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2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Guidelines

Prepare for the 13th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Visit WritersDigest.com each day of November to get a prompt and write a poem. Then, use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript.

It’s time for the 13th annual 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 these poetry challenges. However, I anticipate my goals in 2020 as just having a place to focus my creativity for a month that hopefully carries over into 2021.

As usual, the November challenge is a little different than the one in April in that the ultimate goal is to collect the poems into a chapbook-sized manuscript of 10-20 pages of poetry. The guidelines in this post should help guide you through this unique poetry challenge.

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 site.
  • 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 site 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, 2021, 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 rbrewer@aimmedia.com with the subject line: 2020 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 before the next April PAD Challenge, but I never know what curveball life with toss my way (ahem, 2020). That said, I will try my best for a good turnaround.

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smash poetry journal robert lee brewer

Poem your days away with Robert Lee Brewer's Smash Poetry Journal. This fun poetic guide is loaded with 125 poetry prompts, space to place your poems, and plenty of fun poetic asides.

IndieBound | Amazon

(Writer's Digest uses affiliate links)

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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.

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WD-Poetry-2020-LaunchImages-1100x615

Calling all poets! We’re on the look out for poems of all styles–rhyming, free verse, haiku, and more–for the Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards! This is the only Writer’s Digest competition exclusively for poets. Enter any poem 32 lines or less for your chance to win $1,000 in cash.

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