• Together We Make Stronger Art

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 14 comments

    TL;DR version: Basically I just riff about how WriteByNight is turning eight years old and how I draw inspiration from you telling us how we inspire you. You know what, just read the post. It’s not even TL this week, I swear!


    One of the things we’re most grateful for is that we chose WriteByNight over some of the other options we threw around: Composite Monster, for one. Shibboleth! Exquisite Corpse; Flyleaf; Wanderjahr. My goodness.

    This weekend, WriteByNight turns eight years old.

    I looked up eighth anniversaries and discovered that the traditional gifts are bronze and pottery. According to this one website, “Bronze is created by combining two different metals, copper and tin, to make something strong and beautiful.” And then “Pottery symbolizes how your relationship grows and changes into something even more amazing with each year, the way that a lump of clay is shaped by an artist.”

    I’ll spare you any lengthy analogies. The gist: Together we make stronger, more beautiful art.

    Your turn: Which would have been the worst and/or most ridiculous name for WriteByNight: Shibboleth, Composite Monster, Exquisite Corpse, or Wanderjahr? Let us know in the comments section below.



    Almost every week someone tells us that these blog posts and our weekly email message (sign up in the right sidebar!) inspire them to write. Such responses inspire me to write. It’s a pleasing cycle.

    I feel more qualified to write about writing when I’m… you know… actually writing. Like now, when I’m working on a book. At times in the past I’d write blog posts telling you to write every day, find a routine, keep your eyes on the prize. Meanwhile, I’d go weeks, months, without writing anything myself.

    Now that I’m deep into this book, I find that a lot of my posts and email messages are about roadblocks I come across in my process. Like last week, when I asked y’all to help me get my groove back. Or in late July, when I struggled with the concept of sharing family secrets in a memoir.

    You guys are always full of good advice, and eager to share it. It keeps me going. Just like our emails and blog posts keep you going.

    “… combining … to make something strong and beautiful.”

    Your turn: Many of our topics for posts come from questions and comments you send our way. Complete the following sentence and I’ll see if I can do anything about it: “I wish you would write a blog post about ________.”



    August is also the month I officially decided to quit my MFA program after only six credits, ten years ago. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. But I also wonder if I’d be where I am today if hadn’t taken those six credits. (That’s a blog series that’s been on my mind for years.)

    The main reason I’m grateful for that one year? Community. I met many writers in my program. We had shared goals, shared pursuits. We helped each other become better writers. We went to readings and conferences together, and to bookstores to share favorite titles, and to bars to share stories and observations. We became friends.

    I’m in a writing group, here in 2017, with four of those fellow MFAers.

    I married another. You know her.

    Community is what I get here, too. It’s one of my favorite things about running Composite Monster Shibbo WriteByNight. Many of you I’ll never meet, but when your names pop up in my inbox or as comments on this website, I’m always eager to see what you have to say, and to hear about what you’re working on. I correspond more with some of you than I do with most of my closest friends and family members.

    I hope you’ve found some sense of community here, too. We may no longer have an actual writing center, a place where writers can hang out with one another in person, but I’d like to think of this space as sort of a virtual writing center.

    Thanks for hanging out with us.


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is copy editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and writes about literature for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2016 writing project that you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”




    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    Notify of

    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    John Liebling

    Toastmasters. I’d enjoy reading about what you thought of Toastmasters. Can you and Justine spare 90 minutes? Just type your home or writebynight zip code on the Toastmaster website and you’ll find many clubs close by. Clubs are Monday – Sunday. Morning, afternoon, and evening. I also encourage anyone reading these blogs to check out a Toastmaster club. David you mention community. That’s what a Toastmaster club becomes, group of warm compassionate folks, encouraging each other to become better communicators. Writing is a component of a Toastmaster club, because most people write their speeches before they verbally present. Most speakers… Read more »


    You chose the right name in WritebyNight. The others are harder to interpret and not as welcoming. So when it’s that dreadful hour of 4:00 in the morning, instead of slitting your wrists, why don’t you come on over and write it all out with the rest of the night creatures? If we meet again during the day, we will nod, but not repeat the conversation, the inspiration, the communion we shared by night. WriteByNight. A place you enter as a stranger to be recognized, and leave with an invitation to return. This is the image I get from WritebyNight.

    David Duhr

    Hi Teresa,

    I love everything you wrote here. You’re right, those other names are definitely *not* welcoming at all. “Let Composite Monster terrify you and eat your manuscript!”

    I also love the image of the next morning, where weary writers pass each other on the street but only subtly acknowledge that anything happened the night before. Maybe we should have a sign of some kind?

    Stella Pinney

    Your name is the best!
    I would like to you to write a blog about keeping the hope in your heart, and the doubt out of your mind. If that is possible? Thank you for all the help all of you have given me so far.

    David Duhr

    Hi Stella,

    Thank you for the note. And the idea. Doubt is such a monster (a composite monster?), and it affects us all, to varying degrees. I think that would make a fine topic.

    John Liebling

    Yes, WriteByNight – perfect name.

    What about a blog about fun with alliteration? Setting the emotional backdrop. Fun. Pain, Horror. Problem Solving. Sarcastic wit. Deeply held truths. Denial. And everything in between.

    Following is taken from the first two paragraphs of my Chapter Eight:

    Fourteen months before David’s escape; Nefarious cruelas cast her out, with 18% of her inheritance. No friends. No family. Nebulously naive, she nibbles her nails. Noxious never-ending nightmare feeds her notorious neurosis.

    Aghast, Ima’s emotional albatross afflicted feelings of aimlessness, aggressive abandonment, all mixed together in an alienated aggrieved amalgamation.

    David Duhr

    Hey John,

    Thanks for the input. I like the idea of doing a post about how to have fun with writing and with words. Making a reader laugh is one of the most difficult things a writer can do. Making *yourself* laugh while writing, which I know you do, can be equally fulfilling. If not even more.

    I’ll put it in the idea file.


    “Together We Make Stronger Art.” StrongerArt. Hmm.

    Congratulations on your longevity! Best is yet to come.

    David Duhr

    Thanks E! I sure hope so.


    Eleanor Gamarsh

    What about poetry? I know there are different forms but some have been sort of archived and new forms have emerged. I had a poem about poems I wanted to post here. Searched but can’t find it tonight. Maybe another time

    David Duhr

    Hi Eleanor,

    Thank you for the comment. I’d love to run some posts about poetry. The problem is, I’m not qualified! But we’ve used guest writers in the past, so maybe I can convince a poet friend to write some posts for us. So you’re most interested in an exploration of the various forms?


    I think you should write a blog about writing in joint authorshimp (wriiting with a coauthor) It has many advantages::
    1) more ideas
    3) commitment.


    Sorry, I meant I wish you would consider writing a blog about joint authorship (which has the advantages I cited.

    David Duhr

    Hi Alia,

    Thank you for the comment and the idea. So, a general overview of the benefits of doing so? Or a pros/cons kind of thing? I like that. I’ve never worked with another writer on a deep project, but I know some people who have. I’ll do some digging.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x