May news

WOTA will meet on Tuesday, May 17 from 6:00 – 8:00 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 inspiration, the words for the May writing challenge are:

loquacious, wanderlust, suspicious, audit, train, emissary, savant, observant, perfunctory, soap

Feel free to share your piece here as a comment to this post! Just remember that, because we welcome writers of all ages and genres, we’ve agreed that our shared work will be suitable for general audiences.

Some other area events to keep an eye on:

Registrations are open for the Society of Great River Poet’s Creativity Camp. For details on sessions, camping arrangements, and more, click here.

Missed the May newsletter? You can find a copy here.

May the creative force be with you, today and always!

Spring Meetings

Join us from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library in Muscatine to share work and inspiration on these dates:

Tuesday, January 18

Tuesday, February 15

Tuesday, March 15

Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share! You might also want to bring along a mask.

Holiday Party & Open Mic

Join us for a holiday party and open mic to celebrate the season and WOTA! We’ll meet from 6:oo to 8:00 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library on Tuesday, December 21. Wear your favorite festive attire–holiday hats and ugly sweaters encouraged–and feel free to bring snacks or drinks to share. Be prepared to sing carols as well as sharing short works. WOTA books will be available for sale if you need to tick items off that gift list!

October writing challenge

October writing challenge

The first part of this challenge is to capture 13 words. Some ideas:

  1. Collect 13 words from storefronts or billboards you pass in your car or ads that pop up on your computer screen
  2. Pull a book off your shelf that you haven’t touched in years and randomly pick out 13 words from page numbers that include the numbers 1 and 3
  3. Give yourself 13 hours and pick a word once an hour that gives you a little tingle or chill
  4. Consult your favorite little ghoul(s) and have them suggest words

When you have your 13 words, write a spooky story, horrific poem, eerie essay, or other piece of your choosing. Bring a copy to pass around at the meeting and scare our socks off!

October Occupations

Time to dust off your Halloween decorations and your creativity caps, writers. WOTA is hoping to recharge you this month with some fresh sources of inspiration.

October Meetings

WOTA in the Afternoon will start the month with a bang on Thursday, October 1. Look for the October newsletter in your inbox for the Zoom link to an online meeting running from 1 to 3 pm.

WOTA is going to try a new location for our monthly evening meeting on Tuesday, October 20! The new director of the National Pearl Button Museum, Dustin Joy (also WOTA’s vice-president) has invited us to try out the Museum’s upstairs meeting area. There will be space to spread out but still meet face to face. Bring your mask, your hand sanitizer, your pen, something to write with, and a work to share. We’ll observe social distancing and all necessary COVID-19 precautions. Note there is elevator access to the second floor and accessible restrooms as well. The business meeting will start at 5:30 pm and the writing portion will begin at 6:00. See you there!

October Writing Challenge

How do you learn to write well? Imitate your betters, and steal from the greats. This month’s writing challenge is to compose a short piece in the style of a writer you admire. Don’t tell us in advance who you’re stealing from, though; read it and make us guess. Or post your work in the comments section below and share with the world!

September Word Challenge

If you’re in need of a prompt to make you pick up your pen, try WOTA’s September writing challenge:

Choose a homophone (no need to stick to this list) and write a piece that incorporates as many different meanings (and versions) of the words as you can think of. Poetry, prose, screenplay, hybrid–you know it’s all on the table. Surprise us!

You can post your piece in the comments selection below, post it to our Facebook group, and, of course, share your piece at one of the September meetings. Check the newsletter for the Zoom links for WOTA in the Afternoon on Thursday, September 3 and the regular Tuesday evening meeting on September 15. If you’re not on the newsletter but would like the link to attend the meeting, email us now.

Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Dystopian works

Since we are all living in an apocalyptic scenario right now–and all of Iowa is closed for business–this seems like it can’t help but spawn some wonderful writing. If you’ve written something COVID-19 inspired, whether by visions of global destruction or simply heaps of extra time stuck at home, share it in the comments below!

While the March 17 and April 2 meetings are cancelled due to public health emergency status, we are still planning to meet on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:00 pm in the Makerspace (room 17) of Musser Public Library.

In the meantime, you are also invited to participate in our Facebook community in order to continue sharing work, inspiration, and support.

Hang in there, everyone.

March merriment

If your March doesn’t hold enough madness yet, try WOTA’s March word challenge. Write something that incorporates these words: tantrum, alleviate, baseball, pickled, psychic, bile, shimmer, hospitality, and poetry. Bring copies to the meetings, comment on this post, or share on the group’s Facebook page. We love to hear from new folks!

March meetings

WOTA in the afternoon will meet Thursday, March 5 from 1-3 pm in room 201 of Musser Public Library. Bring a short work to share.

WOTA’s monthly business meeting will be held in room 17 of Musser Public Library on Tuesday, March 17 at 5:30 pm. Join us at 6:00 for writing exercises, sharing of short work, general hilarity, and stay for the critique group after, in which we’ll discuss a longer piece submitted for consideration.

New members are always welcome, and inquiry meetings are free!

Upcoming events

Writers on the Avenue has a spot in the lineup for the Mega Poetry Marathon being organized by the Midwest Writing Center on Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 pm at Rozz Tox in Rock Island, IL. We have two slots still open for writers to read for 5 minutes from any work they’d like. Contact WOTA if you’d like to participate in this celebration!

The Poetry Potluck group meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 1-3 pm in room 17 of Musser Public Library, led by WOTA president and published poet Pat Bieber. It’s completely free. All poets are welcome!

Other news

Publication of WOTA’s 30 year anniversary anthology is underway! Print copies should be available in April. The cover price is expected to be $10 for nonmembers and $8 for WOTA members and contributors. All sales will fund WOTA’s efforts to support writers and the literary arts in and around Muscatine. The anthology features work from founding members and early supporters, long-time WOTA members and advocates, and newer voices adding charm and insight. The volume captures the remarkable wealth of literary talent that has made WOTA what it is over the years. You’ll want a book for your shelf and copies to give all your friends!

We’re excited about sharing this book, so if you’ve got ideas for launch parties, book sales, and other events that can get it in front of peoples’ eyes, contact WOTA and help us set something up! We’re always ready to share good writing with the world.

anthology cover crop

Hope your March is fruitful and the wild weather inspires great works. We can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

February sweetness

February meetings

WOTA in the afternoon meets Thursday, February 6 from 1-3 pm in room 201 of Musser Public Library.

The regular WOTA evening meeting takes place Tuesday, February 18 in room 17 of Musser Public Library. Members can come at 5:30 pm for a quick business meeting to discuss upcoming projects and events. Anyone is welcome to join us at 6 pm for writing exercises and sharing short work. As always writers of all ages, genres, and levels of experience are welcome.

Upcoming Contests

The Midwest Writing Center is taking registrations for its annual Iron Pen contest. Can you write a poem, a short story, or a creative essay in 24 hours? And can you base it on a prompt you’re given? If you’re a WOTA member, you do this all the time! Register here.

Poems are being accepted for the2020 Lyrical Iowa. Find the requirements and submission guidelines on the Iowa Poetry Association website.

Upcoming Workshops & Other Opportunities

Misty Urban is leading a Prayer & Poetry retreat at the Benet Retreat House at St. Mary’s Monastery, Rock Island, on February 7-8. Participants will read and discuss the works of Mary Oliver and others as well as take time to read, meditate, write, and share work.  Register here.

Misty will also be at the Davenport Eastern Library on Saturday, February 29 as part of their Local Author series, offering a workshop from 3-4 pm on the short, short-short, and not-so-short story. No need to register; just show up!

Jodie Toohey is leading an Online Beginning Writing Workshop that will run for six weeks beginning March 20. Classes will cover character, critique, voice, energy, plot, and more. For more information and to register check the Midwest Writing Center website.

Pat Bieber is leading a new Poetry Potluck group that meets at Musser Public Library on the 2d and 4th Thursday of each month from 1-3 pm in room 17. Poets are invited to bring work to read aloud. The focus will be on discussion, not critique. Free!

Word challenge

Need a little challenge in your life? How ’bout you write a sestina for February? Find the form, an example, and some tips at this website. Share your poem in the comments, email WOTA, post to our Facebook page, or bring to a meeting. Hope your February is fabulous!