blog

An Update to Our Masthead

As many of you know, Nicole Taylor went on a hiatus for the Fall 2019 journal. Nicole Taylor was our nonfiction editor and a founder of borrowed solace. She recently decided, after many long and tough considerations, to permanently step away from the journal. We loved having her aboard our ship sailing in these mighty waters with us for the past two years. We wish her success finding all the gold hidden in sunken pirate ships and we know she will watch out for us from a distant lighthouse.

Going forward and into our future, I, Nicole McConnell, your executive editor, will be taking on Nicole Taylor’s role. I will be completing all of her duties in reading nonfiction submissions, selecting finalists, and editing final selections. So please bear with me as I learn her role even more. I am excited to fully embrace this role and can’t wait to see what people submit for nonfiction again this time around.
As for art…Addey (poetry) and Amber (fiction) and I are currently deciding how we want to move forward with art. For this journal, we will be using art as our main cover as we always do, and art for the cover pages of each section.

Please stay tuned for the next announcement, as we also are excited to announce we are finally on our way towards print. So watch for those announcements as well!

Sincerely,

Nicole McConnell

Episode 8: Resources

On episode eight of borrowed solace: the podcast, the editors discussed how we went from the Writer’s Guild–a student led club on a college campus–to borrowed solace. Check out some resources for more information below:

How To Start Your Own Literary Journal (And Why You Want To!)

So You Want To Start Your Own On-Line Literary Journal. . .

We want to hear what you think about this episode! Please comment below and join the discussion. Pretend we are carving pumpkins and watching Halloween movies while chatting about the podcast, and leave your thoughts below!

Episode 8: From Writer’s Guild to borrowed solace

This week on the podcast we continue on with our origins mini-series and discuss how we transitioned from the Writer’s Guild (which you can hear more about by listening to episode seven) to borrowed solace. Thanks for tuning in!

All About Submissions for Issue 3.1

If you’re thinking “Wow, they’re open for submissions already?  The fall issue just came out!” Then you would be right.  We’re thinking the same thing. But such is the life of a journal, and we can’t wait to start reading submissions for issue 3.1, which is un-themed and will come out in spring 2020.  That’s right—2020!

To get your creative juices flowing and give you at least a little bit of insight into what we are looking for, each of the editors has shared a quick summary below of what they hope to read in submissions for issue 3.1!

Fiction:

I’m looking for creative and gripping tales that will haunt the confines of my thoughts. 

Art: 

We are trying something different for art! For this next issue, there will not be an art section, but instead you can submit your art to be featured on our front and back cover! Any type of art can be submitted, though truly unique pieces that play with colors and shock us with how beautiful this world can be, and what people can create, is what will get you accepted.

Nonfiction:

True stories work when two things happen: they keep you wondering how the story is going to end and they make you think or feel (or both.) I want to read stories that have both of these things and that keep my attention to the end, spark my sense of wondering if the tale is real, and strike a place of sympathy—let me know how much the story wants me to care. Bring on the truth! 

Poetry:

With any un-themed issue, I’m never quite sure what I’m looking for.  With un-themed editions there really are no rules, which is what makes them exciting.  As always, I’m looking for work that is exciting to read.  Work that twists and turns as I read each word, and work that plays with the absurdity that language can be.  Give me your crazy poems, your somber poems, your sappy love poems, but make sure that there’s something unexpected contained within the lines on the page.

We hope this helps get you started—we can’t wait to read what you submit.  Happy writing!

Episode 7: Resources

In episode seven of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey was joined by one of the original founders of the Writer’s Guild, Crystal Hinrichsen, to talk about what it’s like to create your own creative community.

If you’d like to read a bit more about our history starting out as the Writer’s Guild, please visit our about page.

For information on how you can embark on your own journey to finding fellow writers to create with, please visit the links below:

How To Start A Writers’ Group

4 Tips on How to Build Your Creative Community

Writing Group Starter Kit (specifically for students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, but there are lots of great tips for starting a group or club–especially at a college!)

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Writers Group

Of course, per the usual, we want to hear what you have to say! Pretend we are at a meeting of your local writing group. What would you contribute to a conversation about how to start (and continue on) with a writing group/club of your own?

Episode 7: Creating Creative Community

This episode is the first of a mini-series discussing the origins of borrowed solace. Join Addey and Crystal Hinrichsen, one of the founders of the Writer’s Guild (who we were before we were borrowed solace), for a discussion on finding your own creative community. Thanks for listening!

Issue 2.2, Corruption, is Out!

This is the third themed edition of borrowed solace, and we selected corruption. Our first theme journal was hinterlands, we picked it to navigate the unknown and uncharted literary places we were traversing since it was our first journal. To break apart the magic and meaning inside a word, to distort reality, to discover truth, to see if we could sail in our boat crafted from stars, space gems, and sparkly dreams or would we be engulfed in the flames of a falling meteorite and sink to the bottomless sea. Home was the second theme because home is supposed to be solace, though we quickly learned home for others can mean a house filled with lies and monsters, courage and love, walls that can turn colors and morph, and inner dragons that can lead us off cliffs to go home. Places that once felt like home are now just somewhere to sleep, smells to define us to others, and we discovered that those who we live with can either bring us joy or pain.

Corruption involves both of these themes to their core. We want to discover the truth behind the lies that lead people to their demise. Corruption is often uncharted but easily accused of and hard to battle. Lies, monsters, and pain are what brings corruption to life. What is a person willing to give, willing to change, willing to embrace for something more, for something we didn’t have before in ways and with decisions we wouldn’t normally make or things we wouldn’t say or think.

You don’t have to dress like Batman or Robin to fight corruption and crime, but if you are like me and donned a cape to read these stories, poems, and embrace art; as always I employ you to read with an open soul that can be filled by borrowed solace seas.

I, with Amber and Addey, thank you for being a part of our little legion of lowercase letters.

Thank you for reading, contributing, and supporting us.  We wouldn’t be here without you!

All About Conferences

If you’ve followed us for any period of time you’ll probably know what we think about writing conferences—we love them over here!  For some writers, though, the idea of attending a conference with a bunch of writers is scary. 

Well, I think that things seem much scarier when you’re uninformed, so this week on the blog I thought I’d go over some conference dos and don’ts!

Do…

…research the conference beforehand.  All writing conferences are unique in their own special way (I sound like a Barney song here, but it’s true) and not every conference will have what you want.  Because of this, it’s super important to figure out which conferences create the type of environment you need.  If you’re new to the writing world, this might mean looking for conferences that focus on the craft of writing rather than the business of writing—you might not be ready to, say, sell your book.  And that’s fine!  There are conferences for you.  If you are at a stage where getting some face time with an agent is your goal, be sure to go to a conference that offers query one-on-ones or pitch meetings.  If you go to a conference that doesn’t offer these types of meetings and still insist on pitching your book, you’ll look out of touch and won’t have as great of a chance of actually hearing a “yes” from an agent.

…attend a genre-specific conference if you write genre fiction.  This is something I’ve recently been looking into a bit more.  I grew up reading Christian/Inspirational fiction and have decided that I want to try my hand at writing it, but I learned at the last Pike’s Peak Writing Conference (PPWC) I attended that not all agents/editors specialize in that category.  So if I wanted to pitch a Christian Historical Fiction novel at PPWC this past year, I would have been out of luck.  Admittedly, that genre is a bit more niche than say, science fiction, but it’s something to consider.  There are conferences for Christian/Inspirational writers (some that I am researching to attend in the future, see my first “do” above) and there are conferences for almost every genre you can think of!  If you want to learn the skills of your particular trade when it comes to the genre you write, try attending a conference with other genre-junkies just like you!

…create a mini-pitch about whatever your current project is.  Or, if you are in between projects at the moment, come up with a few concise words to describe what you write.  This is hands down the most common question you will be asked by everyone you encounter—from agents, to editors, to other authors, to keynotes, to the staff at the hotel front desk.  When people hear you are going to a writing conference—even if they aren’t writers themselves—their first instinct is to ask what you write.  Figure that out, and practice it a few times!  The best elevator pitches, as they’re commonly called, rely on few syllables but very descriptive words to paint a vivid picture of what it is you do.

…make some business cards (and use them!)  Every time I’ve gone to a conference I bring at least 20 business cards.  Sometimes I only give out two, sometimes I give out fifteen (I’ve yet to run out, but I’m also not the best at remembering to offer them up!)  I think 20 is a good number because you can easily even print out your own since you aren’t going to need 500+.  I usually do order a big pack from Vistaprint or Kinkos, but if that’s not in your budget, printing some off is so helpful.  You never know when someone really important is going to ask for your card!  My best example is when I was explaining the concept of the book I was working on to one of the keynote speakers at a conference a few years ago, who also happens to be the founder of one of the biggest literary agencies in NYC, and he was interested enough to give me his card.  I’m so glad that I had my own to give in return!

…interact with fellow writers.  It can often seem like everyone is at a conference to only make connections with the professionals who are in attendance, i.e., the faculty and keynote speakers, but be sure to interact with other writers!  You can make some new writing buddies by chatting with others in your sessions and at late night hangouts at the hotel bar.  You’re not guaranteed to come out of a conference with a book deal (in fact, you probably won’t), but if you interact with the other conference attendees you could come out of it with a new critique group or beta reader.  And hey, you never know, that writing friend you exchange emails with a few times a year could end up on the New York Times best seller list one day (or you could!)

Don’t…

…go in with big expectations.  Attending a conference is a fantastic way to network and make some new connections, but the chances of selling your debut novel or becoming BFFs with a bestselling author is slim.  That’s just the reality of being a writer—the odds are not exactly in our favor.  That doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t value in attending a conference!  The value comes from the way you frame attending a conference.  If you go into it expecting to learn, and grow, and come away refreshed, then you’re on the right track.  Go in with the mindset to have some fun and recharge your writer batteries.  If you by chance happened to come away with the card of an agent who said “send me your first chapter,” then take that as an unexpected blessing.  Don’t go into it with that expectation, though, or you could come out disappointed.

…pitch to editors and agents outside of designated pitch windows.  Take just a minute to imagine that you are a successful editor or literary agent.  It might be your dream job, or you might prefer to stay on the writer’s side of things, but imagine it anyway.  Now, imagine going to a conference where, for a long weekend (sometimes even a whole week at bigger conferences), you are constantly bombarded by people pitching their book to you.  At every turn you’re running into hopeful writers with big smiles and puppy dog eyes who might as well be down on their knees begging you to take a look at their book.  A dream job or a nice work trip could suddenly turn into something that more closely resembles a horror movie—instead of the creepy guy in a mask wielding a saw around every corner, it’s overly eager writers you can’t escape.  Okay, so that might be a little dramatic, but there’s a reason that most conferences have rules when it comes to pitching.  At PPWC, for example, you can sign up for a meeting with an agent or editor where you get their undivided attention and can pitch to your heart’s content.  Outside of that meeting, though, pitches are off limits.  Follow those rules if the conference you are at has them—don’t become known as the rule breaker (and not in the misunderstood-bad-guy/girl-trope kind of way).

…bail on the optional activities.  When I’ve attended conferences in the past, writing or otherwise, it can be tempting to go back to my room or head home after a long day and skip the afternoon or evening activities.  Despite the temptation to go change into pajamas and read whatever novel I’m currently making my way through before getting some shut-eye, I try to attend at least a couple after hours activities.  I make it a bit of a challenge to myself—pick a few activities that sound like the most fun and make a friend or two I can hang out with during the festivities.  Make said friend beforehand, or during, the event, and then use the time at the event to tag team it—work up the courage together to go chat with that author you’ve been dying to meet or the editor from that major publishing house whose job you’d kill for.  If you start off with the expectation that you are going to x amount of events, you’ll know ahead of time when you can plan to go get into your PJs, and you might even find that the festivities are more fun than sleeping, anyway.

…be afraid to put yourself out there!  Going to writing conferences is about selling yourself to a certain extent.  While that might seem intimidating, think of it this way: who knows your product (i.e, YOU) better than you?  You’ve got this—you’ve literally been researching your whole life for this moment.

I hope this gives you a bit of the inside scoop when it comes to writing conferences.  If you’ve never attended, I’d encourage you to try at least once.  You might find that you’re a repeat offender and go back again and again.

What other dos or don’ts would you add to the list?  Let us know by commenting below!

Episode 6: Resources

In episode six of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey and Nicole were joined by former borrowed solace contributor and creative nonfiction writer Elle Mott.

Elle’s work appears in journals, anthologies, a national news magazine, and the inaugural issue of borrowed solace. Her debut book is Out of Chaos: A Memoir and she is currently working on her second book.

If you would like to connect with Elle and learn more about her work, you can visit her on her website or on Facebook @ellemott.author. You can also find her on Author Central with Amazon.

And, as always, we want to hear from you!

It’s pretty much fall now, so pretend we’re…picking pumpkins? As we wander through the pumpkin patch to find the perfect specimen, we’re chatting about nonfiction and this episode of the podcast. Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below!

Episode 6: An Out of this World Interview with Elle Mott

In episode 6 of the podcast, join Addey and Nicole as they discuss creative nonfiction with Elle Mott, who’s nonfiction piece “When They Came: A Memoir” was published in issue 1.1, Hinterlands.