Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 1, 2016


I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning. ~Peter De Vries

Inspiration is that elusive quality that makes a writer grab a pen and form words. Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” These two successful writers understand that even though we love the process of stringing words together, there will be days that writing is the LAST thing we want to do. Writing is hard, some days harder than others, and picking up a club seems to be more effort than we can muster. What’s a writer to do?

Inspiration equals inspired writing. Sometimes I’m forced to search for it and sometimes the club knocks it my way. I recently had the wonderful opportunity of visiting 13 schools in one county. I spoke to preschool groups, elementary, middle school, and high school students about writing. This type of experience feeds a writer’s inspiration gene. Working directly with a target audience connects writers to readers, primary sources that offer authentic feedback. I saw firsthand what kids like to read at different age levels. When you’re talking with young readers, just ask…and listen.

Notice what makes a target audience laugh, express emotions, ooh and ahhh. Pay attention to their reactions.What books to they enjoy? What are their favorite subjects and why? What do they write on their own?

Use the feedback to focus on topics that interest the reader. Knowing that you are writing what your audience wants to read provides a springboard for inspiration.

Next week, I’ll provide more ways to find inspiration. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers

The 'Save the Earth' Poetry Prize complements John Felstiner’s book Can Poetry Save the Earth?  A Field Guide to Nature Poems and is offered annually by John Felstiner, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University and Charles Weeden, The Weeden Foundation.  We have seven winners each receiving a check for $200. and a copy of Can Poetry Save the Earth?.

Here is what students and teachers need to know:

·         High school students, grades 10th, 11th and 12th, are invited to enter.  No entry fee.

·         Poems submitted should, in any way possible, evoke humankind’s awareness of the natural world and nature as such.

·         One submission per student. There’s no restriction on form or length.

·         Please include in your email your name, school grade, high school with town and state, and name of your English teacher.

·         Poems should be submitted in English and in either Microsoft Word or .PDF.

The seven winners of the 2015 ‘SAVE THE EARTH’ POETRY PRIZE are listed above. Please click on their names to read their poems.  If you particularly like a poem, please email us at and we'll forward your comments to the poet.  

For our 2016 Contest, please send submissions between March 1st and May 31st, 2016 to

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Spigot Science is a science-themed publication with articles from many disciplines in support of the theme. Please become a Basic member (free) and download the free publication so you can become familiar with our different features. Use the Table of Contents to see that articles, while addressing the theme, are written for use in other subjects: science, technology, engineering, math, geography, language arts, social studies, health, and the arts. If you wish to write for Spigot Science, please send a query that includes your pitch and information about you.  Be sure to include your name and email address.  Send it to:

Submission guidelines at

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