Hi Writers,
I’ve been trying like crazy to come up with something newsy to share with you. But as I mentioned before, in summertime the wheels of publishing turn slowly since editors are frolicking in the Hamptons. And with the Fourth of July holiday, it’s pretty quiet.

Of course, not much going on is a plus for writers: More time to write!

Thinking ahead, it is time to start getting your query letters and submissions ready for fall when publishing returns to full tilt. Here’s a creative nonfiction contest Graywolf Press is putting on to whet your appetite:

Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize Submission Guidelines
Graywolf Press is pleased to announce the fourth annual Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. A $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf in 2009 will be awarded to the best previously unpublished, full-length work of literary nonfiction by a writer not yet established in the genre. Robert Polito will serve as the judge.

“This prize seeks to acknowledge – and honor – the great traditions of literary nonfiction, extending from Robert Burton and Thomas Browne in the seventeenth century through Defoe and Strachey and on to James Baldwin, Joan Didion, and Jamaica Kincaid in our own time,” says Robert Polito. In looking for the winner, Polito goes on to say, “We seek the boldest and most innovative books from emerging nonfiction writers, although we define ‘emerging’ (no more than two published books) as lightly and flexibly as we define literary nonfiction. Whether grounded in observation, autobiography, or research, much of the most beautiful, daring, and original writing over the past few decades can be categorized as nonfiction. Submissions to the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize might span memoir, biography, or history – but it’s essential that they be finished books (no miscellaneous essay collections, sample chapters, or proposals).”

Eligibility: Any writer who has not published more than two books of literary nonfiction (this excludes academic work and books in other genres) and resides in the United States is eligible. We welcome submissions from previously unpublished writers. Collections of miscellaneous essays/prose are not eligible for the prize. We will consider one submission per person. Manuscripts submitted for previous years’ prizes will not be reconsidered unless resubmission has been specifically invited by Graywolf’s editors or the judge.

Timeline: Submissions must arrive in the Graywolf offices between September 1-30, 2007. Please note that this is not a postmark deadline. The winner will be announced in February 2008 and published in February 2009.

And here’s my question for you: Does your writing slow down in the summer? Why or why not? Do tell.

Keep Writing,
P.S. Cincinnati editors do not frolic in the Hamptons. They frolic instead in the Ohio River, dodging river barges and debris floating downriver from Pittsburgh.

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  1. Nanette

    P.S. Cincinnati editors do not frolic in the Hamptons. They frolic instead in the Ohio River, dodging river barges and debris floating downriver from Pittsburgh.

    I had to laugh! Sounds like St. Louis but I am not really sure which northern communites (Missouri or Illinois) are responsible for the debris! I HATE summer heat, humidity, activities, yard work. I get much done in the summer in my writing world!

  2. Shane Saylor

    Actually, I haven’t written anything about six months. I have written four poems in June. The dates were 6/15, 6/19, 6/21 and 6/28. I also wrote one on 7/5 or 7/6. I tend to post my stuff on my blog.

  3. Anna

    Summer in Arizona is great writing weather. Triple digit heat and daily extreme heat warnings are blown away by monsoon wind and rain in the evening. Today is the first evening of monsoon weather and I welcome the break of the blazing sun. The wind swept my patio furniture across the cool decking and may be in the pool by morning. Roof tiles tremble under the pressure of the blowing dust. In the darkened light of the monsoon, it is wonderful weather for writing,

  4. Cheryl Kaye Tardif

    Hi Maria:

    Summertime can be a challenge for a writer. Some feel drawn to the outdoors (a laptop can be a God-send!), some take the slower sales time to write, and then there are the crazy writers, like myself, who don’t want to stop promoting so they look for something exciting to do.

    I’m doing a VBT–a virtual book tour. Me and my new release Whale Song will be "Touring the World 2007" in August. I’m hoping to have ‘stops’ along the way for the entire month, or at least the first 2 weeks. It’s a lot of work to organize, but the response from hosts has been fabulous.

    For those who aren’t familiar with virtual book tours, it’s a relatively new concept (about 5 years old) that has the author ‘visiting’ blogs and sites for the duration of the VBT. I have contacted potential site/blog hosts and those who want to be part of it will post reviews, interviews, special posts from me on a variety of topics, audiocasts, a book trailer and anything else I can think of. This way I am promoting my novel…and I don’t even have to leave my home (or get dressed!)

    On that note…Maria, would you consider hosting me here on your blog? For more info on me:

    For info on my VBT,

    Thank you for your consideration.

    P.S. I am always available for interviews. 🙂

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

  5. Marion

    In the summertime, I feel myself pulled in two directions…one to spend time in the sun and the garden, and the second to write.

    I’ve tried to write outside, to take advantage of both directions. I get distracted by the smallest things…birds singing, the weeds that need pulling, the eagle that flies overhead…

    I agree with Elle…I think that summertime, no matter how much I try and fight it, lol, is time for a lull. My muse will start full time again in the fall.

    Happy Writing!

  6. Carita

    Don’t feel bad Kerry, I have never published, never finished a novel, have a thousand ideas, and can’t seem to get started! Is this site only for those who are well into their writing career?

  7. Elle Robb

    I have been mulling just this topic recently – the summer slow down. I simply cannot ignore the warm sun, the smell of freshly mowed grass, and the cool water of the pool. And my writing suffers. I even attempted "ScriptFrenzy" this summer, thinking that might kickstart my creativity. (I failed miserably . . .)

    Perhaps we all have natural tides to our writing habits, and I simply need to accept that summer is my time for a lull – and a time to "refill the well" so that I can write like mad come fall.

    Enjoy your summer, Maria & happy writing!