Welcome, busy writer!
My name is Rhonda Douglas and I am a poet, editor and fiction writer living and writing in Ottawa, Canada.
I help committed but struggling writers overcome fear and eliminate distractions so that they can write with ease and achieve their writing dreams.
I’ve known I was a writer since I was 9 years old, when I got a gold star on a writing assignment about my brother. My mother still has that story saved in a blue scrapbook in the basement. (Thanks Mom!)
I’m the author of Welcome to the Circus: Stories (Freehand Books, 2015), Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems, (Signature Editions, 2008) and a poetry chapbook How to Love a Lonely Man (Apt 9 Press, 2013). My poems and stories have been published in literary journals in Canada and overseas, and I’ve also published some non-fiction.
I’ve won a few awards for my work: the Diana Brebner Award from Arc Poetry Magazine (for poetry), the Far Horizons Award from The Malahat Review (also poetry), as well as short story prizes from Room Magazine and Prairie Fire Magazine, and I’ve been short-listed for several other awards and prizes.
Truly, I am an English Lit nerd, with a B.A. from the University of Ottawa. In 2011, I received my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree from the University of British Colombia. I am also an alumna of the Humber School for Writers and the Banff Writing Studio.
For ten years, I was on the Editorial Board of Arc Poetry Magazine, and the Poetry Editor there from 2015-2017. I'm still a Contributing Editor.
I’m a writer and a writing mentor.
For every story and poem published, or award I’ve won, there must be at least a dozen rejections. Those hurt like hell, and I ain’t gonna lie, sometimes they also kept me from writing. I had to learn how to keep going.
In my writing life, it’s been very rare for me to actually have “free time” to write. (Free time: HAHAHAHAHA, so funny… sob.) Over the years, I’ve gotten really good at getting the writing done despite the lack of time and in spite of the inevitable rejection.
When I was a teenager, I filled journal after journal with some Very Bad Poems and a few false story starts. On a whim I submitted a poem I’d written for my grandfather to a poetry contest and it won a small prize. They gave me actual CASH MONEY and my mom and I got to go to a fancy ceremony at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I remember loving the dress I wore, which my mom had made from a Laura Ashley pattern. (The ‘80s. You should have seen the size of my eyeglasses.)
Gold stars, cash money and mom’s pride: that is some seriously addictive stuff and it kept me going for a long time. In my twenties, I kept writing in my journals, but mostly kept it secret in pretty boxes bought specifically for that purpose. It took me years to get up the nerve to take my first writing workshop.
Workshops led to writing retreats and eventually more formal programmes like the Humber School for Writers and the MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. I made some writer friends and found a sense of community, as well as a great writing group for short stories. Along the way, I ran a reading series for a while and then became involved in a national poetry magazine.
I eventually moved away from secret scribbling and into seriously studying and publishing my work. This took all the time and support I could manage, while working full-time and raising my daughter.
It also took a lot of courage, and still does.
All that to say that if you are a writer who struggles to get to the page, to feel confident in your work and continue to write in the middle of EVERYTHING ELSE going on in your life, you're in the right place. I hope you find the inspiration and resources you need here to help you get your writing done.
Curious to know more/time to kill?
- I’m a Canadian redhead and an obsessive reader who became a writer, so secretly still think of myself as Anne of Green Gables.
- I was a single parent for quite a few years while working full-time and studying at night. “Busy” is my middle name. “Overwhelmed” is the nickname I’m trying to disavow.
- I think of myself as a writer with a day call; that is, a job with meaning and purpose central to my life and identity. wiego.org is where I spend my days.
- I used to pretend I didn’t watch TV. My iTunes, Netflix and Prime Video queues make a liar out of me: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, (and The West Wing, multiple times), True Blood, Mozart in the Jungle, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries are favourites. I will watch any British costume drama at least once, and until they cast Idris Elba, Matthew Macfadyen is my favourite Darcy.
- The current count of types of coffee-making paraphernalia I own is…[counts on fingers] 6: Bialetti stovetop espresso, Breville espresso machine, two French presses (one small, one large), a Chemex filter drip pour-over glass doohickey, and a Black & Decker Smartgrind coffee grinder. Nescafé is the work of the devil.
- Prone to overuse of brackets (what?) – as well as the dash – and ellipses…
- I write my drafts longhand first, then edit on the computer. I have a pretty serious stationery addiction. #occupationalhazard
- You can find me on Twitter: @shallicompare and on Instagram @shallicomparerd. (Yes, I have a fave sonnet!)