Mead Moon June

Join us for the WOTA monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 20 from 6-8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short piece to share!

If you’re looking for inspiration, write something incorporating these words: COMMON, CELOSIA, TWISTED, GLASSES, ORCHARD, COMPONENT, CARTON, KNIGHT, SUPPOSE

Happening in June:

The best dang regional conference in the Midwest: the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference will take place on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island from June 22-24. Check out the amazing faculty and free public events, including an author fair, at the MWC website


The National Federation of State Poetry Societies is meeting in Iowa this year! Register for the event in Des Moines running June 21 – June 26 via this link.

Creativity Camp for Adults

The Society of Great River Poets is hosting their much-beloved Creativity Camp for adults at Langwood Education center in Grandview, Iowa, from June 9 – June 11. Registration fee is $20 for Friday, $35 for Saturday, $25 for Sunday, or $70 for all three days. Please make check payable to SGRP. Mail to Rod Reeves, 1605 South Street, Burlington, IA 52601. Email for more information or to register. This year’s schedule:

Friday June 9 — Lodge opens 4 PM.

7:00 Writing Games Pat Bieber

Saturday June 10

9:00 Prompted Poetry, Maggie Ripperger

10:45 From E to Zoom Stephen Brayton

12:15 Lunch

1:30 JournalingJerry Narland

3:15 Make it Your Own, Pat Bieber

5:00 Supper, create cover for instant anthology

Sunday June 11

9:00 The Benefits of Rejection Dennis Maulsby

10:45 Writing the 100 Word Story Misty Urban

12:15 Lunch

1:30 Fun with Short Forms Part V Pat Bieber

Local Author Celebration

WOTA would like to thank Musser Public Library and the Friends of Musser Public Library for organizing the Local Author Celebration on May 20! Members, friends, and fans of WOTA were in attendance to talk about and read for their books.

May Merriment

There’s so much to do out and about Muscatine! It was great to see WOTA friends performing at the Community Stage the last week in April. Read on for more events and programs to get you writing.

May meeting

Join us Tuesday, May 16 from 6 to 8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public library for the monthly meeting. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share. If you’re staring at a blank page, try writing something using these words generated by the April group:


If you’ve got something to share but can’t make the meeting, feel free to leave a comment on this post!

Local Authors Celebration

We are very grateful to the Friends of the Musser Public Library for organizing a Local Author Celebration on Saturday, May 20! Join us in room 301 of Musser Public Library to meet local authors. The book sale and signing will take place from noon to 2 pm. Starting at 1 pm, the featured authors will read short segments of their works to give you a taste of the literary talent residing in and around Muscatine. Join us!

On offer at the Midwest Writing Center:

The Young Emerging Writers program is an internship geared at cultivating community, technique, and professionalism for teen writers who live in the Quad Cities area. They have the chance to learn from accomplished teachers, have their writing workshopped by peers, and prepare a publication, the Atlas, featuring their own work. They also get to attend the David R. Collins Writers Conference for free. Register your young writer here

The Great River Writers Retreat is still taking applications, and registration is open for the David R. Collins Writer’s Conference happening June 22-24 at Augustana College, hands down the best bang for your writing buck in our region. Check out faculty and other events here.

If you know of other area writing contests, events, programs, opportunities, readings, or just plain fun, please bring news to the meeting or let us know below!

April is a month for poems

WOTA’s monthly meeting will be held Tuesday, April 18 from 6-8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share.

If you’re looking for a challenge, write a short piece using these words generated by the March group: COMIC, ADEPT, PERSNICKETY, INDICATE, ALFALFA, LUCUBRATE, IMMEDIATE, COMMENTS, EVASIVE, SMOKY, MIRROR

Got a poem in you? Send it to the Wandering Words contest! Open to residents of Muscatine county. Deadline is April 30, 2023. No entry fee.

Other events:

The Midwest Writing Center is accepting applications for the Great River Writer’s Retreat. Enjoy a week at the serene, creativity-inspired Benet House in Rock Island. Click here for details and deadline

Enrollment is open for the Young Emerging Writer internship program at the MWC. This paid internship is open to QC-area writers ages 15-19 who want to be part of a thriving creative cohort, put together a literary magazine, and grow themselves as writers. Details and application info on the MWC website

If you’d like to attend an excellent regional writing conference for a bargain price, the DRC is the way to go. The conference will take place June 22-24 at Augustana Collge and feature an amazing faculty, free public events including readings and an open mic, a book fair, and more. For information and registration, click here

And if you’ve noticed that the MWC, like WOTA, does really excellent work to promote the literary arts and creators in the QC area, why not show them some love with a donation through Birdies for Charity? They’ll get more bang for your buck through a price-match due to support from the Hubbell-Waterman foundation, and you can continue to enjoy their excellent programming and other opportunities. Click here to give to Birdies

May you April be full of few storms and much poetry!

March is for Madness

March is well underway, and so is progress on WOTA’s latest anthology. Thanks to the editorial board for their thoughtful comments, and thanks to the contributors who are busy revising.

If you have an old photograph or memory that might serve as cover art, send it to us!

Join us for the monthly WOTA meeting on March 21 from 6-8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Inspiration will definitely be in the air! Words for the March word challenge are OBSERVE, HARMONIC, TOFFEE, MEDIATE, EMANCIPATED, ELITE, AMOROUS.

Registration is open for the David R. Collins Writers Conference hosted by the Midwest Writing Center. Check their website for information about the fantastic faculty and classes on offer this year. Runs June 22-24, 2023, at Augustana College in Rock Island. While courses require a fee, other events around the conference are free & you’re welcome to attend!

The Muscatine County Arts Council is holding their Wandering Words poetry contest again this year!

Flirty February

Join us for the monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 21 from 6-8 pm in room 017 of Musser Public Library in Muscatine. Bring a pen and copies of a short work to share. Aside from reading and discussing each other’s work, we like to work in writing exercises, warmups, or mini-lectures on craft. New members, inquirers, observers, and guests are always welcome.

If you’re looking for something to bring to the meeting, January’s WOTA group challenges you to write a short piece using these words:


Upcoming opportunities:

Registration is open for the 2023 Iron Pen! This annual contest hosted by the Midwest Writing Center challenges you to compose a short story, short essay, or poem within 24 hours. Register now to get the prompt on Friday, February 24 and turn in your piece by Saturday, February 25. Winners receive a cash award, a medal, and bragging rights.

Looking for more ways to flex your writing muscles and try something new? Check out these upcoming workshops from the MWC.

The Society of Great River Poets will hold a spring creative retreat the weekend of April 7 – 9. Bring whatever project you’re working on and give yourself time to create in the beautiful environs of Langwood Education Center near Grandview, Iowa. Cost is $30. Then, in summer, SGRP will host its annual Creativity Camp on June 9 – 11, a full slate of workshops offered by practicing writers and artists for the bargain price of $60. For more information check out the website or to register email SGRP.

The Lyrical Iowa competition is now open! Send your poems to the Iowa Poetry Association and see if you make the cut! But first review their contest rules on the webpage – the requirements are quite specific, but there are a lot of categories you can try.

The Midwest Writing Center is taking applications for the Great River Writer’s Retreat, an entire week at the lovely and very peaceful Benet House in Rock Island, IL, where you can focus on nothing but your writing. Residents must live in IA, WI, MN, or IL. Find details here.

Once-a-month WOTA meeting not enough?

Join local writers at these gatherings:

  • Writer’s Studio meets from 11 am to 1 pm on the first and third Saturday of each month at the Midwest Writing Center, located on the ground floor of the Rock Island Public Library
  • The Society of Great River Poets meets from 1 to 3 pm on the first and third Saturday of each month at the Burlington Public Library

Jolly January

Join us for the regularly monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 17 from 6-8 pm in room 017 of Musser Public Library. Room 017 is the downstairs Makerspace, next to the fiction stacks.

Need some inspiration? The December group challenges the January group to write a piece using these words: blizzard, orange, suspend, whiteout, refrigerant, calico, plethora, manic, conducting. That’s what happens when writers have a lot of sugar and a little too much cider, I guess.

Don’t forget to submit a piece to the anthology on Memories! Details, including word limits, described here. Submit by January 31.

At the monthly meeting we’ll put out a call for those interested in leading short exercises on craft to round out our meetings. We’ll also put out a call for local authors interested in appearing on “Libraries Alive!”, a local show hosted by Musser Public Library that will feature area writers along with other library news.

Keep an eye on doings at the Midwest Writing Center to see if there’s something of interest to you. And if you know of upcoming events, opportunities, or publications of interest, please share here or on the WOTA Facebook page.

Happy writing!

December doings

Join us for a holiday party and open mic on Tuesday, December 20 from 6 – 8 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 211 Walnut St., Muscatine. Bring a short work to share, a festive attitudes, and a food or beverage to add to the holiday spread if you wish. Friends, family, guests, and grinches are all welcome.

December word challenge:

Have a holiday memory to share? Don’t forget about our upcoming anthology!

Books make the best gifts!

Give your loved ones the gift that keeps on giving: a book from Pearl City Press. All proceeds fund WOTA events and efforts to support the literary arts in and around Muscatine.

Want to give back to WOTA? Write a review for a Pearl City Press and leave it on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, wherever. We appreciate your support!

Happy holidays!

November news

The November WOTA meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 15 in room 301 of Musser Public Library from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Bring a pen, bring a friend, and bring a short work to share! Also be prepared for a warm-up exercise to get the words flowing.

If you’re stumped for a prompt, compose something using the word list the October members cooked up: CATACLYSM, MERRY-GO-ROUND, SOMBER, EPICUREAN, TIME, WONDERFUL, SOUNDING. If you can’t share at the meeting, post your work in the comments below!

Some fun upcoming events:

Author fair and meet-and-greet at Skylark in Rock Island from 4:30 -6:00 on November 13, sponsored by the Artsy Bookworm

The Sterling Lord Readers & Writers Festival runs every Saturday in November; check the schedule at their website to see who will be on deck!

Tuesday, December 20 we will have our holiday party at Trinity Episcopal Church, 211 Walnut St. in Muscatine, from 6:00 – 8:00. Wear festive attire if you wish; bring a dish to share if you care to; bring a short work to share at our open mic. Family, guests, and spectators are more than welcome!

Member news

Congratulations to Misty Urban for winning a BookFest Book Award for her novel MY DAY AS REGAN FORRESTER!

Call for Submissions: Memories

Writers on the Avenue is seeking contributions to an anthology on the topic of memories. Happy, haunting, complicated, or sad, pulled from the distant past or as recent as yesterday, show us in prose, poetry, or visual art the power memory has for you. Whether memory of a person, place, event, or epoch, make us feel the deep pull, the trickster caprices, the calm or the worry or the comfort that recollection can bring.

Prose: fiction or nonfiction of 3000 words or less
Poetry: up to 5 poems, formatted for a 6×9 page
Visual art: black and white, at least 300 dpi

Direct submissions or attachments in docx, rtf, or jpg/png form to by January 31, 2023. Please include a 50-100 word biography.

Anticipated publication is fall 2023. Membership in WOTA is not a requirement for inclusion.

Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the book.

Ready to submit?