The Common’s Weekly Writes: Week One

Advice from the Editors

“Lit mag editors shouldn’t be the first people reading your piece. Early drafts, even if they have successful elements, rarely have the tight cohesion necessary to get an acceptance. Find readers you can trust to give you frank, helpful feedback, and work hard on revisions before you submit anywhere. Time is also a great editing tool; put aside your drafts for weeks or even months, so you can come back to them with clear eyes. It’s much easier to see the bones of a piece, and to spot weak scenes or characters, when you have some distance from the initial writing process.”

Emily Everett

Emily Everett, Managing Editor at The Common

Weekly Prompts

Brainstorming & Research Spend a few hours exploring a place that’s fairly close to you but that you’ve never visited before. This might be a park or a historical site or it might simply be a grocery store on the other side of town. Take careful notes about this place and the people you encounter there, paying special attention to anything that strikes you as out of the ordinary. Then, brainstorm different options for how you might write a short essay about this experience.
nonfiction prompt Brainstorm a list of significant moments from your life that are connected to place. This might be a vivid memory from childhood, a significant moment from a trip, or simply a moment from your recent history that feels representative of the place where you currently live and what makes this place unique. Then, using the examples on The Common’s website, write a dispatch—a short written snapshot of moment in time that is inextricably tied up with the location in which it took place.
fiction story exercise Research an occupation that takes place in an unusual or interesting environment that many readers are unlikely to know much about. This could be anything from a nail salon to a movie set to a horse track. If possible, shadow someone who works in this environment and take notes about the sights, sounds, smells, and vocabulary of this world as well as the work being done. Then, write a character profile of a person who works in this place.







The Common’s Weekly Writes: Week One