• Studio: The Art of Detail, with Meg Rich: 4 weeks asynchronous, starts Sunday
• Re-charging Your Writing, Post-Pandemic, with Kim Wright, Tuesday 9/28
Register here!

Writers/South Awards Judge Spotlight: Ron Rash

Charlotte Lit is honored to have acclaimed writer Ron Rash as the fiction judge for our inaugural Writers/South Awards.

Ron is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestsellers Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.

• $10,000 in total prizes
• $1,500 1st / $500 2nd / $250 3rd
• Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and flash
• Enter by December 1. Guidelines here


by Judy Goldman

“Whenever something good happens to you regarding your writing, you just get nervous,” my daughter tells me. She’s talking about when I’m on my way to publication, when I get a positive review, when I win a prize.

What’s also true is that when something bad happens to me regarding my writing (publication impossible, bad review, no prize), I get nervous.

Rejection makes me nervous because it confirms what I often believe to be true about myself. Acceptance also makes me nervous because I’m convinced some major rejection is next.

For years, I’ve told students in my workshops they need to possess both arrogance and insecurity to be a writer. Arrogance enables you to think that what you write might matter to somebody else. Insecurity forces you to keep going back to your work to revise, to strive to make it better.

But what role does nervousness play? And what is the key to getting rid of that nervousness or, at least, tone it down a notch? How do you become a person who approaches writing with a sense of calm?

Be a dead writer?


But if you’re reading this, you’re alive, and we need to work with that. Is there some trade secret all the successful writers know?

Ann Enright, an Irish writer, says, “Writing is mostly a case of mood management.” So how do you manage your mood? Well, this is what not managing your mood looks like:

  1. Praise paralyzes you. You think, surely they’re just trying to make you feel good. Or maybe the praise is sincere, but they don’t know good writing, so you can’t trust them. Or maybe they know good writing and meant what they said, but you know all that could change in an instant.
  2. You know you’ll never get it right. It’s the contrast between the image in your mind of the work you want to create vs. what actually ends up on paper. How they rarely match. If only readers could see inside your head, they’d know what a fabulous writer you are.
  3. You’re so afraid of failure, you don’t take risks. Your inner critic is forever blowing the whistle. Maybe you stop yourself before you even begin, before you take the risk of writing at all.
  4. What’s the use? is your mantra.

And what is really excellent mood management?

Persisting. Persevering. Without discouragement or bravado. With curiosity. With wide-eyed wonder.  With the attitude that anything can happen — and so what? Regardless, you’re right there, at your sturdy little desk, pecking away. The writer Fred Leebron once said to me: “It’s a war of attrition. Don’t attrish.”

So, it turns out the key to continuing to write even while riddled with nerves is to continue writing even while riddled with nerves. It’s the trade secret every successful writer knows. It’s also the problem every successful writer struggles with.

Judy Goldman is the author of seven books – three memoirs, two novels, and two collections of poetry.  Her new memoir, Child, will be published May 2022. 

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Spotlight on September & October

Fall Classes Are Underway!


Studio: The Art of Detail
With Megan Rich

4 weeks Asynchronous: September 26 to October 23, Virtual via Wet Ink and Zoom
$300 members; $375 non-members (includes one-year Charlotte Lit General Membership)Six spaces left • More Info / Register

Re-charging Your Writing, Post-Pandemic
With Kim Wright

Tuesday, September 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Virtual via Zoom
$45 members, $55 non-membersThree spaces left • More Info / Register

Fueling the Fires: Journal as Inspiration
With Ashley Memory

Tuesday, October 12, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Virtual via Zoom
$45 members, $55 non-membersMore Info / Register

Channeling for Writers
With Jennifer Halls

Thursday, October 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Studio Two
$45 members, $55 non-membersSix spaces left • More Info / Register


Uneasy Women: Writing Feminist Southern Gothic Fiction
With Beth Gilstrap

Thursday, October 21, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Studio Two
$45 members, $55 non-membersMore Info / Register

The Flesh Made Word: Writing Allegory
With George Hovis

2 Sessions: Thursday, October 26 & November 2, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Virtual via Zoom
$90 members, $110 non-membersMore Info / Register


Marketing Your Book
With Kathy Izard

Tuesday, October 19, 2022, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Virtual via Zoom
$45 members, $55 non-membersRegister


Writing the Personal Essay
With Amy Paturel

4 weeks Asynchronous: October 24 – November 20, Virtual via Wet Ink and Zoom
$300 members; $375 non-members (includes one-year Charlotte Lit General Membership)More Info / Register

Tuesdays: Pen to Paper

Every Tuesday we gather on Zoom for a writing prompt, community writing time, and sharing — Led by Meg Rich, Kathie Collins, or Paul Reali — 9:30-10:30 a.m. Always free! Register for any session here to get the week's link.

What's What

Things We Like This Week

WHAT TO POD: Charlotte Readers Podcast: In episode episode 243, host Landis Wade visits with Sam McGee, author of Cartledge Creek, a gripping novel of the Civil War in which his own family’s story is told. And in episode 244, Landis talks with Marvin Williams Sr., author of Secondary Break: An NBA Dad’s Story,” a memoir of one father’s journey from his roots in Brooklyn to small-town NC and the love of basketball instilled in both himself and his son, an NBA player for the Charlotte Hornets.
WHAT TO GHOST: Wiley Cash, acclaimed NC author and Charlotte Lit faculty member, has a new novel out this week, When Ghosts Come Home.
WHAT TO BLOG: Storied Charlotte this week features Mimi Milan, a local Latina writer. 
WHAT TO VERSE: Pedestal 88.5 is now online, and includes cover art by our friend Jonathan Rice.
WHAT TO HMMMM: An article this week at, "The Best Poetry Books To Read If You're New To The Genre," happened to include books by Charlotte Lit's most recent guest poet, Ada Limón and our first guest poet, Linda Pastan (February 19, 2016)! 


CONGRATULATIONS to Melinda Ferguson, Charlotte Lit member and faculty member, for the publication of The Gift of Personal Writing.

The Gift of Personal Writing describes how to find time to journal, set up your space, protect your privacy, what to write about, the health benefits of journaling, and best of all, how to relax and enjoy writing. Non-judgmental personal writing helps you feel more centered, more in control of your life, and draws out your unique creativity. Personal writing is a practice that gifts you with time to relax and be alone with your thoughts.

(Melinda leads a class based on this book January 6, 2022. Click for info.)
Purchase Links: Park Road Books (or visit the store) • AmazonBarnes & Noble

More Lit Arts Action


September 24 (and every 4th Friday), LIVE Open Mic Night for CWC Members to read their work, 6:45 - 9 p.m. Mug's Coffee, 5126 Park Road, Charlotte.

September 25, 2:00 p.m. Finding a Story, a virtual writing workshop with Jill McCorkle.

Thursday, October 14, 2021at 7:00 p.m. Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, virtual reading and conversation.

Learn more about these events and register at


November 19- 21: Fall Conference, Sheraton Imperial in Durham-RTP — and available as a livestream so that writers can attend from home. More than 20 classes on the craft and business of writing, spread across five sessions in two days, plus three multi-session Master Classes, a Manuscript Mart and a Critique Service, and three general-session panel discussions: “From Lore to Lit and Back Again,” with the NC Folklife Institute; “Community Journalism,” sponsored by PEN America; and the ever-popular (and self-explanatory) “Agents & Editors.” Info


Wednesday, September 22: Waterbean Poetry Night at the Mic presents a reading and book signing with this year's first featured poet, Keith Flynn, plus open mic. Waterbean Coffee, Northcross Shopping Center, Huntersville. Info

Flatiron Writers Room in Asheville hosts a number of great classes, some in person and some online. Check out Memoir Builder, beginning September 20, and Manipulating Time, November 14, both with Tessa Fontaine; and Scrivener Essentials with Charlotte Lit's Paul Reali, October 16. Info

19th Annual James River Writers Conference, Online, October 8-10, with pre-conference master classes on Friday, October 8. Classes, agent one-on-one meetings, and "First Pages Panel" with literary agents. Info


NEW! Doris Betts Fiction Prize, sponsored by the NC Writers' Network, awards $250 and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review to a short story under 6,000 words. The final judge is Monique Truong. Deadline is October 31. Info
NEW! Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest, from Charlotte Writers Club. Stories up to 500 words. $15 CWC members, $20 non-members. Deadline October 19. Info
NEW! CWC North & Mooresville Arts Ekphrastic Exhibit 2: Seeking poets and artists to participate in an ekphrastic art exhibit. Eight works of art will be featured along with sixteen poets’ interpretations at a reception on June 10, 2022, at the Mooresville Arts Gallery. This is a two-part judged, non-compensatory exhibit open to members of CWC and poets in the Carolinas. Deadline October 20. Info
NEW! Press 53 Award for Short Fiction: For an outstanding, unpublished collection of stories. First Prize: $1,000 Advance, publication (softcover and hardcover), 50 copies. Deadline: December 31. Info
NEW! Seeking Poetry Mentors: Charlotte Lit is partnering with The Dozen Years of Digging Poetry Festival to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Winterfield Community Garden in East Charlotte on Saturday May 14, 2022. The festival is working with Winterfield Elementary and other CMS schools to commemorate the garden through sustainability themed poems. Students are being asked to write poems which will be included in a collective journal for the celebration. Poetry mentors from the community will conduct revision workshops with students serve as judges to select a winning poem that will be displayed on a memorial in the garden. The workshops will begin in late October / November. If interested, please contact Brooke Lehmann at
And don't forget: Charlotte Lit's Writers/South Awards. $10,000 in prizes, deadline December 1. Info
CHARLOTTE LIT'S MISSION is to celebrate the literary arts by educating and engaging writers and readers through classes, conversations, and community.

Charlotte Lit is a community, open to all. Through our programming and practices, we consciously reach out to non-majority and under-represented groups and individuals.

Charlotte Lit's Statement of Inclusivity, adopted by our Board of Directors

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