Saturday, November 1, 2014

The November Poem-A-Day Challenge: Poets, Get Busy!

The Favourite Poet by Sir Lawrence Aldama-Tadema
Writer's Digest editor Robert Lee Brewer's answer to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is the PAD (Poem- A-Day) Chapbook Challenge.

Every day during the month of November, poets respond to a daily prompt by writing a poem.

After the month is over, poems are winnowed to 20, then, in December, assembled into a chapbook.

Aside from spurring poets on to bigger and better things, Writer's Digest has a lot of great information for writers of all stripes.

You can sign up for the weekly Writer's Digest newsletter HERE. (It's free!) The Day 1 Challenge is HERE. To find daily prompts go to the Writer's Digest home page and scroll down.


By Robert Brewer, Writer's Digest

Here are the basics of the November PAD Chapbook Challenge:

  • Beginning on November 1 (Atlanta, Georgia time), I will share a prompt and poem each day of November on this blog.
  • Poets are then challenged to write a poem each day (no matter where you live on the planet) within 24 hours (or so) from when the prompt is posted. Don’t worry: If you fall behind or start late, you CAN play catch up.
  • Poets do NOT have to register anywhere to participate. In fact, poets don’t even need to post to this blog to be considered participants.
  • The Challenge will unofficially conclude around 24 hours after the final prompt is posted. That said…
  • This Challenge is unique, because I expect poets to take all the material they’ve written in November and create a chapbook manuscript during the month of December. (Yes, you can revise material, and yes, the chapbook should be composed mostly of poems written for the challenge–I’m using the honor system.)
  • Poets have until 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on January 7, 2015, to submit a manuscript that can be 10-20 pages in length (not including table of contents, title page, etc.) with no more than one poem per page. So if you wrote 50 poems in November, you have to narrow them down to the best 20 (or even fewer). Submit manuscripts to with the subject line: 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. (The subject line is very important, because I have a very busy inbox.)
  • The goal will be to announce a winning manuscript by Groundhog Day 2015. February 2, 2015, for those of you unfamiliar with that particular holiday.
What do poets get out of this challenge?

If nothing else, they get several new poems, but I’ve heard plenty of success stories over the years from poets who have gone on to publish individual poems from these challenges and even complete collections (mostly inspired by the challenges).

Plus, the winner gets recognized on this blog, along with many honorable mentions. That’s a good thing.

Regarding comments, this blog has a history with commenting problems, which why I don’t make it mandatory for poets to post on the blog to participate. However, I think poets who do comment get a lot out of it by sharing their work and creating a community on the blog. Just make sure you save all your work elsewhere too – like in a notebook or Word doc. It’s good to have backups.

If you have any additional questions, shoot them to me in the comments.

I can’t wait to see everyone in November.

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

This will be his seventh year of hosting and participating in the November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. As much as he loves the hustle and bustle of the April PAD Challenges, November is nice for a few reasons, including the focus on creating a chapbook and just the laid back feel. Some of his favorite poems have come out of the November challenges, and he can’t wait to get started again.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


  1. Must the poem be posted anywhere each day? Or do we just compile them and finally send in the chapbook?

  2. You don't have to post your poem - just write one. (And you don't have to keep on the schedule of one a day.) You can, if you wish, post your poem on Robert Brewer's blog here: But you have to register first. (It's free.)

  3. I'm a bit confused about one thing. Do we submit our poems via e-mail, when challenge is concluded, or an actual bound paper manuscript to a physical address?

  4. Submit manuscripts to with the subject line: 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. (You must use that subject line.)


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