DIY MFA Poetry Summit Review Plus My Poetry “Origin Story.”

I have done a few summit events by DIY MFA and also their 3-video course and reading challenge. Every single event has been so memorable, and DIY MFA is the go-to site I come back to for advice, resources and courses.

When I got an email announcing the poetry summit, I signed up straight away.

A big theme to start off each class is that of the “origin story,” or how you came to be interested in writing. I will include that specific origin story in another post, but for now here’s my poetry “origin story”.

When I was in the early years of Primary school (around the ages of 6 0r 7 and up for those of you who are not from the UK), I can remember that our usual teacher was away at one point and we had a substitute teacher called Mrs Wainwright. With her curly salt-and-pepper hair and kind, approachable manner, she soon became one of my favourite teachers.

She taught us poetry. I can remember feeling a lift inside my heart when it was reading time. I also recall that what I first enjoyed about the poetry genre was the rhythm of the words because, even though I didn’t understand all of them, it felt like music and was relaxing. I would try to look for the story in the words and was constantly curious as to what the poem was trying to say, and why the poet may have used specific words. I remember how the words of the poems would swim around in my head and intrigue me all day.

I decided to work on a poetry book for Camp NaNoWriMo some years ago because I wanted to represent myself in poetry, my life, my likes and dislikes as well as my feelings. At the time, I was part of Inked Voices online critique group and submitted some there. They did quite well there.

Since then, I have not gone back to poetry for lack of what to add to the project and also because of working on others, but now I have done the poetry summit by DIY MFA I am inspired to go back to my poetry as I have some topics I feel I could build a poem from.

The Poetry Summit included a video a day of around 45-50 minutes and there was one that was an hour long. I found this workload manageable compared to other summits.

There was a choice of what videos to sign up to during the signup process and as I love to learn and learn as much as possible, I signed up to them all. I was sent an email to say I was in and another with my schedule.

With other DIY MFA summits, I was able to view the videos directly via their website after signing up, but for this summit, I had to enter my email on the video page then check my email with the access link. The video then opened and loaded.

I have done another course with this layer of protection, but if you haven’t do not let this put you off. It’s a quick process, and nowadays with internet security going up, it is a good thing.

Once I was in, the fun could begin. Topics and speakers from the course were:

Reading, Writing and Building a Poetic Life by Kim Addonizio

Exploring Poetic Forms by Marilyn Singer

A Writer’s Journey. From Prose to Poetry by Kim Rogers

A Poet’s Eduction by Manuela Williams

A Deep Dive into Poetry by Danielle Mitchell

Imagery and Detail by Michael Torres

The Art of Teaching Poetry by Brendan Constantine

From Page to Stage by Marcus Omri

Can You Afford Not To? The Business of Writing Poetry by And I Thought Ladies

Building a Career as a Poet and Writer by Joseph Bruchac.

I thoroughly enjoyed them all. I loved Kim Addonizio’s enthusiasm, Marilyn Singer’s wit and Kim Rogers’ journey was fascinating. I gained a very good insight into Manuela Williams’ education as a poet and I identified with her love of libraries and books and still do. Danielle Mitchell’s deep dive was informative and she explained concepts well. I identified with her more difficult start because of the difficulties I experienced due to my physical disabilities.

Imagery and detail are something I love and include a lot in my writing projects so I identified with Michael Torres’ passion for this and gained an insight into the link between art forms (graffiti and poetry).

Brendan Constantine gave an interesting presentation class on teaching poetry.

From Page to Stage was insightful. I am a fan of books that reach the stage or cinema screen and have often wondered about the process so this showed me how to get there. This is what I would one day like for my books, for them to become a film or musical.

And I Thought Ladies were fun and realistic. I already do some of what they suggest as in use social media for sharing but was fascinated by the business side and indeed the clothing side.

Joseph Bruchac has a great story to tell and I enjoyed his and Kim Rogers’ mentions of indigenous culture within their lives and writing.

I would definitely recommend the Poetry Summit and liked it so much as it is a different approach to poetry, with author stories and anecdotes as well as a very good class from all the speakers.

Highly recommended whether you have experience with poetry or not.

Website Review: One Stop for Writers (Free Trial)

I’m starting a new series of posts to review writing sites I use. 

I found this website while on the search for writing resources. They were offering a 2 week trial so I signed up. The free trial ended today and I want to share my thoughts about the site with you. 
I automatically liked the colour scheme of the site, it seems to not overwhelm with bright colours or a bad design and black lettering on cream gives a professional look. 
Teal and dark orange for the circular icons looks nice. 
The site offers different features: character builder (walkthrough of this feature HERE). 

Theere is a scene creator, timelines, tutorials, story maps, ideas generator, thesauruses worksheets and tip sheets. 
The scene creator has inner and outer, motivation as well as inner and outer conflict. There’s also a primary emotion and what’s at stake in each scene. 
The character builder is also interesting. 
I use iPad VoiceOver, an inbuilt screen reader that the iPad has. I was able to use this site as I had it read out to me as the lettering is too small for me. 
I think the page would benefit from an accessibility tool to increase letter size and contrast on the page. I am unable to judge contrast at all so this would not help me, but for those who are able to it will be a good addition for this page to make it accessible for all. 
Want to find out more and see the site in action? Here’s a site walkthrough video

One Stop for Writers is also on YouTube.

The best thing is that all these resources are in one place. Try it today! There’s a 2 week free trial plus plans. 

My overall opinion is I like the resources on the site and it is cheaper than other sites. After the free trial, I am considering a plan. 

The Reading Rush 2019 Day 6 

Microsoft Word can create professional-looking documents for work, school, or home use. But do you know how to get the most out of this powerful application? In 30 minutes, author Angela Rose will show you how to become a power user of Word 2016 for Windows and macOS. Even if you have used MS Word in the past, this guide will demonstrate tools and time-saving tips that will help you make a bigger impact when writing letters, reports, essays, resumes, manuscripts, and other documents. Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes also covers Word Online, Microsoft’s free (but limited) online alternative.

Topics include:

* MS Word interface basics, from Backstage View to the Ribbon
* Office 365 subscriptions and OneDrive
* Display options for individual documents
* How to work with multiple windows in Microsoft Word
* Working with .docx, .doc, .txt, PDF, and other file formats in Word 2016 and Word Online
* Locating recovered files
* Printing documents, envelopes, and labels
* How to format text using the toolbar
* How to format Word documents using styles, themes, and style sets
* Creating Word documents with professional-quality templates
* How to create tables and charts in MS Word
* Adding images, video, and hyperlinks
* How to automatically create a table of contents in Word
* Adding footnotes, endnotes, citations, a bibliography, and an index
* Word spelling, tracking, and other reviewing tools
* Collaboration tools, from comments to live collaboration
* How to protect your Word document

There are lots of examples, screenshots, and offbeat anecdotes from the author. Whether you are new to Microsoft Word, or want to familiarize yourself with the new features and interface of Word 2016 compared to older versions (Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2007, Word 2003, etc.), Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes is a great guide.

My Review:

I have Word 2007 and the Word iPad app. I’ve been using Word with Dragon Dictation by Nuance Communications since I was at school. I’d always wanted to write books and Word is still my go-to programme for that. So many concepts are in this book. From editing to indents and paragraphs as well as styles and much much more.

A good book for anyone using Word at any level: a casual user, writer/ author or a student. I think everyone will get something out of this book. Good for dipping in and out of and it has well-structured chapters although the Protip boxes aren’t clear at all. I only knew what was in them as VoiceOver read everything out to me. The screnshots from Word were small in the eARC.

Thanks to Angela Rose for the eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntery review. 4 stars.

Book # 6 for The Reading Rush 2019

#NaNoPrep: My Take on a Writing Prompt

Today, I found a writing prompt in my email inbox and wanted a challenge so I used the prompt and this is what I came up with:

Well, the best of the best weren’t available… so we got the best of the mediocre.”

Tamsin neared the store. It was her favourite clothes shop. She looked at the SALE signs in the window before her eyes were drawn to the leopard-print dress. V- neck and with a full skirt, she gazed at the item longingly. There were some skyscraper heels to the right of the dress which was draped easily over the silhouette of a mannequin. She HAD to have the outfit. It would be great for her night out with the girls. Inside, she saw a group of women fighting over the clothes and accessories as if they were made of gold.

She looked everywhere for the dress and shoes. “Excuse me,” she said to the woman behind the desk. “The dress in the window, the leopard print one, and the shoes. I’m interested in them. I can’t find them.”

“Sorry, we’re sold out,” she said, not sounding the least bit sorry.

Tamsin turned on her heel, wandering back towards the piles of clothes. She had to find something. Suzi, Marta and her were going to the new cocktail lounge in town and the best of the best wasn’t available. She scoured the rails of mediocre-looking clothing, jeans and trousers. She spied some black trousers with a band of glitter down the side of the legs. She grabbed them as they were £20 down from £40. She only had her meagre paycheck from waiting tables at a diner-style restaurant. Better she go forgetting about the dress and shoes and keep looking.

“Hi!” She recognised the voice. It was Suzi, a blonde bombshell with bright pink lips. Today she was dressed in jeans and a top. Hugging Tamsin, she exclaimed, great to see you here!”
“You too!” Tamsin said.
“Hello girls!” Marta said, flashing her dazzling smile. The other two air-kissed her.

Her arms were piled high with dresses, tops and skirts.

“Hi Marta! Find anything good?”
Not as great as I hoped. I’m going to pay for all this now.”

“Take this,” Suzi handed her a £30 note “for my stuff.”
“Thanks, you are an angel.”

Marta paid and they left the shop, arms full of the best of the mediocre.

©2018 Katherine Claire Hayward

I’m looking forward to getting more NaNoPrep prompts in my inbox. Going to take part in a  webcast from NaNoWriMo HQ a little later today and am so far enjoying my NaNo Prep sessions.

Pen2 Paper Writing Contest

I’m always on the lookout for writing resources and I love competitions too. In the past, I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo where I drafted a novel within a month. There are so many writing resources out there, but many are not available for participants located outside of the USA.

Last week, I was emailed the link to a competition called Pen2Paper, hosted by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. The contest is free and open to writers internationally.  Submissions must be disability- themed and/ or have a main character with a disability. I ended up submitting a few chapters of a YA manuscript plus some of my memoir and a poem. Categories are Fiction Non- Fiction and Poetry..

The last day to submit is tomorrow, September 4th, so if you are interested, click the link below for more details or for the submission guidelines.  Pen2Paper Information and Submission Form

Best of luck if you do submit.

Sunday with a Sassy Shopaholic: An Early Birthday Present

This week, apart from checking some emails with beauty product offers and checking the Primark site, I did not find anything I was interested in. That was, until I found a reminder that my critique group subscription was going to expire. From experience, I know that life often gets in the way of things I love to do in my spare time like listening to an ebook or audiobook. I have, for the most part, managed to keep on top of my critiques of other people’s writing and also revisions of my own projects. I often listen to a book while doing something else.

I have been a member of a critique group called Inked Voices for the last six years and find it useful and fun. I have met interesting people and made some useful changes to my book drafts.  The group is online and is a site made up of many small groups for writers. I thought I’d treat myself ahead of my birthday in December because I get so much out of the site and feel it is a useful investment.  If you want to find out more or join, CLICK HERE