Yes, last month was NaNoWriMo, but this month it’s the Southeast Review Writer’s Regimen. Last month focused on the novelist, which I am not. The latter of which is applicable to many genres.
This 30-day experience costs $15. With it comes the chance to be published, a free copy of the Southeast Review‘s stellar literary journal, daily prompts, networking with other writers though various media, and, of course, production.
On a more personal note I’m participating out of fear. Staying in the US for six weeks will certainly prove a shift in my lifestyle. It’ll throw me into first gear. I could lollygag all day with my dad. I could drink wine until the wee hours. I could sleep until the late afternoon. I could cook and eat until I can’t fit into my jeans anymore. Perish the thought of what that would do to the progress gleaned from National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo to us writers). Instead my daily schedule will include efforts toward keeping up writing productivity, honing my craft, reading and networking with other writers, and selling the final results.
Here’s How It Works
STEP ONE Each day the SER sends participants a writing prompt.
Today’s was scars. Without hesitation I seized the opportunity to materialize an essay extant only in journal form thus far. This particular essay can help me heal from a certain travel experience. My desire to do this reminds me of two Joan Didion quotes:
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”
STEP TWO Every day features a reading/writing exercise.
Today’s is a brief excerpt of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. For this fan of works from Oscar Wild through Truman Capote (and a few contemporary authors), this step will prove challenging. As December progresses, expect some literary squirming on these posts. To practice literary tropes I’m not practiced in and those I’ve never considered, however, will expand and enhance my skills.
STEP THREE A riff word should spur us on.
I rarely need inspiration when writing. I don’t need a word, image, or topic. What I need is structure and a little discipline. Hence, my second consecutive month of regimentation. However, I will agree to use today’s word, cumbersome, whenever and however it comes up. Scratch that. I will endeavor to use it, especially as it’s a sesquipedalian favorite of mine.
STEP FOUR Someone does the work for me.
That is, SER features a daily podcast. Today’s is by Tom Healy. He teaches about the musical obsessions of writers, a frightening notion to me as I, of late, have been thinking about my long-ago obsession with Andrew Bird.
STEP FIVE Participate in forums.
For this I’ll usually post on Facebook (for publicity), on select groups of SheWrites (for a shoulder to cry on or a cheerleader to root me on), and on blogs of other writers I know and admire.
Not all steps will proceed in a chronological manner each day. Not all steps will be followed every day. An effort will be made daily. An essay (and gracious knows what other literature) will result. Let my writing remain in third gear. Steer clear of sloth and lethargy, genetically modified foods and dairy. Ride along better life and writing regimens. And in case it’s still not second nature after by 1 January National Travel Writing Month is right around the corner.