Marching into March 2021 – Write Now Columbus

Marching into March 2021 – Write Now Columbus


Write Now Columbus

Dear Writers:

Nita here. Anyone else breathing a teensy sigh of relief? Sunshine, warmer temps, and vaccines in lots of arms (I’m up soon) are making me almost hopeful. Too soon to party (please don’t gather, yet) but tiny relief vibes happening here.

Meanwhile, I’m focused on one of the many things they don’t teach you in MFA school, growing my “Author Nita Sweeney” email list.

Many of you have trudged along with me here the past 18 years, and I’m grateful. But not all of you are interested in mental health, meditation, writing practice, running, and dogs.

So, I created a separate newsletter.

If you are interested in meditation, dogs, mental health, running, and writing practice, please SUBSCRIBE!

You can view the archive to see what you’re getting yourself into. Or you can download Three Ways to Heal Your Mind and that will subscribe you as well.


Tami is doing well, but still preoccupied with good cause. She sent another sweet note:

Hello and Happy March.

While I’m not going to join Nita in any marathons any time soon, I am proud to say that at three weeks post-knee surgery, things are looking good for a total recovery. That’s exciting, of course, because I anticipate resuming activities I couldn’t enjoy before surgery. Watch out pickleballers, kayakers and slow grocery browsers. Pretty soon, I shall leave you in a cloud of dust.

In the meantime, Write Now Columbus!


Donations continue to trickle in. We’re so grateful for each donation to help us pay our expenses. We’re holding off on the subscription option for now due to the fees, but feel free to donate monthly or send an annual donation.

To contribute, click DONATE. That takes you to a page with a paypal button. Or, you can email Nita for an address to send a check. We spend every penny toward keeping the site, the server, the email sending service, etc. etc. up and running.

If you have any questions, you can reach Nita and Tami at

As your donations and sponsorships allow, we will move Write Now Columbus to its own website.


The number of events on the calendar continues to increase since everyone finally gets zoom! The calendar shows 35 events (up from 27 last month) this month. We will add any we learn of as the month goes on.

Just a reminder that applications are open for the Kenyon Review Writers Workshops. They occur in June and July.

If you know of an event we haven’t listed, please email Tami and I at and we will add it. And if we can do anything else to help you, please reach out.

Thanks always for reading and have a great month!

~ Nita and Tami

Nita Sweeney, Publisher
Tami Kamin Meyer, Editor
(c)Write Now Columbus, 2021, all rights reserved

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: If you purchase anything from the affiliate links on this page or in this email, Write Now Columbus will receive a portion of the proceeds. This helps us keep the website up and the internet on.


CONTEST FOR WOMEN WRITERS – The Effie Lee Morris Writing Contest is open to women writers in many genres. Check out the submission guidelines for details. Deadline March 31, 2021.

PITCH-O-RAMA PLUS! – This event, a fabulous opportunity meet and pitch to agents and editors, is usually held in the Bay Area. But, pandemic! Register here to Zoom in.

HIRE US – Did you know you can hire Tami and/or Nita?

  • Nita offers one-off consultation sessions to help writers find authentic material, navigate the writing and publishing process, and share her many resources and extensive experience.
  • Tami is a seasoned freelance writer, editor, and attorney, always on the lookout for interesting gigs including ghost writing.

~ Contact either (or both) of us at


Want to feature your new book? Teaching a class soon? Need more participants in your workshop? If you or your organization would like to sponsor an issue of Write Now Columbus, the fee is $10 per issue or $25 for three. Contact Nita or Tami at for more information.

DONATIONS to Write Now Columbus are gratefully accepted. To Donate, Click Here.



CHECK OUT Nita’s EVENTSThe place to view them on one convenient page.

Read the ARCHIVES. Previous Write Now Columbus essays are archived on Nita’s website.


You received this newsletter either because you signed up for it at, on Nita’s Facebook Page, or by replying to an invitation. If you do not want to continue receiving it, see “Get off the List,” below.

STAY ON THE LIST: If your email address changes and you still want to receive the newsletter, email us. While this may seem obvious, but if you’re like us, the havoc of changing something as essential as an email address may cause you to lose sight of other important things (like a monthly writing newsletter).

GET OFF THE LIST: Click here to avoid receiving future emails from us.

SUBMISSIONSWrite Now Columbus accepts submissions of writing events, on-going writing groups and open mics only. We do not currently accept articles, markets, or contests except through sponsorship. Please send an email with date, time, place, cost and contact information. We reserve the right to revise submissions and press releases.

DEADLINEWrite Now Columbus is published on the 3rd of each month. If you want an event to be on the calendar before the monthly email goes out, please send it before the 25th of the month unless the event is on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. For those dates, please submit it the month before. (e.g. For a May 4th event, submit by April 25th. For a May 3rd event, submit by the March 25th.) But please send events any time. We can add them to the calendar whenever you send them.

SUGGESTIONS or COMMENTS: Please email us with ideas, quotations, or formatting tips that might make this newsletter more readable, manageable, helpful, workable. It’s your newsletter. We’re just typing. You may contact Nita via snail mail at: 3801 Norbrook Drive, Columbus, OH 43220 or either of us at

PARANOID EX-LAWYER’S RELEASE: We’re tired. We appreciate your patience. If you find an error, please use your inside voice to let us know. We’ll do our best to correct it.

Rethinking the Purpose of a Title

Rethinking the Purpose of a Title

When I first began blogging in April of 2006, I thought of each title the way a poet might. The title didn’t so much introduce the “poem” (blog article) as enhance it. It was its own “line” in the poem.

I was idealistic and much younger then. I was still in MFA school.

And, I hadn’t read this stack of books on using social media effectively.

In the age of Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook business pages, a title must do more than entertain. A title must make a promise. The article must fulfill it.

With overburdened schedules and a flood of information, readers scan titles for the helpful or entertaining. It is the age of the micro-blog, the mini-article, the itsy bitsy essay. If the title doesn’t catch a reader’s attention, it is lost.

You’ve probably already noticed a change here. What I might have previously titled, “The Farmer” became “Good? Bad? How Can You Tell?” and what I contemplated calling, “The Introvert’s Dilemma” was posted as “Twitter for Introverts.” These are still creative, I hope, but more informative. They promise information.

Don’t worry. I’ll still post photos of #Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog with silly titles.

Those promise to entertain!

And now I shall go enter “Effective Blog Titles” into the google machine and see if the experts agree.

A Contact Sport

“Writing is like a contact sport, like football. You can get hurt, but you enjoy it.” – Irwin Shaw

I’m incredibly fortunate. In MFA school where critiques can be brutal, professors Aimee Liu, Diana Gould, and Victoria Nelson were gentle in their criticism of my graduate school work. Their words were sometimes difficult to hear, but they weren’t mean or bitter and I knew they wanted nothing but the best for me.

Recently a former MFA advisor from the college I attended, thankfully he never advised me, wrote an essay criticizing his students after he had resigned. In reading his essay, I’m not sure why anyone wanted to study with him anyway. He had little respect for his students except for a handful he referred to as the “real deal.” If I’d been assigned to him I would have asked for a different advisor as others did. And no, I’m not going to dignify him by linking his article or giving his name. If you must, sniff the interwebs for a recent essay by a jaded former MFA professor.

So be careful choosing who reads your work. Back in 2002, a close friend who had just begun to write made the mistake of giving her work to a former English teacher she met at yoga. There’s nothing inherently wrong with former English teachers or yoga, but my friend realized too late that this woman was angry and blocked. There’s little more effective than a blocked writer armed with the rules of grammar to kill a fledgling writer’s mojo. The teacher’s comments were petty and stung enough that my friend has written hardly a word since. Stories like this are endless. Some might say my friend wasn’t meant to write if she couldn’t withstand the criticism. I disagree. I think she subjected herself to criticism too early and trusted her work to the wrong kind of person before she’d built some resilience.

For my previous books, I hired two different editors after researching and getting references. I found their feedback genuine and helpful even though it sometimes hurt. Through the years, I’ve also carefully gathered a supportive net of what the youngsters like to call “beta readers.” I’ve met these writers through classes, groups, and happy coincidences. For the manuscript of Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two, I chose both runners and non-runners. But all were writers in some stage of an active writing process. None of them were blocked and none of them struck me as angry, bitter people. I respect each of them and will gladly read each of their work in return. Much of the feedback I’ve received is positive and the recommended changes honest and respectful. This is the kind of criticism I can hear.

How do you find critique partners for your work? How have you built a spine to help you hear criticism? I’d love to hear about it.

Holly Lisle Courses Now Open!

I don’t write much about the two courses I’m taking from novelist Holly Lisle because, until today, they were closed. But now THEY’RE OPEN!!!

Holly’s course “How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers” is nothing if not comprehensive. It starts by examining our limiting beliefs as writers and continues through writing a book and on to the marketing phases. This includes how to generate ideas, how to narrow those ideas to the ones that are most marketable, how to outline a book, how to write a book, how to revise a book (it includes a very streamlined version of her other course “How to Revise Your Novel”), and includes how to market a book. At present there are 26 chapters and you can either sign up to receive the lessons weekly or every other week. If you want more information, here’s my affiliate link for How To Think Sideways.

Additionally, “How To Revise Your Novel” is opening too. Admission is limited to those people who have a completed first draft of a novel and the class usually fills quickly. It’s only offered a few times a year. It runs twenty-one weeks (five months). Although, I warn you, it is taking me much longer to do this thorough of a revision. And that’s okay. Many others are moving slowly through it with me. This class is so much more in depth than any work I’ve done so far, even in MFA school. Craft is the focus, but that’s what I needed. If you’re interested in getting more information about this course, here’s my affiliate link for How to Revise Your Novel.

Please note that these courses assume a lot of responsibility on the part of the student. You are left to do the work on your own. It’s like being a “real” writer!!! You get the lessons that she’s written based on her many years of novel writing and you get the forums. She has published at least 30 novels – mostly fantasy and romance. While you get minimal direct attention from Holly herself, you get attention from the moderators on the forums who are students Holly has chosen to assist her. And you get the wisdom of all the other writers who are doing the course at the same time. Every question I’ve had has been answered on the forums. It’s sort of like MFA school without the cost and with most folks writing genre novels. There’s interesting discussions on and off-topic and helpful feedback on your work and on the lessons. It has been exactly what I needed to continue what I started at Goddard.

If you decide to take either course, I’ll see you in the forums.

Regardless, continued good luck with your writing!


“Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.” – Oscar Wilde

When the writing is slow, I fear I’ve forgotten everything I know about how to write a book. Everything I learned in all my years with best-selling author Natalie Goldberg. Everything I learned in MFA school. Everything I have read in writing books. Everything I’ve gleaned from reading the books that I love. Everything. This might be a good thing. Perhaps I have to start from ground zero with each book and learn all over again how to write. Each book has its own rules.

A friend reminded me that what I know has been absorbed so deeply, I might not remember it. It’s in my bones. I hope she’s right. Currently it feels like I’m taking Polaroid photographs. I want a refined end product, but I want it now. I find it frustrating to wait while the image develops. Each time I go through the work, the characters become clearer, the images brighter. Only in the end will the picture be clear.

With writing, unlike Polaroids, there’s work to be done beyond swinging the thing back and forth or blowing on it hoping it will dry faster. The writer needs to stay in the book. Sometimes this means reading sections and moving things around. Since I’m still working at the macro level, I often find myself rearranging scenes and writing notes. Sometimes it means writing placeholders for scenes that need to be written or simply daydreaming about the next place my main character needs to go in order for the story to move along. The micro-edit will come later. All the while, the details of my characters become more focused.

Writing is not for the faint of heart. When I hear my heart pounding, I worry that it’s a heart attack. But writing is still the thing I love best. The picture will grow sharp if I’m willing to do the work.

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