Recent Posts

Seeking Submissions for Issue 2 and a Contest

Seeking Submissions for Issue 2 and a Contest

Greetings! Last Thursday, we published the first issue of Montana Mouthful! We’ve received a lot of positive feedback, and we hope you enjoy the inaugural issue if you’ve not yet read it. You can read the issue for free, and you can also purchase digital […]

Montana Mouthful’s “Firsts” Issue is Live!

Montana Mouthful’s “Firsts” Issue is Live!

We are excited to share our inaugural issue of Montana Mouthful Magazine!  More than a year of planning and preparation by the MM staff has led to this exciting moment, and we sincerely thank all of the writers and artists who had confidence in us […]

Making Time for Your Writing or Art in Four Easy Steps

Making Time for Your Writing or Art in Four Easy Steps

 

I have a confession. Many writers and artists struggle to find time to practice their craft. But not me. Of course, it’s not because I’m an efficient time manager who operates on a set routine. No, it’s quite the opposite. You see, my life is so chaotic that I’ve simply given up. I don’t even bother trying to make time for writing.

One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this lit mag is because I need creativity in my life, and I haven’t believed I could find the time to create myself. My government job is busy, but stagnant. And while breathing in others’ creativity is a lot of fun, and while I’m also thrilled about putting other peoples’ amazing works out there, it’s simply not enough. I think those of us who are drawn to creating in whatever form always feel the tug. We know there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of expressing what wells inside, of shaping something from nothing, of giving our best to our creation.

Obviously, I need to write this article for myself. But based on comments from the other writers and artists I talk to, I know I need to write it for many of you too. With families and jobs and traffic and friends and housework and hopefully a few workouts and that daily need to figure out what to eat, it’s hard to prioritize our writing. Yet, it can be done. Here comes the pep talk.

1. Make it a priority. If it’s not as important as all of those other things we do in our lives, it’s simply not going to happen. And that’s okay. There is a season for everything. Right now, it’s ski season in Montana. Writing is a tug. Snapping into two slender, waxed boards and flying across the snow is more like a shove. I just have to be out there.

2. Commit to a definite amount of time. For me, writing is a priority, but not enough to spend whole days doing it. If writing (or your preferred art form) is a top priority for you, decide how much time you can give. Personally, I can commit to write at least four hours a week. Some of you may have four hours a day. That’s killer. I love a large block of time to immerse myself in words. And for the past few (okay, several) years, my cop out has been that I can’t write if I don’t have a few hours to spend getting into it. However, that way of thinking has stopped me just like hitting a big rock put an immediate stop to my ski and resulted in a nasty fall a few weeks ago.

3. Schedule your time like an appointment. Maybe you have a set schedule and can plan out a month of writing appointments in advance, or maybe you need to plan week-by-week depending upon what’s going on. I may be able to get four hours in on a Saturday, but if I’m going out of town or have too many commitments over the weekend, then I need to make sure I take some time Sunday night to plan when I’ll write during the week. In this case, I have to fit it in before or after work.

4. Keep the appointment. It doesn’t matter if you hear a muse or not. You may have days that are utterly uninspired. But you are at least putting pen to paper, brush to canvas. You’re better off than everyone else staring at their phone or the flat screen. You’re making an effort. And if you do happen to miss an appointment, reschedule. Writing adds a lot of meaning to my life, and I feel resentful when I get lost in the day-to-day survival and don’t honor time for my chosen craft. Knowing this, I also know I can’t keep giving up. Four hours a week. Here we go. What’s your commitment?

~Holly

Montana Mouthful joins Literistic’s “Friends Program”

Montana Mouthful joins Literistic’s “Friends Program”

We are proud to add a new link on our Partners webpage! Montana Mouthful has recently joined Literistic’s “Friends Program,” and we are excited to share this information with you.  Literistic provides deadlines for submissions to literary magazines, contests, and more. Each month, Literstic sends […]

Stick with Us

Stick with Us

Thank you   During our two months of launch mania, we have been humbled and energized by the fans of our fledgling magazine and the writers and artists who’ve already submitted work. We want to personally thank our early supporters who pasted our Montana Mouthful stickers […]

Winter Community Story

Winter Community Story

If you missed it, our first Montana Mouthful Community Story was a success! Fifteen people contributed lines for our eerie Halloween tale. Thanks again!

For the next community story, we’ve added a twist: the story happens in two parts.

First, from now until Friday, November 17th, we seek your winter-themed photographs (one per person, please). Submit your photograph in the comments section of this social media post.

After November 17th, MM staff will select one of the photographs and add an opening line as a story starter. Then it’s up to you to add a line to complete the tale. Line submissions will close on Friday, December 15th, and we’ll publish the results on Christmas Eve.

So, let’s get started – send us your winter photos!

Thanks,

MM staff

 

Finding Beauty

Finding Beauty

One of the things that inspires me the most is the visual arts. A picture of the simplest object or an obscure reference piques my interest and shifts my focus from the daily grind to a place of creativity where I am free to focus my […]

Creating Narrative Nonfiction

Creating Narrative Nonfiction

Narrative nonfiction is a favorite genre of mine as it allows one to blend story-telling with factual information. The genre is also known by other names, such as creative nonfiction and literary journalism.  If you’re a writer who’s never attempted this genre but would like […]

WRITING TIPS: THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CRAFTING A SHORT STORY

WRITING TIPS: THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CRAFTING A SHORT STORY

The Montana Mouthful Staff can’t wait to read your story. But before you click submit, the following three questions may help you evaluate your work.

Where is your story?

With 2,000 words or less, we only have time for one primary setting. Are there rich flavors, strong smells, harsh weather conditions, or vivid sights that can help us experience the delight or heartbreak you wish to convey?

What is your story about?

Keep your plot focused. Don’t interrupt it with too many digressions. Decide if your conflict is mostly internal or external. Make it high stakes, so the tension compels us to read on. Think of a tragedy or a stroke of luck, and magnify it by 100.

Who is your story about?

We need to know your main character. Show us his personality, his affable or glum disposition. Reveal his thoughts and provide meaningful dialogue. If you can make us fall in love with him, we’ll long to see him overcome the odds.

Are there other questions you think are important to ask when writing short? If so, share with us in the comments section. We want to hear from you!

 

Editor’s Pick: Author – Denis Johnson

Editor’s Pick: Author – Denis Johnson

* One of our aims, aside from showcasing exceptional stories and visual artwork, is to share information from other literary sources. For instance, we might share a story we love, a magazine’s call for submissions, or a helpful service for writers and artists. Not only […]