10 Ways to Celebrate National Grammar Day

National Grammar Day

National Grammar Day: March 4, 2013.

It’s March 4th. Every year on this day, word-nerds, linguists, and writers honor National Grammar Day. The event is hosted by Mignon Fogerty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl.

In Grammar Girl’s own words, “Language is something to celebrate, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”

So, how can we celebrate this day? What can we, as writers, do to further the cause of good grammar and improve our own writing by strengthening our grammar skills?

How to Celebrate National Grammar Day


  1. Download free grammar-day wallpapers for your computer desktop or pickup Puntu-icons, a free set of grammar-related icons that you can use on your website.
  2. Listen to the “Grammar Hall of Shame Playlist,” comprised of great songs with bad grammar. See if you can find at least one grammar mistake in each one.
  3. Use your blog or social media accounts to tell your friends and followers about National Grammar Day and to promote good grammar in general.
  4. If you’ve ever published or shared a piece of writing and later discovered an embarrassing typo, you’re not alone. Check out these funny typo stories.
  5. Educate yourself on the top ten grammar myths.
  6. Treat yourself to a style guide or grammar resource. I recommend Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, The Elements of Style, or The Chicago Manual of Style as the three best starter resources for writers.
  7. Explore good and bad grammar around the word by perusing Grammar Girl’s Flickr stream.
  8. Commit yourself to a week of learning grammar with this calendar of daily grammar tips.
  9. Send a National Grammar Day e-card to “the language lover or worst language offender in your life.”
  10. Read through Writing Forward’s own grammar tips. Find out why you should learn good grammar and learn how to make good grammar part of your daily life.

Last but not least, enjoy this “March Forth” video and make sure you click through to YouTube so you can check the “About” tab (beneath the video) to get the lyrics.

Now, march forth and embrace good grammar everywhere!

Writing Forward’s Milestones and Top Posts of 2012

2012 milestones writing forward

Writing Forward’s milestones and top posts of 2012.

Every year brings new readers and old friends to Writing Forward, and I am both honored and grateful to be a part of the wonderful online writing community.

Our readers (and fellow writers) have come a long way in the five years since I started this blog. Some of us have discovered the joy of writing for the first time and set out on a path to write as hobby or to pursue a professional career in writing. Some of us have launched blogs, gotten our work published, or self-published. We’ve worked to improve our writing and have reached out to connect with readers and the greater writing community.

I hope that writers all around the world will take some time at the end of the year to reflect on what we’ve each accomplished and to look ahead in considering our goals for the future, both as writers and as human beings. Read more

Writing Forward Celebrates Its Five-Year Anniversary

writing forward turns five

Writing Forward turns five years old.

On September 1, 2007, I launched Writing Forward. On that day, five years ago, I could never have imagined that it would become what it is today.

Back then, Writing Forward explored all forms of writing, not just creative writing. Posts about business writing and copywriting were mixed in with posts about fiction and poetry. I was excited if the site got ten visitors in a day. Now, it gets tens of thousands of visitors every month, and it’s been recognized twice by Writer’s Digest.

Writing Forward has been an incredible experience for me. Through it, I’ve found my voice, connected with tons of wonderful writers, and learned more about writing than I thought possible — and there’s more yet to learn!

However, the fifth anniversary of Writing Forward never would have happened without all of the passionate, supportive readers, friends, and fans. I offer my deepest thanks to everyone who has visited this site; from loyal subscribers to occasional passers-by, from quiet lurkers to active tweeters; all of you have made Writing Forward what it is today.

Time for Change


In honor ofWriting Forward’s fifth anniversary, I decided to change the schedule a little. I usually publish new posts two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Starting this week, we’ll switch to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, and on Fridays, I’ll update and publish some of my favorite posts from the past. There are hundreds of posts in the archives, many of which I’d like to revisit and freshen up.

I’m also thinking about adding a new topic. You can see the list of topics we explore across the top of the page, under the header. I have a few ideas knocking around in my head, but if there are any writing-related subjects that I don’t cover here, but that you’d like to see addressed, let me know by leaving a comment.

Let’s Celebrate! 101 Creative Writing Exercises on Sale All Month

To celebrate our five-year milestone, I’ve dropped the price of 101 Creative Writing Exercises. Throughout the month of September, the Kindle and all Smashwords versions will be 99¢ and the paperback will be available at Amazon for just $6.99.

101 Creative Writing ExercisesThis book is perfect if you’re looking for creative writing ideas, want to acquire new writing tools and techniques, or just want to get more writing practice. It takes you on a writing adventure through fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Click here to check out some samples before you buy.

Amazon Paperback
$6.99

101 Creative Writing Exercises Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
99¢

101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle
Smashwords
99¢
101 Creative Writing Exercises Smashwords

Thank you all for your support. Here’s to another five years (and many more) of writing!

Kindle Edition of 101 Creative Writing Exercises on Sale for 99¢

101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

From now through Sunday, 7/22, you can download the Kindle edition of my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises, for just 99¢.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of creative writing.

You’ll experiment with fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. You’ll discover literary terms and writing techniques that will enhance your writing skills. You’ll explore new ideas that will invigorate your writing and inspire you.

Most importantly, you’ll get plenty of writing practice by completing these exercises. Every exercise also includes a variation, so you get double for your money.

What are you waiting for? Pick up 101 Creative Writing Exercises now.

The Reviews Are Coming In

In March, I held a haiku contest and gave away three copies of the book. Marlon Manalese, one of the winners, was kind enough to post a video review. Here’s what he had to say about 101 Creative Writing Exercises:

Thanks, Marlon. Your video review made my day!

Remember, the sale ends on Sunday, 7/22. Get your copy today:
Amazon Kindle
99¢101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)

“I believe the universe created us; we are an audience for miracles. In that sense, I guess, I’m religious.” – Ray Bradbury, AARP Magazine

Beloved author Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

He was best known for his collection of short stories, The Martian Chronicles and his novella Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian story about a future in which books — all books — are banned. Ironically, Fahrenheit 451 itself was banned from some schools — not mine though. I first discovered Ray Bradbury when I was assigned the text in high school. I read it in one sitting and became a huge fan of Mr. Bradbury’s work.

In fact, I consider him to be the grand master of contemporary science fiction. Maybe someone else already officially holds that title, but few science fiction writers hold a candle to Bradbury’s voice, prose, and storytelling. He was a master of the craft, a true magician.

The Life and Times of Ray Bradbury

“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it.” – Ray Bradbury, Beyond 1984: The People Machines


I’ve collected some links to interviews, obituaries, a short story, and other interesting pieces about Mr. Bradbury on the web. I promise you won’t be disappointed. In addition to being a brilliant writer, he was a fascinating person:

Short Story by Ray Bradbury (downloadable PDF): “There Will Come Soft Rains

Writing Advice: Ray Bradbury’s Best Writing Advice

Buzzfeed: 20 Of Ray Bradbury’s Thoughts On Life, Death, And Writing

The Paris Review: Interview with Ray Bradbury

NPR obituary: ‘Fahrenheit 451′ Author Ray Bradbury Dies At 91

Neil Gaiman: A moving tribute to Ray Bradbury

“Science fiction is the fiction of ideas.” – Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was inspired and inspiring. See for yourself:

“Looking back over a lifetime, you see love was the answer to everything.” – Ray Bradbury.

Express your thoughts about Ray Bradbury and share any links about his life and work by leaving a comment.

Goodreads Giveaway: 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Giveaway: 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

Have you been thinking about picking up a copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises but haven’t gotten around to it yet?

Here’s your chance to get one for free.

From today through Monday, June 11, I’m hosting a giveaway on Goodreads, the ultimate social networking site for bookworms.

To enter, all you need is a Goodreads account (it’s free). Once you’re logged in, click the link below to enter the giveaway for your chance to win. The contest is open to residents of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.

Enter to win a free copy of
101 Creative Writing Exercises

Goodreads is a haven for readers and writers alike. The site allows you to add books you want to read and rate and review books you’ve already read. It’s a great way to keep track of your reading. You can also interact with other readers and share your recommendations. Plus, there are plenty of special features for authors, and since Goodreads is populated with passionate readers, it’s a author’s dream.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises


101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of creative writing.

  • Explore different forms and genres by writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.
  • Discover useful writing concepts that will build your skills.
  • Create new writing projects or rejuvenate existing projects with fresh ideas.

Each chapter focuses on a different form or writing concept: freewriting, journaling, memoir, fiction, poetry, article and blog writing, characters, and dialogue are all covered.

These exercises are fun yet practical. They impart literary and storytelling devices while inspiring writing projects that you can submit or publish.

Ideal for new and experienced writers alike, this book will enlighten and inspire you with exciting new ideas.

Click here to enter for your chance to win
a free copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises in the Goodreads giveaway

Writing Forward Named One of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers (Again)

101 best websites for writers 2012

Writing Forward named one of the 101 best websites for writers.

Every spring, Writer’s Digest publishes a list of the 101 best websites for writers.

It’s a huge honor for any website to make the list. Writer’s Digest is a highly respected publication. Every issue is filled with useful writing resources that cover everything from the craft to the business of writing.

Best of all, the magazine encompasses writers at all levels. Whether you’re just starting out or are already a successful, published author, you’ll find plenty of wisdom inside.

One of the most difficult chores for writers is sifting through the countless writing-related websites available in search of the gems that prove to be a valuable use of your time. That’s why, for more than a decade, we’ve been busy scouring the web for you, rummaging through every online resource imaginable to simplify your search and bring you the best of the best – Writer’s Digest May/June 2012 issue.


The list is jam-packed with websites that offer insight on every aspect of writing.

Writing Forward first made the list in 2009, and I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve done it again, selected as one of the best “from this year’s record-setting 4,350 nominations.” Wow!

Writing Forward was placed in the writing-advice category, and it’s an incredible honor to be recommended by such a prestigious publication and listed among such excellent writing-related websites.

Welcome, Writer’s Digest Readers!

It’s privilege to welcome the readers of Writer’s Digest to Writing Forward. I hope you will all find value here as well as inspiration for your writing endeavors. I encourage you to participate by sharing your thoughts in the comments. You can also engage with our audience by submitting a guest post.

Thank You!

I want to give special thanks to Dani of Positively Present – for alerting me to the good news, for being a supportive friend of Writing Forward over the past few years, and for tons of great posts on staying positive.

Finally, to all of you writers who have subscribed, commented, emailed, shared our posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites: your participation, feedback, and suggestions keep me going. Without you, none of this would be possible. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Subscribe to Writer’s Digest

writers digest

For less than $20, you can get eight issues of Writer’s Digest packed with insightful writing tips, advice for getting published, and even working as a freelance writer. This magazine covers everything from the writing process to marketing your work.

Some of the best-loved and most respected authors in the world have been featured in Writer’s Digest. Plus, the magazine accepts submissions and pays writers quite well for any work they accept for publication. Subscribe to Writer’s Digest today.

Now, let’s get back to writing.

101 Creative Writing Exercises – Kindle Edition on Sale for 99 Cents

101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Do you have a Kindle or smart phone? If so, you can get a copy of my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises for just 99¢ now through Sunday 4/29.

The paperback is also on sale for just $5.99.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of writing.

You’ll experiment with fiction, poetry, journaling, blogging, and more. Each exercise imparts literary terms or writing techniques, so you’ll learn about the craft of writing as you make your way through the book.

In any craft or career, practice is essential. Surely, by now you’ve heard that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at any craft. That means you’ll spend 10,000 hours writing before your working at the expert level. Writing exercises are an excellent way to gain practice and practical experience.


These exercises are designed to teach you about writing and to give you plenty of practice, but they will also inspire you. If you’ve ever struggled with having too many ideas, not enough ideas, or simply trying to find the right idea, then you know how vital inspiration can be. This book is packed with it.

Every exercise also includes a variation, so you get double for your money.

 On sale now through Sunday, 4/29.
Amazon Paperback
$5.99101 Creative Writing Exercises Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
99¢101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle

Adrienne Rich (1929 – 2012)

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012)

“The serious revolutionary, like the serious artist, can’t afford to lead a sentimental or self-deceiving life.” ― Adrienne Rich

Last week, the brilliant poet and pioneering feminist Adrienne Rich passed away. The world has lost a profound voice, but Adrienne’s poetry and prose will certainly live on.

I first read Adrienne’s poetry in a class on women writers, which was easily my favorite literature course during college. We read “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” as one of our assignments, and I fell in love with the poem. In fact, it was one of the first poems that I truly studied, reading it over and over to absorb every nuance.


The poem does exactly what I think poetry is supposed to do: it paints a picture, it’s rich with emotion, it uses symbolism and metaphor, and it carries a subtle but deeply meaningful message. It makes you think. It invites you to read it aloud and to read it again. To this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite poems.

“Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” is presented in full (on page two) of the New York Times obituary: “A Poet of Unswerving Vision at the Forefront of Feminism.”

Remembering Adrienne Rich

The Los Angeles Times also published an obituary highlighting Adrienne Rich’s contributions and accomplishments:

She came of age during the social upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s and was best known as an advocate of women’s rights, which she wrote about in both her poetry and prose. But she also wrote passionate antiwar poetry and took up the causes of the marginalized and underprivileged. (from the Los Angeles Times obituary: “Adrienne Rich dies at 82; feminist poet and essayist“)

The Poetry Foundation has assembled articles and essays commemorating Adrienne Rich’s life and legacy: “Remembrances of Adrienne Rich Abound.”

New Verse News has published a poem by Bill Sullivan, which is simply titled “Adrienne Rich (1929-2012).”

Adrienne’s Language

“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” ― Adrienne Rich

To celebrate Adrienne Rich’s life and legacy, I thought I’d share a poem that I wrote many years ago, shortly after I first discovered her work. This was for a class assignment in which we were asked to write a creative response to a poem of our choosing. I chose “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” and wrote a response in the voice of Aunt Jennifer.

Adrienne’s Language

A Creative Response to “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” by Adrienne Rich

Adrienne’s language settles across the page
Black symbols of her thoughts embedded,
engraved in deliberate books. Unafraid
of readers’ mindful eyes. Her lovely lullabies
sing and cry. Brave

niece – she grips the pen in hand,
scrawling the notions of life and
the images of living. Her heart lay
open for all to see, for me, my tigers.

Her words set the scene: tales alive
and breathing. Recount the memory, recount.
Counting stitches of her stories – her own
tapestries, done up in Adrienne’s language.

By Melissa Donovan

“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.” ― Adrienne Rich

*All quotes are from Goodreads

 

Winners Announced for the Haiku and Six-Word-Story Contest

101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises

I’m pleased to announce that three winners have been selected for Writing Forward‘s first contest.

To enter the contest, participants were required write either a haiku or a six-word story and share their entry as a comment on the contest post.

There were some lovely poems and stories, and I encourage you to check them out.

Winners were selected with a random number generator and will each receive one copy (Kindle or paperback — winners’ choice) of my recently published book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

All of the winners have been sent emails and will need to claim their prizes by responding to claim their prizes. If you are a winner and did not receive your winning email notification, then check your spam filter or email me directly.

The Winners


Danielle of D’s Poetry Corner was entrant number 6 and entered the following haiku:

Daylight Savings Time
Springing Forward, We Forgot
How We Needed Sleep

Carol Fillmore was entrant number 10 and entered the following haiku:

Ideas spawning
leaping rollicking in a
stream of consciousness

Marlon of ShadowCrowX (YouTube channel) was entrant number 39 and entered the following haiku:

Tranquility found
Within the depths of music
Brings joy to silence

Congratulations to all of the winners and to everyone who wrote wonderful haiku and stories and shared them with us.

About 101 Creative Writing Exercises

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of creative writing. Explore different forms and genres by experimenting with fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Discover effective writing concepts, tools, and techniques. Create projects you can publish. Ideal for new and experienced writers alike, this book will enlighten and inspire you with exciting new ideas.

Win a Free Copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises!

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Win a free copy!

Have you been thinking about picking up a copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises but haven’t gotten around to it yet?

Here’s your chance to get one for free.

It’s Writing Forward’s first official contest, and all you have to do to enter is write a haiku.

Three lucky winners will each get one copy (Kindle or paperback — winners’ choice) of my recently published book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

About the Book

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an adventure through the world of creative writing. Explore different forms and genres by experimenting with fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Discover effective writing concepts, tools, and techniques. Create projects you can publish. Ideal for new and experienced writers alike, this book will enlighten and inspire you with exciting new ideas.


The Rules

  • To enter, write a haiku and leave it as a comment on this post. As an alternative, you can write a six-word story.
  • When you fill out the comment form, make sure you enter a valid email address where I can reach you (your email address will not be published; only I can see it).
  • One entry per person.
  • In order to enter, you must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada.

That’s it! Easy as pie.

The contest will run for one week, so I’ll close the comments on this post at midnight Monday, March 19. Winners will be drawn using a random number generator and will be announced here and contacted privately by email. Winners who choose to receive a paperback copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises will need to provide either an Amazon account or shipping address. Prizes will ship out before March 31st.

Good luck, and happy writing!

101 Creative Writing Exercises: Now Available on Amazon

101 Creative Writing Exercises

Are you ready for an adventure?

101 Creative Writing Exercises takes you on an exciting journey through the world of creative writing.

You’ll explore different forms and genres by experimenting with fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. You’ll discover effective writing tools and techniques. And you’ll create projects that you can submit and publish.

Ideal for new and experienced writers alike, this book will enlighten and inspire you with fresh ideas.

101 Creative Writing Exercises

You’ll learn a lot by simply reading these exercises, which impart writing concepts as well as literary and storytelling devices.

Each chapter focuses on a different form or subject: freewriting, journaling and memoir, fiction and storytelling, form poetry and free verse, article and blog writing, people and characters, and dialogue are all covered.

The exercises in this book are designed to give you plenty of writing practice while inspiring practical ideas for your writing projects. Let the adventure begin!

Amazon Paperback
101 Creative Writing Exercises Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
101 Creative Writing Exercises Kindle