Share your success

Have you had a poem, short story, essay or other literary piece recently published? Congratulations! Now share it with us.

We will help promote your success. Message us on Facebook with the details or comment below. It’s an efficient way to announce your accomplishment to the Carroll community and your social media outlets.

No publication success yet? Don’t fret! Check out our contests page for places to submit your work.  Write on.

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April 2: Ex Fabula Event

Join Ex Fabula on Wednesday, April 2nd, for a StorySlam on the theme of “Fool Proof.” Arrive at the Hot Water Wherehouse on 818 S Water St. The show starts promptly at 7:30 PM, and for optimal seating and shorter drink lines, we recommend coming closer to 6:30 when the doors open.

Non-members pay only $7.00 at the door (cash only) to cure the hump-day blues with a rousing round of true and personal stories. If you want to tell your 5 minute story, please arrive early (6:30 is ideal) to get your name in the hat. We’ll draw names at random, and we reserve 3 of our 9 slots specifically for first-timers.

For more information, click here.

Write what you know

Each person has a wealth of experiences, memories, and sources of inspiration. Still, the applicability of the classic “write what you know” adage can seem a bit uncertain in all genres except for direct memoir. But there is a multitude of ways to apply world experience to your writing. 

Nonfiction

  • Everything must be based on fact and observations, be it the writer’s own or sources from research. In the first case, the writer has already been moved to write by an experience directly. In the latter, a writer’s own experience can help frame the events that they are depicting. A historian may not know what it is like to be in a tank under fire, but perhaps they have known mortal fear of another kind: a car crash, a robbery. Keeping these details in mind can make the writing seem more authentic.

Fiction

  • Writers may struggle to understand how to use their experiences as inspiration.  The key it to steal from your experience in bits and pieces. A vacation to Florida, for example, provides many sources of inspiration other than a scene where a character flies to Florida: the change in temperature leaving the cool plane into the too-hot terminal, the cognitive dissonance of travelling thousands of miles in hours, the dozens of accents and overheard conversations in an airport. Use these moments as inspiration.

Academic

  • How could any real life experience apply to writing a biology paper or a capstone essay? Isn’t academic writing by definition dry, boring, and devoid of personal experience? Not so! Different experiences give perspective from which to observe the environment around you. On a deeper level, this kind of experience gives you the most vital tool needed in academic writing– the ability to think analytically and judge a topic, passage, or experiment from as many perspectives as possible.

Don’t let the adage become confining. Instead, understand that it calls upon a writer to use the sum of their experiences and knowledge in innovative and evocative ways.

Where We Write

Where do you find your spark of creativity? In what place do you feel most comfortable, open and successful? This article brings to light the importance of place for writers and why it is important for each writer to find his/her place.

Robert Creeley said “the necessary environment is that which secures the artist in the way that lets him be in the world in a most fruitful manner.” In other words, writers should look to find a place that will allow them to access their creativity, a place that will most successfully bring their writing to life. Ernest Hemingway preferred to write standing up while Jane Austen found success among her family life. Toni Morrison found success in a motel room, and Robert Frost could use the sole of his shoe as a tabletop.

It’s not all about finding physical location, though; time and space also play into the matter. Many writers begin writing before the sun comes up. Poet Tom Sleigh likes to write while on trains because for him that is “meditative, calming and interesting for the way the scenery keeps flashing by.”

How does this work for college students? We must find the place that suits our lifestyle.

Check out the spaces near you.

For the writers seeking silence and solitude on campus:

  • Dorm room
  • Empty classrooms around campus (check out Main’s top floor!)
  • Unoccupied practice rooms in Shattuck Hall
  • The Reading Room in the Todd Wehr Library

For the writers seeking a place with some background noise:

  • The lounge areas in the dorms
  • Any of the dining areas
  • Second Cup
  • The Learning Commons in the basement of the library
  • Any of the computer labs on campus

For all you writers who can write anywhere and at any time, more power to you! Keep doing your thing.

When and where do you write best? Comment below.

Like Us to Win Stuff

We know you can’t buy friendship. That’s why we’re giving away gift cards to local Waukesha businesses.

Simply “like” us on Facebook and you’ll be entered to win. We’ll draw a winner when we reach 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 likes. Winners will pick from the following businesses.

Are you already a supporter? Don’t worry. You’re automatically entered to win!

Student Reflection: AWP Conference

12,000 people attended the Association of Writing and Writing Programs conference in Seattle this year. I didn’t know 11,998 of them. At first, that idea is disheartening because most of them have been published, have books, and have won major awards. Still, I only recognized two names going into the conference. After the initial day and the first few panels, I started to realize that no one here cared if they were famous. No one needed to be beloved by the masses. The people at AWP wanted to write, not be writers.

By that I mean most people have this preconceived notion about what a writer is: someone whose work is a best seller; someone who wins the Pulitzer; someone who publishes around the world. Not many people at AWP fit that description. I did see Gary Snyder, who was closest to that depiction, and being one of the two names I knew. I also saw and met Pamela Painter, who wrote a textbook I used. She hasn’t won a Pulitzer. Still, the advice and stories they gave both resonated with me, as well as countless other stories I heard throughout the four days.

The writers at AWP love writing. They love talking about it, learning about it, and most of all, doing it. I went to a panel of struggling writers (I felt I could relate), and even though they have not hit it big, they still write. They care about their books and poems. They want their work to go into the world, even if, as one writer said, just your grandma and aunts see it.

If there is one thing I’m taking away from AWP, it’s that it is possible to get your work out there. There are hundreds of lit mags and small presses, and someone will want to publish your work. It shouldn’t matter if that place is Ploughshares or Burnt District. As writers, we want to write and have our little written babies go out into the world. If we have drive and patience, they will, but there are forces beyond our control which determine just how “famous” we become. I know now that I will always be a member of the 12,000, and I will probably never give the keynote address at AWP. I am totally fine with that because, along with everyone else at AWP, I want to write more than I want to be a writer.