Posted by: nancyisanders | October 26, 2009

Periodical Challenge Mini-Retreat

I talk with a number of writers who live far, far away from a regular writing group. Recently someone from Canada and someone else from the UK contacted me, looking for other writers to form a group online.

If you’re one of these writers who doesn’t live near other people who write, don’t despair. You can join us and take the Periodical Challenge, too! Schedule a special writer’s mini-retreat and have fun targeting the manuscript of your dreams. Here are some suggestions for your funtabulous day:

Get Organized: Prepare a pocket folder and place several file folders inside to help organize your notes for this special event.

Choose a Target Publisher:
Decide on the magazine publisher of your dreams that you’d be thrilled to be published with. If you’re not sure, browse through your market guide for ideas.

Read the Submissions Guidelines: Look online for the submissions guidelines so you know exactly how to connect with the magazine.

Find a Sample Article: Read through copies of your target magazine and find an article similar to one that you’d like to write.

Type a Sample Article: Take time to type out the sample article you found so it will help you have a feel for the one you want to write.

Brainstorm: Think of several ideas that you’d like to write about and then choose one.

Prepare an Outline: Make an outline of the points you want to say in your article or the plot of your story from A to Z.

Write a Cover Letter: Write a short cover letter to submit with your article or story. Introduce your article, list your writing credits, and explain how it will fit into the magazine.

Write the Manuscript: Start writing the first draft of your manuscript during your mini-retreat! Then, come back and finish it so you can send it in.

After you’re done writing the manuscript, submit it to the periodical of your dreams. Then do a cartwheel. Congratulations! You took the Periodical Challenge!

If you’d like a certificate to hang on your wall, send me an e-mail at and I’ll e-mail you a jpg file of a certificate that says you joined us and took the Periodical Challenge.


  1. This is a great idea! I’ll have to share your post and idea with my critique groups. VERY creative!


    • Let me know if you take the Periodical Challenge, Donna, and I’ll send you a certificate–along with everyone else in your group who joins in the fun!

  2. Writing the cover letter before writing the article–I never thought of that. But I sure can see how it would give you a perspective on what you’re about to write. I just sent off two submissions with the method of writing the cover letter after finishing the final draft. I can see how doing the cover letter first could be helpful. I’m going to try that next time.

    • I’m glad you’re going to give this a try! You can do it either way, but sometimes it’s nice to do it first ’cause it helps you get an overview of the project right at the start. Have fun!

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