Welcoming 2019, Bidding 2018 Farewell

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, it’s been a while since I posted and I don’t have any super excuses, except being busy: teaching, writing, and drawing. In addition, since my dad died in 2017, I’ve been my mom’s caregiver…which since she has dementia, is time-consuming and oftentimes, frustrating. So, I gave myself permission to miss a few months of posting blogs and now I’m re-surfacing. However, I know that is not a good commitment to this blog spot, so one of my goals this year is to post at least one blog every month, if not more, throughout 2019.

As has been noted, 2017 was an awful year, but 2018 was a bit of a relief. It wasn’t nearly as traumatic, even though I lost an aunt, and several cousins…which is something that some of us of a certain age, unfortunately, have to grow accustom to. Nevertheless, loss is never easy whether expected or not. On the other hand, I have much to be thankful for in 2018. I had my first trip to Arizona, with my friend, Ann. I had never been to New Mexico or Arizona, so by driving out there in January I was able to cross two more states off my “been to” list. Now, California is the lone state out west (and Hawaii and Alaska) that I’ve not ventured to. I’m only missing New Hampshire and Maine out east – so goals! I don’t know whether I’ll make those this year, but I’m always open to travel when it presents itself. In addition, speaking of traveling, I spent a week in Florida and one in Atlantic City with my daughters and grandchildren, so I loved 2018 just for those trips, if nothing else! But there was something else. My creative ventures saw a good year as well. I ended up having my visual art accepted into 11 juried shows, and winning an HM at Art Association of Madison County’s show at the Anderson Museum of Art and a Judge’s Choice at the Northern Indiana Pastel Society’s Annual Exhibit. I also exhibited at other venues throughout the year, was the Muncie Artist’s Guild Artist of the Month in July; I took part in the 31 pastels in 31 day challenge in October (and successfully completed 31), and I had some nice sales of my work throughout the year. In 2019, I’d love to double those juried shows, sales, and maybe shoot for getting some art published in some lit journals. I’ll never know until I try!

I took part in the 365 Women a Year Playwrights Project again – my 3rd time in the 4 years it’s existed. So, by the end of 2018, I wrote three new plays, and two monologues. Also, one of my plays, “Frida Kahlo: Heartbreaker,” from a previous year was produced at NoPlays’ Herstory 3: Journeywomen in New Haven, CT in March (of which I was able to attend!), and that same play was produced at the 365 Women a Year Play Festival at FSU, produced by White Mouse Theatre Productions in November. So, I keep on keeping on with my playwriting goals in 2019. I hope to get more productions, and be even more prolific in writing plays.

Finally, poetry is where a lot of my writing flows and I guess there must be something about the number 11, because I was published 11 times (which for me is not a good average…meaning I didn’t write as much or submit as much to up my odds), but the major news: two books! My full-length collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately, was published in July by Chatter House Press, and Red Mare 16, my chapbook collection of Paparazzi for the Birds was published by Red Mare Press in November. I had several opportunities to read poetry this year, twice as a featured reader, once in Fishers and once in Toledo, OH. And, towards the end of 2018, my friend, Mary Sexson and I, formed Poetry Sisters…which you’ll hear more about during 2019. So, my goals for poetry in 2019: write more and submit more. I will also be officially launching It’s Not Love, Unfortunately, at Poetry on Brick Street in February. So, along with my books, and Poetry Sisters, I hope to be reading a lot more across the region in the coming year.

If that were not enough for 2018. I did become a great-grandma again in May, and I was selected to be on the board of the Midwest Writers Workshop, of which I’m quite honored. So, 2018 was a darn good year for me, personally. You notice I didn’t mention politics…all these good things happened despite what is playing constantly in the background.

So, I call this blog Writing Prompt Pit Stop, so I guess I should post a few prompts!

  1. In your daybook, write about a time that you’ve given yourself permission to take a break from something important to you, perhaps a blog, writing, painting, family, a person, and then picked up later better (or worse) than before. Take about 10 minutes and see what surfaces.
  2. Unfortunately,  a lot of us don’t get through any year without suffering some loss of some kind. It might be a loss of a loved one, a job, a friendship, a dream… So, make a list of losses – maybe from one year, or maybe a compilation. Then from that list pick the one that is either the hardest, or that comes easiest…and write. Maybe, have one of your characters suffer the loss(es), if that makes it easier.
  3. Write about traveling someplace that you’ve never been. Maybe you finally got to go, when you never thought you would. Was it as wonderful as you hoped? What was the most surprising thing about the destination? What is something that happened on this trip that you will never forget? Is it memoir worthy?
  4. Use these words in what you write: Fresh start, trigger warnings, Cactus.

As always, if you get anything that you want to share – post it below or you can always contact me at lylanne@lylanne.com

Bring on 2019, and keep writing!

Lylanne

 

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Looking Back, Leaping Forward!

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! It’s a new month, a new year, and it’s a leap year at that…so an extra day to write! It’s hard to believe that this is going into my fourth year of writing this blog. Granted, some years I’ve been more consistent with my posts than others – but every year I start out with the best intentions of writing a blog every week, and sharing a few prompts that might encourage others to write something…anything at all…in any genre. Sometimes I use a photo, that I’ve taken, as a prompt but mostly I use a few ideas that I’ve either observed, experienced, or have found to be tried and true in my own work. I try to always write the prompts in such a way that no matter if you’re a poet, fiction writer, nonfiction writer, or playwright, you’ll find something helpful. So if you’re new here, welcome aboard.

Looking back on 2015, I had challenged everyone to write something everyday at this very time of year. I did pretty well during 2015 in doing that; however, my big change was that I wrote way less poetry and wrote way more short plays. I stayed creative by teaching several creative writing workshops in the region, and I was active every month of 2015 in at least two-three small writing groups a month (I think every writer needs at least one trustworthy small writing group). Some of which I’m the “leader,” and some where I’m just a participant. I did lose a supportive poetry group, Company of Women, at least as it once was, last year with one of my cohorts, and friend, moving to the west coast, and with me moving to MI and becoming more involved with theatre. In theatre, I gained a lot of new friends and new opportunities. I directed five short plays, won two awards – one an audience choice for my play, “Frida Kahlo: Heartbreaker,” that I wrote and directed, and the other was a scholarship at Boxfest Detroit 2015; as a director I was eligible to propose a project (Portable Folio Productions), which was to create a playwriting/directing group that meets once a month, puts on staged readings, and will ultimately culminate in a major production in September of 2016. Nevertheless, I did have several poems published in 2015, participated in National Poetry Month’s, Found Poetry Review‘s Pomosco Challenge (a poem written to their supplied prompt every day) and completed it. I was a featured reader several times early in the year…so all in poetry land was not lost.

Leaping forward into 2016, I have my goals set. If you’ve read this blog before at this time of year, I always advocate setting goals rather than making resolutions…I find goals easier to keep track of and attain. It also comes with a plan instead of “wishful” thinking. I’ve already laid some ground work for this year by submitting a chapbook and a full-length poetry manuscript towards the end of last year. This year, three days in, I’ve written two new poems and have submitted another chapbook submission. I finished three short plays at the end of 2015 that I had committed to writing for 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project ; one was about Peggy Lee, one on Helen Frankenthaler, and the other on Patsy Southgate. Hopefully they will find their way to the stage somewhere. So, the goals that I have in 2016 is to keep up the writing pace of 2015 – and to bump it up. To get a poetry chapbook or manuscript published; to write more plays…I’ve again committed to three more plays for the 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project in 2016. And, yes, this is the year I vow to complete a novel that I started in 2007. So writing is going to take up a lot of 2016, and that makes me happy. What are your writing goals for 2016? I wish you the best in whatever type of writing you do and I hope you have the success that you seek.

Here are a few prompts to help get you jump started on your writing journey in 2016:

  1. I enjoy the show Downton Abbey, and tonight (in America) is the 1st show of the final season. I believe it hooked me because of the characters and the interesting story lines…and because I love history. In your daybook, write a character or a scene from another period than our own. Develop it as much as you can in 10-20 minutes.
  2. On New Year’s Day it’s been a tradition in my family to cook cabbage for good luck. Write for 10 minutes about a tradition that has been passed down through the years in your family. How did it start? What are you afraid might happen if you don’t participate? Have you ever missed the tradition and the year turned out to be a bad one…or better than ever?
  3. If you write poetry, challenge yourself to write in a different way than you normally do. If you always write free verse, try something formal such as a sonnet, a haiku, or a pantoum (my favorite). If you always rhyme, try writing free verse.
  4. Use these words in whatever genre you write: privilege/January/ scandal.

If you get anything that you want to share, you can always share it in comments below, or contact me: lylanne[at]lylanne.com

See you in a week! Don’t forget to keep writing! Happy New Year!!

Lylanne