Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 19, 2017

The pile of manuscripts on my desk. Providing feedback for these folks makes me a better writer.

I’ve been providing a lot of feedback to writers lately through Mud Season Review. It’s one of the ways we keep the journal funded, but for me, it’s also a writing exercise.

Let me explain. In the past month or so, I’ve read someone’s novel, an essay collection, and four short stories. For each of these I’ve written a 1,500-word analysis, and I’ve made an effort to write a response of some kind on every page of the manuscript. It’s the kind of feedback I hope we’re giving each other in BWW workshops.

Anyway, doing this has really changed how I write. I’m learning how to articulate how I’m feeling as I read, and perhaps more importantly, I’m learning what I don’t want to see in prose. I’m learning what frustrates me as a reader. When I sit down to write my own work, I’m much more conscious now of what pleases me most as a reader, and what would please my ideal reader.

This, I think, is one of the key things about the BWW’s service. We get feedback on our own work, which is helpful, but it’s important to remember that giving feedback is not a purely altruistic act. You get something from it, assuming you put serious thought into it.

This is just to say: We’ve got many opportunities for you to exercise the feedback muscle. Here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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Want to Edit a Literary Journal?

If you’ve ever submitted your fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or artwork to a literary journal, you may have wondered: What’s it like to receive all these submissions? How do you decide what’s worthy of publication?

If you’d like to gain some experience choosing pieces for publication, we’ve got some opportunities for you on Mud Season Review.

Our volunteer staff members read submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork on a rolling basis using an online system called Submittable. It’s a fun, collaborative effort that results in the publication of eleven online issues and one gorgeous print edition each year.

We need folks who are living in the Burlington area or can easily commute to Burlington. Though most of this work can be done remotely, we do need editors to meet in person at our workshop space in Burlington from time to time to collaboratively make editorial and other decisions.

We have immediate openings for editors and readers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. If you’re interested, tell us by filling out the form below.

Your Full Name : *
Your Email : *
Genre(s) of Interest : *
Why do you want to be an editor? : *
Please briefly describe any editorial experience you may have. If you have none, write "None." : *
Are you a member of the BWW? : *

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 5, 2017

The May fundraiser has ended successfully. Thanks to everyone who helped us raise $5,157.57 (our goal was $5k). In all, 52 people made a donation. One person gave twice! The average gift was just over $99. Excluding gifts made in exchange for our manuscript review service (which we provide for gifts of $275 or more), the average gift was just over $62.

About that manuscript service: We offer to folks on the Mud Season Review mailing list a chance to have their book-length manuscript reviewed. Someone on the MSR staff reads the manuscript and comments on it, much like we do in our workshops. During this past fundraiser, nine people gave $275 for these manuscript reviews.

If you’re a BWW member and you have a book that needs the eyes of your fellow writers, we do not charge anything to schedule a two- or three-part workshop, to which we’ll invite a group of peers to read your manuscript in big chunks. If you’d like to take advantage of this option, please contact me.

Overall, though, this manuscript review service is a way attract out-of-state money to support what we do in Vermont. We’ve got a dedicated crew of MSR folks who read these books for our donors, and we’re happy to do it.

We’ve got other stuff to talk about this week. So here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of May 15, 2017

In less than a week, the Burlington Writers Workshop will turn eight years old. I’ll never lose my sense of amazement that we do, in fact, still exist, and that we’re as strong as we’ve ever been.

We are offering a ton of workshops this spring and summer.  These workshops are designed to motivate you and give you some feedback that (we hope) will inspire you to revise whatever you’re working on. So take a moment to check out these opportunities and announcements and claim your seat at the table. Continue reading

The Fun(draising) Begins!

Martin Bock (left) at a workshop at our space in Burlington.

Here’s a phrase you may have heard if you listen to public radio pledge drives: “It’s freely available, but it’s not free.”

Meaning: you listen to all the programming you want without paying a cent, but it does cost someone something. The folks who make the programming must be paid.

That’s kind of how the Burlington Writers Workshop operates, except we have no paid staff. You can use the workshop space whenever it’s open. You can attend as many workshops as you want (so long as there’s room at the table). You have an equal chance of attending our writing retreats (which are based on a random lottery, not on income). You can take advantage of our publishing opportunities through Mud Season Review and The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop series. You can even come to an event and eat all the food you want and we do not charge a dime.

But someone pays for all this. Chances are, next time you’re at a workshop at our Burlington space, someone sitting near you chipped in a few bucks to help pay the rent.

So I’m asking you now (as we do every May and December) to give a few bucks to the BWW.

Give because you once went to a workshop and had a good time and learned something. Give because the comments you received helped you revise a poem or an essay. Give because you made a friend at the workshop who changed your life.

Give because it’s freely available, but it isn’t truly free, and because you are the type of person who steps up and takes action. We can’t run this organization without you and your financial contributions.

Give now. $50 or $100 or whatever amount works for you. We’re trying to raise $5,000 before the end of May. With your help, we can!


Opportunities and Announcements: Week of February 20, 2017

MSR contributors Lori Lamothe (seated) and Alison Prine chat at the MSR booth at AWP in Washington, D.C.

By all accounts, AWP was a great success for Mud Season Review and the BWW. Yes, we sold books. Yes, we boosted our mailing list. We even took in a few bucks in donations. All that is great. But it’s also important to note that we’ve made connections with the writers who have helped Mud Season Review become what it is. That human connection is very important to us.

We’re looking to make connections with you at a variety of events happening in the coming months. Danielle is taking a well-deserved break this week, so I’m offering you these opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of January 30, 2017

Grier Martin (left) and Barbie Alsop (right) at the workshop on giving feedback at the BWW space on Saturday, January 28th.

Giving feedback to your fellow writer is at the heart of what we do at the BWW. At Saturday’s workshop on giving feedback, we discussed this essay and had a deep discussion of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to giving feedback. We’ll have more of these workshops later this year, but if you missed it, check out that essay and, next time you’re in a workshop, attempt to put those ideas into practice. Reach out if you have questions. I’m always happy to talk about how best to respond to a piece of writing.

We’ve got many more workshops on the horizon. Workshops for the month of March will be scheduled soon, so please keep an eye out for those!

In the meantime, here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.

Continue reading

Podcast: The Launch of “The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016”

Natasha Mieszkowski reads her short story "Bug" at the launch party on April 29, 2016.

Natasha Mieszkowski reads her short story “Bug” at the launch party on April 29, 2016.

Miss the launch of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 back in April? Fear not! We’ve got a podcast of readings by Linda Quinlan, Ashleigh Ellsworth-Keller, Cardy Raper, Natasha Mieszkowski, and Deb Sherrer. Click on the player below and enjoy! And remember, you can pick up your very own copy by bringing $12 (cash or check made payable to “Burlington Writers Workshop”) to our space at 110 Main Street, Studio 3C in Burlington, or pick one up online in our digital store.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 6, 2016

Thank You! (1)Thank you to all the kind and generous writers who made contributions to the Burlington Writers Workshop during our May fundraiser. We had a goal of $6,000 and we definitely reached that goal. The exact amount isn’t clear yet. We’re still waiting on a few checks that were pledged in May. Once those come in, we’ll be able to give you a better picture of how much we raised. But you did great work and you’re helping us cover the cost of the space, our events, and our publications. And there are still some pint glasses available as a thank-you gift if you’d like to make a $150 contribution!

Your fearless leader, Danielle Thierry, took a short break from BWW-related duties last week, so I’m filling in with this regular update on literary opportunities and organization announcements. If I’ve missed something, please let me know!


Our friends at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts are offering a special deal on their “Performance Creation” class for BWW members. From their website: “How do we harness our diverse art-making toward a socially conscious bigger purpose? Find out by working together to share, inspire, create, and collaborate in this unique, interdisciplinary intensive weekend with fellow artists. Using improvisation in a variety of structured solo and group formats, we explore different ways of creating, ultimately devising a powerful interdisciplinary performance piece that speaks our collective and individual truths.” Use the promo code BWW for 50% off.

As you may know, we’ve got a few books to sell this year (The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 and Mud Season Review 2016). Libraries often buy these, but they need to be asked first! I’ve got a list of libraries that we can divide up among a few intrepid volunteers. Volunteers would call the libraries and ask if they’d like to buy one of these. You’ll send me the list of which libraries want which books, and I’ll send out books and invoices. Any volunteers ready to help? Contact me.


Cynthia Close has a few new posts up on the Flynn Center blog.

Brett Sigurdson interviews Jennifer Sinor in Mud Season Review.

JD Fox interviews Tyler Barton in Mud Season Review.

Thanks to JD Fox, Natasha Mieskowski, Katie Stromme, Robin Lauzon, and Rebecca Starks for helping out with Mud Season Review feedback thank-you gifts. We raised about $4,300 in May thanks to their hard work.

And, of course, the July workshops are now posted. Please take a moment to claim your seat! (You must log into Meetup.com, of course.)


Podcast: Mud Season Review’s 2016 Print Launch Party


Alison Prine reads from her work at Hotel Vermont on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

You may have heard that Mud Season Review launched its second print issue at Hotel Vermont a few weeks ago. If you missed the readings by Robin McLean, Alison Prine, Ralph Culver, and Sean Prentiss, you can listen to them here!

You can purchase your copy of Mud Season Review here.

Our podcast is available on iTunes, so feel free to subscribe to it there!

Who Wants a Pint (or Two)?


A thank-you gift for your contribution. Beer not included.

Hey, how would you like to own two of these fancy-looking BWW pint glasses?

When you make a contribution of $150 or become a sustaining member of the BWW at $12/month or more, we’ll give you a pair of these as a big ol’ thank you. It’s that simple.

Why are we asking for money? Because bills. But bills are good! Because we’re investing in Vermont’s literary community. We’ve got to pay the rent on our new workshop space, where we hold as many as five free creative writing workshops each week. We’re investing in Mud Season Review to make it a world-class literary journal. We celebrate local talent with The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop. We bring established writers to our workshop table to give you feedback. We provide free writing retreats and put together panel discussions.

Also, we’re an all-volunteer workforce. No salaries. Just volunteers putting in the hours for the love of the game.

Because you’ve taken advantage of this service, we hope you’ll become a sustaining member at $12/month. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit our donate page using a computer (not a phone or an iPad or other tablet; the mobile site these devices use doesn’t allow monthly gifts).
  2. Click on the yellow “DONATE” button.
  3. Once you’re at this page, enter the donation amount ($12 or more) and make sure you check the “Make This Recurring (Monthly)” box (see image below).









If you make your donation before Friday, April 29th, you can pick up your pint glasses at the launch party for The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions, please let us know. Cheers!

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of April 4, 2016

Our first week of workshops in the new space is behind us. I hope it’s been a good one for you. We’ve posted all our workshops for the month of May, so please go forth and reserve your seat at your workshop(s) of choice.

As we get settled in at our new space, please do let us know if you encounter a problem. If you’ve got an idea about how we can/should use it, send that idea, too. We’ve always been driven forward by your ideas.

Speaking of your ideas: last year, you told us in the BWW survey that you’d like us to hold more panel discussions on writing-related topics. We’re cooking up a new one for Saturday, June 18th, so mark your calendars. (We’ve even got an idea for it! But it’s a surprise–at least until we can nail down panelists.)

But that’s June, which feels so far away. This week is upon us, so here are this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Podcast: Mud Season Review’s Brett Sigurdson on Creative Nonfiction and Truth

brett-sigurdsonIn the latest BWW podcast, Mud Season Reviews editor of creative nonfiction Brett Sigurdson discusses the nature of truth in nonfiction. He’s a journalist, teacher, father, fan of Jack Kerouac (see Kerouac’s face on Brett’s living room wall?), and, of course, writer.

Download the podcast below, or subscribe for free on iTunes (just open iTunes and search for “Burlington Writers Workshop”).

If you’re interested in sending your creative nonfiction for publication in Mud Season Review, send it via Submittable.

Podcast: The Right First Steps to Getting Published

William Notte, featured speaker at the BWW 2015 auction

William Notte, featured speaker at the BWW 2015 auction

In this podcast, we hear from William Notte. Notte spent seven years as the acquisitions editor for a publishing house. During this time he reviewed (and rejected) thousands of book proposals. His presentation will walk you through the process of pitching your book (fiction or nonfiction) and point out common mistakes even experienced writers make that could lead to a book’s rejection. You’ll learn why you shouldn’t get too excited about your idea for your book’s cover, what words you should avoid in your pitch letter, and how self-publishing primes you for traditional publishing.

Enjoy, and remember, you can subscribe to the BWW podcast with iTunes. Just search for “Burlington Writers Workshop” and you’ll see that familiar old green logo.