2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Guidelines

It’s time for another November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Over the years, many poets have contacted me to let me know of the successes they’ve found in publishing individual poems and collections that started with the poetry challenges on the Poetic Asides blog.

Believe me, it helps drive me forward to hear these success stories. In a way, I feel that same joy I get when I see my children accomplish great things. So here we are: Days away from a new November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge.

The November challenge is a little different than the one in April (by the way, I’m hoping to post results on Saturday for that challenge). The guidelines in this post should help guide you through the month.

Here are the basics of the November PAD Chapbook Challenge:

  • Beginning on November 1 (Atlanta, Georgia time), I will share a prompt and poem each day of November on this blog.
  • Poets are then challenged to write a poem each day (no matter where you live on the planet) within 24 hours (or so) from when the prompt is posted. Don’t worry: If you fall behind or start late, you CAN play catch up.
  • Poets do NOT have to register anywhere to participate. In fact, poets don’t even need to post to this blog to be considered participants.
  • The Challenge will unofficially conclude around 24 hours after the final prompt is posted. That said…
  • This Challenge is unique, because I expect poets to take all the material they’ve written in November and create a chapbook manuscript during the month of December. (Yes, you can revise material, and yes, the chapbook should be composed mostly of poems written for the challenge–I’m using the honor system.)
  • Poets have until 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on January 15, 2017, to submit a manuscript that can be 10-20 pages in length (not including table of contents, title page, etc.) with no more than one poem per page. So if you wrote 50 poems in November, you have to narrow them down to the best 20 (or even fewer). Submit manuscripts to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: 2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. (The subject line is very important, because I have a very busy inbox.)
  • The goal will be to announce a winning manuscript by March 20, 2017.


Poetry-300x220Win $1,000 for Your Poetry!

Writer’s Digest is offering a contest strictly for poets with a top prize of $1,000, publication in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a copy of the 2017 Poet’s Market.

There are cash prizes for Second ($250) and Third ($100) Prizes, as well as prizes for the Top 25 poems.

The deadline is November 1.

Click here to learn more.


What do poets get out of this challenge?

If nothing else, they get several new poems, but I’ve heard plenty of success stories over the years from poets who have gone on to publish individual poems from these challenges and even complete collections (mostly inspired by the challenges).

Plus, the winner gets recognized on this blog, along with many honorable mentions. That’s a good thing.

Regarding comments, this blog has a history with commenting problems, which is why I don’t make it mandatory for poets to post on the blog to participate. However, I think poets who do comment get a lot out of it by sharing their work and creating a community on the blog. Just make sure you save all your work elsewhere too–like in a notebook or Word doc. It’s good to have backups.

If you have any additional questions, shoot them to me in the comments.

I can’t wait to see everyone in November.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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11 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Guidelines

  1. dvsalk

    i started a personal challenge of 90 poems in 90 days and have been posting them on Facebook. Can Ipost them here and on Facebook and still be considered for the chapbook contest or will they be considered “previously published” and unattractive for publication? I am on day 12. Thanks.

    1. dvsalk


      If i had another life
      i would choose this one –
      all messy and ridiculous
      with the clutter of bones and bills and love.
      i would walk head-on
      into the magical mayhem
      of my teenagers’ angst
      and the moods of marriage –
      all the time watching my life unravel
      in both anguish and awe.
      No one would save me
      and i would not dawn a cape
      or make a brilliant name for myself
      but i would have you
      quietly snoring next to me,
      and everything that our laying together made
      would be brimming over
      always seeming to bang at the door
      at every door
      almost unbearable
      the fullness
      the constancy
      the living
      of this mad and wonderful life.

  2. Nancy J

    Failure to Leave

    It’s not the same
    as staying,
    not a decisive
    commitment to
    the future,
    not the act of a true believe,
    no hope involved,
    just a cowardly acceptance
    of the here and now, better
    the devil
    you know, a half-hearted
    shrug at life, after all,
    what difference
    would it really make?
    If you don’t go,
    you’ll never know.

  3. ina

    Looking forward to it! The last time I did, I was simultaneously doing Nanowrimo (because I’m nuts), but this year, I just want to spend November with poetry and everyone else on this site…


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