THE SOUTHEAST REVIEW’S WRITER’S REGIMEN PROGRAM AIMS TO INSPIRE
“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”— Joseph Heller
It’s been said by hundreds of writers hundreds of ways, each more eloquent than the last, and certainly more eloquent than this: writers write. They don’t moan about it. They don’t mow the lawn to avoid it, and they certainly don’t get stuck while doing it—counting the cursor’s every pulse, praying that inspiration will strike, and fearing with every silent second that it never will.
Except, they do. Of course they do.
Despite the proliferation of writing programs in schools across the nation, despite writing groups and conferences and online communities like Fictionaut, Writers Café, and others, there’s no getting around the fact that most writers do the difficult work of generating original material all by their lonesome. And it’s hard work. Sometimes doing it well can seem impossible. But there’s also no getting around the fact that for many of us, writing is our reason for being. It can help to impose meaning on chaos, forge meaningful connections with readers and other writers, and do the necessary work of exploring the possibilities, challenges, and rewards of being human.
At The Southeast Review, we read hundreds of submissions each year. Poems, essays, stories, interviews, book reviews, comics, and everything in between. There are few feelings as wonderful as reading a submission that glimmers from the first word with that special something—a confident voice, striking image, surprising premise, linguistic deftness, or some other distinctive element. It’s hard to predict what kind of work we’ll love because we don’t look for specific kinds of pieces. Rather, we want to be moved, and we are well aware that the works that move us are the result of a writer’s daily struggle against the ticking cursor while she or he molds essays that refuse to cohere, trims bloated stories, and invents language that takes poems past familiarity into a breathtaking newness.
Because we know how hard it can be to face that blank page, we at The Southeast Review developed our Writer’s Regimen Program. Participating writers receive emails for 30 consecutive days full of prompts and exercises applicable for all genres, craft talks from working writers and industry professionals such as poet Matthew Gavin Frank, literary agent Nat Sobel, and memoirist Jillian Schedneck, podcasts of live readings by literary icons like Barry Hannah, Ann Patchett, and Robert Olen Butler, as well as riff words and inspirational quotes designed to ignite any writer’s natural creativity. Each cycle costs only $15 and that entire fee is funneled directly into the production of The Southeast Review. All participants also receive a copy of SER’s most recent issue. We run four cycles per year—two new and two repeats—and our next re-run launches on December 1. To crank up the motivation, we invite participants to submit work at the end of the cycle for a chance at publication on SER Online. You can read the work of our most recent regimen’s winner, Susan Bulloch, here.
Writing may always be a solitary process, and it may never get any easier, but we at SER believe that daily doses of inspiration are the best cure for the writing block blues. If you agree, sign up before December 1 to try out our next cycle, and leave the lawn for another day.
- Guest Post, Katie Cortese: In Praise of (Short) Exercise(s) - February 2, 2014
- The Southeast Review’s Writer’s Regimen Program - November 29, 2012