest.  Should you choose to submit a piece, please feel free to include a short bio, a headshot and links to your website, blog, etc.  Submissions may be posted on the Writers Forum website and/or the Writers Forum Newsletter.  Please email submissions to:

writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com

Thank you!

Alicia McCauley, webmaster

June Call for Submissions: Fathers

Thanks to all of the members who attended our April meeting and sent in pieces about mothers in response to our May Call for Submissions.  Beginning in May and continuing through August we will be holding a monthly Call for Submissions around certain themes.  Members in good standing are encouraged to submit pieces to be featured on our website for Member Monday and/or in our newsletter.

Our May Member Mondays are full, but you can still submit poems, fictional excerpts, essays, etc. on the topic of mothers to our newsletter editor at:

writersforumeditor@gmail.com

We are now accepting submissions to be published in June.  The theme is “Fathers”.  Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.  Feel free to include a short bio, a headshot and links to your website, blog, etc.  Submissions may be posted on the Writers Forum website and/or the Writers Forum Newsletter.  Please email submissions to:

writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com

Thank you!

Member Monday: Writing (Our Own Life Story) InsideOut by Claudia Mosby

Welcome to Member Monday!  It’s a pleasure to feature Claudia Mosby.  Claudia is a freelance writer and an instructor at Shasta College.  She writes for The Record Searchlight and Enjoy magazine.  You can read more about Claudia’s dedication to exploring the relationship between writing and wellness through a variety of workshops, classes and retreats.  For more information please visit Writing InsideOut.

Writing (Our Own Life Story) InsideOut

by Claudia Mosby

Mark Twain once said, in part,  that “Truth is stranger than fiction…” I would argue that it’s more compelling and now research shows it’s good for our health, something I knew intuitively long ago.

In love with language from an early age, I have used writing to self-reflect, to make my living and to breathe life into characters arising from my imagination.

After many years in non-writing occupations, last year I returned to writing and teaching part-time.  Both required heavy research and with the writing the ability to tell in an interesting and compelling way a portion of someone else’s life story.  Interestingly, I’ve found a natural tendency, particularly among those who have undergone a traumatic life event, to shape the meaning of that story.

While researching I came across the literature on writing and wellness and discovered the intimate connection between expressive autobiographical writing and the storytelling strategies used by fiction writers.  Most importantly, is the role this kind of writing plays in health and well-being.

This connection made sense.  Early on my writing took the form of diary-keeping.  I remember well my first official diary, a small red leather-bound book with golden lock and matching key that I received for my 9th birthday.  Later, when I reached high school I began writing for the school newspaper and in college I majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing.

Looking back, not surprisingly there was more than a grain of re-worked truth in my short stories and poems.  Writing was a kind of creative therapy, an opportunity to imaginatively work out on the page any unresolved bits of my life experience and produce what I hoped was art.

Because I now teach college communication and because the research shows expressive writing improves working memory (and because of my writing bias), I started incorporating a short writing exercise in the classroom after each new unit.  My student’s were tasked with choosing one of three writing prompts I provided (ranging from less to more creative) and to somehow relate it to their life experience.  The results have been astounding.

When we covered the unit on conflict, one of my students wrote an “unsent letter” about having been raped.  This gave me an opportunity to talk with her about her well-being and available resources.  I’m fairly certain she would not have disclosed this information to me in a conversation.

It’s interesting to observe the noticeable increase in her participation in class discussions and activities since that writing exercise.  She now regularly volunteers to speak.  While this example is anecdotal and I can’t prove the writing caused her changed behavior, copious research suggests a likely connection.

Intrigued, I began researching more deeply the connection between writing and wellness.  I looked at the research on psychological and health outcomes for both academic studies and clinical trials that used writing as an intervention with both healthy and ill populations across a range of conditions:  chronic and terminal illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, major life transitions, and explorations of spirituality and faith.

Study after study revealed not only the psychological benefits that result from expressive writing, but perhaps even more notably improvements in key health markers (immune system functioning, pain level, white blood cell count, etc.).  I even looked at the research on hemispheric dominance theory (popularly known as left brain, right brain research) and which hemispheric functions lend themselves to certain types of writing activity.

For most of us, hindsight is 20-20.  Expressive creative writing is a tool to gain insight and perspective on the things we haven’t yet been able to completely leave behind us. The beauty of this type of writing is that it can be creative, empowering and used as needed, particularly attractive to those who do not view themselves as writers or want to commit to “journaling” or “diary-keeping” as a regular practice.

There’s more to that Mark Twain quote: “ … but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” I disagree.  While the facts are what they are, each of us has the power to construct our story’s meaning, and therein lies the possibility to authentically record our history using creative techniques.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.  Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.  Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links.  The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter.  Thank you!