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Issue 3.1 is Live!

Thank you so much to the writers and artists who lent their work to our little corner of the internet. We are so proud to release our spring 2020 issue into the world!

We hope the words within the pages of issue 3.1 can bring you some solace in the midst of all that is going on in the world. While in many ways it seems like a crazy time to release a literary journal, we take solace ourselves in the fact that this issue might serve as a source of needed relief from the chaos outside.

To see issue 3.1 in all her glory, visit the store and snag yourself a copy. If you’d like to see a sneak preview of the journal, visit the “Current Issue” page.

Thanks again to all our wonderful contributors, readers, listeners, and fellow creatives working to make the world a more dazzling place. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Much Love,

the editors

S2 Episode 4: Resources

Addey and Nicole went over the books on their reading lists in season two episode four of the podcast. If you are interested in checking out any of the books they mentioned, the titles and authors are listed below!

Addey’s Picks

Timber Ridge Reflections series by Tamera Alexander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

From Hell to Breakfast by Meghan Tifft

The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander

Nicole’s Picks

The Grisha Verse by Leigh Bardugo

Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super

Naruto and Naruto Shippuden

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

And finally, imagine that we are chatting over FaceTime, Skype, or regular old phone (#SocialDistancing for the win) about what books are on your reading list. If you’d care to share–we are always looking for recommendations–leave your picks in the comments below!

S2 Episode 4: Books to Read While Quarantined

This week on the podcast Addey and Nicole are talking about their reading lists. If you are holed up inside practicing social distancing and have some extra time on your hands, escape with some of the recommendations in this episode!

Update on Issue 3.1

For this week, we are doing an update with the blog.


We are putting the finishing touches on the Spring 2020 journal coming out, drum roll please…. Friday, March 27th!


Please look for this amazing journal coming your way and if you are part of the journal, congratulations and thank you for being a part of this journal.


We are also discussing the next theme for Fall 2020. We haven’t completely decided yet, but we do know the subgenre will be somewhere in the horror category! 


As always with this crazy world, stay safe and well. 

S2 Episode 3: Resources

Like we talked about in season two episode three of borrowed solace: the podcast, paragraph structure isn’t really mentioned much in creative writing circles. A quick Google search yields many different academic resources and links to university writing centers, but not much from creative writers.

If you’re interested in using your paragraphs to better serve your own creative writing, check out a post from Writer’s Digest here and another on The Editor’s Blog here.

If you have any resources of links you know of and would like to share, please leave them in the comments below.

Pretend we are spending some time out in the sunshine since it’s finally starting to feel like spring… As we relish the warm light, we start talking about paragraphs. What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments below!

S2 Episode 3: Three to Five Sentences

This week on the podcast we take a listener request and talk about paragraphs. What makes a good paragraph? Why don’t we utilize paragraph structure more intentionally as creative writers? Tune in to hear Addey, Amber, and Nicole’s thoughts!

10 Creative Things to Do Every Month as a Writer

1. Experience Art

Don’t just go and look at art—feel art. Embrace art. Study art. Art takes hard work, patience, silence, a flood of emotions, or a lack of emotions, lots of time. Realize the passion, the technique, the sacrifice art takes. Writers can learn to walk on a painting, a character from a play can inspire our creation for our own, music expresses more ways to say things in beautiful ways like poetry, and every writer can learn something from art. We are all kind of an artist except we paint with words. Museums, concerts, films, and theaters are all great places to seek inspiration.

2. Evaluate Writing & Self

I don’t think writers do this enough. Write a list of both strengths and weaknesses. Work on these, value yourself as a writer, and you should always be growing as one. Track your progress. Keep track of how much or how little you write every day.

I don’t write every day, I write in large quantities, and then I revise. It is a part of my process. Find a pattern and a process and then track whatever you do as a writer, look back at the month and see what you could do for the next month to help improve or better yourself. Things like increasing word count, or what is the difference from night-to-day? Do you write more in the morning or before bed? Do you not dedicate enough time to writing, where-else can you pull that time from? Give yourself goals to reach as a writer and as a reader.

3. Write a 2000 Word Story and Cut It Down to 300

Revision is the hardest thing the writer must do. Writers either tend to go over the word limit, or under the word limit. This challenges you to have a start and a finish. To consider the power of each word. To pay attention to style, syntax, diction, voice, scenes, actions. Everything the writer wants to include and exclude. Pay more attention to the art of your words and the beauty of the story unfolding in a short frame.

Flash writing is very hard for some writers, and easy for some. But finding the balance between word count and style is a goal to strive for.

4. Write in Another’s World

Use the rules of the world to write in. This will challenge your writing skill, we learn best as writers when we are just starting out to write like someone else. To understand the language the same way the author intended for the audience. Do you like the style? The bare language? The overloaded syntax? The rules of magic? The world building? The stage to set the setting? The introduction to the characters?

I still use this exercise to re-emerge myself in language. To follow the rules of someone else, it helps me get out of my head for a while. It helps me get past writer’s block for my own writing projects.

5. Look at and Revise What You Wrote for the Entire Month

I write everything by long hand and then type it. I date everything I write as well. I hate revision, it takes me a long time. So, I write for two weeks, let’s say about 2-4 chapters, and then I revise the last two weeks of the month. I usually rewrite when I revise, or send my chapters off to beta readers and revise based on their feedback. I rely on my beta readers for different things, and I switch between them for different projects.

Looking at what you wrote at the end of the month, and then revising, will improve time management when writing. It will be less work when you have completed the project and when the time comes for edits and publication. It will help ward off the dreaded manual overhaul, I promise.

Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin

6. Find a Club or Go to a Meeting

If you look online for local meetings, usually there are writing groups and clubs around town. Join one or go to a few group meeting/hangouts. Talking with other writers will teach you a lot if you already don’t do this. I have a group of writing friends and we meet once or twice a month We talk about what we are writing, any new techniques what we learned and what to try, or cool books to read. We also beta read for each other and discuss each other’s writings to help evaluate one another.

Other writers will make you a better writer, guaranteed!

7. Start a Blog or Post on Another’s Blog

Blogs are great because they are filled with advice, links, and current topics of the writing world. Blogs do take a lot of time and work, I won’t lie. But if you are a serious writer, and want to learn thing and want to share those things with others—this is the way to do it. Consider starting one if you haven’t already. It will help build your brand as an author and a writer.

Otherwise, follow a blog by signing up for the newsletter. Or if you know someone with a blog ask them to be a guest writer once in a while. A blog can also help exercise a different way of writing. Have fun with it!

My suggestion would be to post at least once a month and with insightful material and topics to keep your followers and readers interested. A blog is meant to be helpful to other writers and readers, to give encouragement, inspiration, and advice. Be truthful. Be generous. Be awesome.

8. Listen to a New Song, Watch a New Movie, New TV Show, etc.

This is all about inspiration, creativity, and imagination. Write a prompt from a song title or from the lyrics. Use a TV show to write in an author’s world different than your own. Or a movie to spark a possible plot twist in a story you are writing, or write a trope used in the movie.

Explore a video game with one of your own characters. Instead of just reading a book for your pleasure, look for literary crafts the author used, and try to implement them into your story. Use anime for imagination. Write a short story based on the theme of the anime, or the daily life of a character, but them doing everything the opposite. Where does the story take you then?

9. Find a New Author or Blog to Read

Constantly expand your horizons as a writer. Maybe even try reading outside your favorite authors and genres, and explore other blogs. They will have tips and that can be unique to add to your skill set. Every genre has a set of techniques, and crossing genres is thrilling for both the story and the reader.

The tools you can add to your writing toolbox will always improve your style and story.

10. Write a to Do List for the Next Month

Some writers are organized and some aren’t. It doesn’t matter if your writing process is organized or messy, keep track of what needs to be done. Once you start writing a list, it may become overwhelming, but call it a master list. Take 3 or 5 things off that list to do every month. It increases productivity as well as positivity. Your brain releases endorphins when you check a box down, and it feels good to accomplish things.

Here is an example of my list for the month:

·         Revise chapter one based on critiques

·         Finish writing chapter two

·         Finish writing chapter three

·         Send both two and three to Amber for beta reading

·         Write and publish a blog post

This is an article from my blog on HubPages and you can click on the link below to read it or check out my other articles!

10 Creative Things to Do Every Month as a Writer

The Roller-Coaster Poem

So, what is a roller-coaster poem?  “Roller Coaster” would be a pretty good title for a poem, story, song, movie, anything (I’m a sucker for short or one-word titles), but that’s not what I’m talking about.  You may have read that title and thought to yourself “what the heck?” but I’ll explain.

First of all, I don’t actually like roller coasters.  That feeling of rushing down a steep drop where your stomach seems to be floating somewhere in your chest and your palms are cold, yet also sweaty, is not a feeling I enjoy.  I avoid riding roller coasters, but I love when a good poem is a roller coaster.

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I love finding something unexpected in a poem.  This comes from a poetry class I took in college that completely blew my mind and focused on collaborative poetry.  I’m not necessarily one for collaborating on work other than to get feedback and exchange ideas, but this class introduced me to the beauty that is two different trains of thought colliding together (I suppose you could call a poem written this way a train wreck poem, too, if we are going with that metaphor.  But for now, I’ll stick to roller coasters).

This class taught me that some of the most amazing literary genius comes from unlikely comparisons.  From gangly language put together with lyricism, from opposite words being clashed together, from two divergent roads unexpectedly converging out of the blue.

When this happens, I like to think of it as a roller coaster.  When riding along on a roller coaster, there’s always some sort of hint of where you are going.  You can, after all, see what’s in front of you. You may have gazed up at the metal monster you were about to hop aboard while in line and memorized some of the curves and drops.  Yet, when those curves and drops happen, and you get that feeling of your gut being suspended in air, they’re still unexpected. You can’t prepare for that feeling, even if you have felt it a million times.

I like to think that the best poems are a bit like riding that roller coaster.  We’ve all read poems before—we’ve studied sonnets or been shocked by the vivid simplicity of a few lines of free verse.  We’ve all probably tried our hand at writing a poem. Some of us would call ourselves poets, and some of us thought “never again” after writing the final line.  But what separates poems from the “never again” category and the breathtaking category?

It’s the roller coaster of reading that takes place in a good poem.  I love when I’m reading a sonnet, but it’s written in the most un-Shakespeare like language I’ve ever seen.  I love when I’m drawn into the voice and lyricism of a poem only to have it change and morph as I go (…almost like two different people wrote it…)  I love when I’m riding along with a poem up, up, up and suddenly, the bottom falls out from under me when an unexpected comparison comes to life or the so-called plot suddenly jeers left.

Part of the beauty of poetry is that you can make those sudden drops and roller coaster turns.  Throwing in a crazy word that doesn’t make any sense can make your poem come to life in a way that it didn’t in the first line.  Not all writing can handle this change, but poetry can. Poetry allows for an obscure and crazy roller coaster ride—the scarcity of language in a poem leaves room for the unexpected.

So, try it yourself!  Pretend you are two different people writing a poem.  Add in a drop here and a curve there. Take your reader on a wild ride—and send us your roller coaster poem once you’re done experimenting!

Cover image courtesy of PixaBay.

S2 Episode 2: Resources

On our most recent episode of borrowed solace: the podcast, Nicole sat down to talk to her coworker and arts and entertainment writer Diana Nollen. Diana has had an amazing career in journalism and shared about her experience in the first episode of our Creative Careers series.

To find out more about Diana and read some of her work, check out her writer page at The Cedar Rapids Gazette.

You can also follow Diana on Twitter.

And now, pretend that we are off to see one of the performances Diana recently wrote about. On our way to the venue we are chatting about creative careers and this episode of the podcast. What questions do you have? What are your thoughts on creative careers? Share with us in the comments below!

S2 Episode 2: Creative Careers with Diana Nollen

This week on the podcast, join Nicole as she chats with one of her coworkers and entertainment writer at The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Diana Nollen. This is the first episode in a new series we are kicking off called Creative Careers.