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!

 

Holiday party 2019

WOTA will hold its first Thursday meeting in room 201 of Musser Public Library from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on December 5.

Then, join us for a holiday potluck, singalong, and open mic on Tuesday, December 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 211 Walnut St. (right across from the library on 2d Street). This event is free and open to the public, so bring your family and friends!

November brewings

The Halloween treats are collected, the clocks are set back (for those of us observing those holidays), and it’s time for the fall harvest in this part of the world. I hope all of your writing projects are prospering and bearing the fruit of your hard labors.

November meetings

WOTA in the afternoon will meet in room 201 of Musser Public Library on Thursday, November 7 from 1 – 3 pm. This gathering is small and informal, so bring a few copies of work to share. We look forward to seeing you!

The evening meeting will take place in room 17, the Makerspace, of Musser Public Library on Tuesday, November 19. We’ll conduct business at 5:30 pm and have it out of the way by 6. Bring a pen, a friend, and a short work to share. New members are always welcome!

Other events

The 6th Annual Book Bums Workshop will take place at West Liberty Public Library on Saturday, November 9 from 9 am to 3 pm. Established authors will speak on panels addressing the topics of crafting suspense, creating memorable villains, and publishing and marketing your work. An author fair between 11 and noon will give attendees the chance to get books signed and talk one-on-one with favorite authors, while a meet-and-greet from 3 to 3:30 pm will give writers a chance to meet and mingle with others sharing their interests. The workshop is free, but you can register and reserve a seat on the website. There’s a great roster of regional writers you won’t want to miss!

It’s NaNoWriMo, and if any of you out there have set your caps on the goals of writing 50,000 words this month, we want to hear about it! Pop over to our Facebook group to find a NaNoWriMo buddy or just share your feelings about this long sprint. Good luck!

Save the date for the WOTA Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 17 from 6 to 8 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 211 Walnut St. (right across the street from Musser Public Library). We’ll have treats, an open mic, and a chance to celebrate another year. Free & open to the public, so bring your family and friends as well as your appetite and your voice, as we’ll have our self-authored Christmas carols to sing!

Elections are approaching!

And we don’t mean November 5! The biannual elections for officers will take place at the December meeting/holiday party/open mic. All positions on the board are open–president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer–so if you feel called to serve, get your name on the ballot now! Self nominations are accepted! All dues-paying members are eligible to vote and to hold a position. Keep WOTA going in its mission as an Iowa nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting writers & the literary arts in and around Muscatine!

Word challenge

And of course we can’t let a month pass without partaking of the monthly word challenge! The October folks generated these words: Thanksgiving, pilgrim, prudence, unknown, withered, histrionic, and crucible. Those should set your imagination boiling and bubbling! Write a poem, a drama, a story, an essay, or something unique & in-between and bring it to the December meeting to read aloud!

Other news

If you submitted something to the WOTA 30-year anthology, you should be hearing back soon about your submission. Thanks for your patience! We’re still in search of a title for this anniversary anthology celebrating WOTA voices old and new, so if you have ideas, let’s hear them. A publication date of February 2020 is anticipated to observe 30 years of Writers on the Avenue inspiring Muscatine writers and creating community. We hope to keep it going for 30 more!