Monthly Archives: October 2014

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Happy_Holidays_(5318408861)With many of us still enjoying the fall colors and warm afternoons, it’s hard to believe that the holiday season kicks off next month. For writers, that thought can bring a wave of anxiety, knowing we have only weeks to write—I mean seriously write—before the holiday hustle and bustle set in. But don’t let anxiety keep you from making these next few weeks productive. In fact, now is a great time to get busy writing, make some sales, and get into the holiday spirit.

Need some suggestions on how to get started? Check out this list of holiday-themed writing ideas that’ll lure you straight to your computer.

  1. Think of a particularly funny, emotional, or inspirational anecdote from a past holiday—a long, lost relative who showed up at Christmas dinner; a historical blizzard that changed holiday plans; or a holiday prank that backfired. Write an essay for an anthology or draft a blog post.
  2. Re-read some of your favorite childhood holiday stories, then think of a new way to tell the story, using modern characters, settings, plot twists, and themes. Write your new holiday story and submit it to a children’s magazine.
  3. Need a deadline to get you motivated to write? Research holiday contests, like those from FanStory.com, and choose a contest with a theme that inspires you. Write your story or article, keeping in mind the deadline, and enter it in the contest.
  4. Write an acrostic poem about the holidays. Acrostic poems are easy and fun, and they can be written for personal enjoyment or sale. All you need to do to get started is come up with a holiday-related word. For more information on writing acrostic poems, see my earlier blog post.
  5. Pick an item in your home that reminds you of the holidays. It might be a knick-knack on your fireplace mantel, a table furnishing, a photograph, or just something with holiday colors. Use that item as a starting point for a mystery, romance, or historical fiction story.
  6. Have a favorite holiday recipe that you’re willing to share? Many magazines, websites, and newspapers look for recipe submissions to share with their readers. Consider writing a brief history or background to submit with your recipe.
  7. Many animals remind us of the holidays—reindeer, puppies, and cardinals, to name a few. Choose an animal that you associate with this time of year and research the connection. Write an article discussing the unique correlation between the animal and the holiday season.
  8. Pick a country that you would like to know more about and learn how they celebrate—if they celebrate—the holidays. Stories about other cultures are widely popular with both children and adults. Check Writer’s Market for publications that accept cultural holiday stories, and submit.
  9. If you’re looking for gift ideas, why not give the gift of your writing? Put together a booklet of holiday memories, with pictures, for friends and family. Or, make a calendar filled with favorite photos, and write a short description with each month’s entry.
  10. Start a holiday journal for personal use. Discuss your thoughts on the upcoming season and New Year. You might also use your journal to brainstorm for writing ideas, goals, and plans for the next few months or year ahead.

The holiday season is fast approaching, but there’s still plenty of time to write. Choose any or all of the above ideas, and make these next few weeks and months some of the most productive yet.

For more help on writing holiday stories, see last year's post For Some Festive Fun, Write a Holiday Story.

Image by Marcus Quigmire

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594px-Medieval_ghostHalloween is only 29 days away, but there’s still plenty of time to get into the spirit of this frightfully fun holiday. For writers, what better way to do this than to enter a spooky writing contest? Here are a few Halloween writing competitions worth a peek. They’re intriguing, they’ll inspire some creepy creativity this October, and they just might earn you a nice treat.  Check these out:

Every Writer Magazine’s Halloween Horror Contest. Perfect for the horror writer but also a good way to promote a literary magazine, book, or website, Every Writer’s Halloween Contest is open to the public, for stories under 1,000 words. The first place entry gets published in the magazine and on the website and receives three months of free ads (a $1,000 value). Deadline is October 20, 2014.

Writer’s Digest's Horror Story Contest. This contest falls under Writer’s Digest’s Popular Fiction Story Award Competitions. If you like writing longer stories, of up to 4,000 words, and have a knack for scaring readers, this might be the contest for you. A $2,500 grand prize, $500 first prize, and honorable mentions are all possibilities for contenders. Deadline is October 15, 2014. (Note: This contest has a $25 entry fee.)

Winona Public Library’s Haunted Halloween Writing Competition. Here’s a unique opportunity for Minnesota writers, 16 years and up. The Winona Public Library in Winona, Minnesota, is sponsoring a writing competition that will be voted on by the public. Stories must be 500 words or less and contain no vulgarity. A Target gift card and publication in The Winona Post go to the winner. Deadline: October 17, 2014.

FanStory's Horror Story Writing Contest. Need a little more time to get in the spooky mood? This contest from Fanstory.com doesn’t close until November 21, 2014. That gives you plenty of time to “put your readers on edge or terrorize them” with your horror story of 2,000 to 3,500 words. A cash prize will be awarded to the winner. Contests are free, but you must be a member of FanStory, which requires a minimal monthly fee.

Got a scary tale to tell? Get writing, and see how fruitful your frightfulness can be.

Image by Gallowglass