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!

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?

October spice

Join us for our monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 18 from 6-8 pm in room 017 (the Makerspace room, downstairs) in Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, a short work to share, and some paper as we’ll begin with a short craft-related exercise to get the creative muscles warmed up before we get to the serious business of sharing our work.

Pearl City Press is delighted to announce the publication of Bob Bancks’ memoir THE ADVENTURES OF BOBBY, IOWA FARM BOY! Peek into a vanished world as you hear about young Bobby’s life growing up on a family farm in eastern Iowa after World War II: the one-room school house he attended; the characters of his family and memorable friends; the escapades, the scrapes, the triumphs, and the losses that both reflect this time and place but are also uniquely Bob’s own. The ebook is available now; the paperback is coming soon.

If you like the book, please leave a review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, or any other online retailer or review site. Reviews help readers find books! We appreciate your support of Pearl City Press!

AND: stay tuned for a call for submissions for an upcoming anthology on the theme of memories. We’ll post the call here and broadcast widely.

Need a prompt? The challenge for October is to write something using these words:


May all your creative projects prosper!

August doings

WOTA meets Tuesday, August 16 from 6 to 8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share. And bring something to write on, as we’re returning to our habit of having a short, introductory craft talk/writing exercise to get the gears turning.

Other literary news:

Audio recordings of the pieces in THESE INTERESTING TIMES: Surviving 2020 in the Quad Cities are available on the WVIK website! If you need a bit of inspiration on getting through challenging times, revisit this inspiring collection of local and regional authors and artists.

Authors and artists: the Midwest Writing Center is accepting pitches for workshops for the coming year. Send them your ideas!

Here’s to an August that fills the creative well and lets those projects grow & thrive!

Pearl City Press publishes first title

Writers on the Avenue and Pearl City Press are thrilled to announce the publication of their first title, Misty Urban’s moving story collection Married, Living in Italy.

Hailed as “a keen observer of the human condition, a skillful wordsmith who writes with powerful clarity, and an absorbing storyteller who commands your attention,” Urban offers a sequence of beautiful, poignant stories “about what matters in all of our lives”–“grief, loss, longing, and survival despite it all.”

Look for your digital copy on Amazon or other favorite retailers and library services now, with a Nook version in progress. For those who prefer hard copy, the paperback will release on April 30. Please join me in offering a hearty thanks to the editorial board who helped launch the press and bring this book into being, and show your support for Pearl City Press by leaving Married, Living in Italy a glowing review!

Announcing the launch of Pearl City Press!

Writers on the Avenue is excited to announce the launch of our new publishing imprint, Pearl City Press.

The mission of Pearl City Press is to give voice to vibrant stories telling a human truth from a new or unheard perspective.

Check out the website for forthcoming titles and stay tuned for releases and giveaways. We at WOTA are looking forward to this next step of supporting writers and the literary arts in and around Muscatine and, now, beyond.

Seeking contributors!

MWC Press seeks contributions to a literary anthology titled These Interesting Times: Surviving 2020 in the QC.

What did you survive in 2020? What disasters—personal, communal, national, global—can you bear witness to? Sure, 2020 brought us the COVID-19 pandemic, a derecho and flooding, massive public protests along with economic insecurity, and a bitterly contentious election. But your disaster doesn’t have to have the most devastation or the highest body count.

We want to hear what was going on in the shadows, what may have been invisible to the mainstream news. Whether you were an essential worker or trapped in lockdown, on the front lines or dealing with something else entirely, tell us what you grappled with in 2020, and what you learned from it. We seek strategies for survival, testimony to resilience, witness to loss, and antidotes to despair.

Anyone who resides or works within the within the six counties that the MWC serves (Rock Island, Henry, and Mercer counties in Illinois and Scott, Muscatine, and Clinton counties in Iowa): Send us your work by January 31, 2021.

  • Prose: For fiction, essays, or creative non-fiction of up to 4,000 words: Email a double-spaced attachment in 12-pt font in rtf or docx format. Include identifying information, including name, phone number, email, and mailing address, on the first page.
  • Poetry and hybrid or mixed genre pieces (3 poems or up to 1500 words): email an attachment in pdf format. Include contact information in the email.
  • Visual art: Send an image or photograph in black and white, minimal 300-dpi resolution along with a caption, creator credit, and contact information in the text of the email.

Email submissions <at> mwcqc <dot> org. Include a brief cover letter and 100-word bio.

Legacy Book Press will provide contributors with a copy of the finished book. A portion of profits from the sale of the book will be donated to organizations in the QC area that support recovery and disaster relief services. The MWC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the literary arts and its creators.

We want to hear your story!

If you have a terrific story but want help writing it down, use this form to contact WOTA and we’ll get you in touch with an editor.