Celebrate Native Heritage today with a book, an article, and a podcast

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dear reader, November is Native American Heritage Month and instead of writing a Thanksgiving post, I’m compiling a very brief list comprised of one article, book, and podcast that I’ve enjoyed this year and would like to share with you. In June, Jen Deerinwater wrote a fantastic piece for Rewire.News on “Two Spirit,” which she defines as the “umbrella English language term that refers to non-binary gender identities that were…

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Want to Write a Query Letter? Here’s An Easy Template

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Dear readers, Today we are talking about writing a query letter, which is the first step to getting a literary agent, who will then sell your book to an editor, beginning the wondrous path to your book’s publication! Writing a query letter is much like writing a great cover letter for a coveted job. There’s a formula, and if you don’t stray far from it, you are likely to succeed…

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Are you distracted or just busy?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

This is going to be a fairly short post because today I’m a little distracted. There are a million things that I need to get done, but I put together a quick 5 minute list on how to stay focused on writing when you’re feeling as distracted as I am: Turn off your WiFi while you write. You can do all your “research” later. Or, even better, print out the…

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On Día De Los Muertos, thousands of people commit to writing a novel

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Today is November 1st, which makes it a special day for several reasons. When I was in college in California, today was the day that the Chicano Latino Student Union dressed the courtyard outside the dining hall in paper marigolds and burning candles, sugar skulls and sugary bread for Día de los Muertos. On a plastic table draped in dark tablecloth are framed photographs of people I don’t know. On…

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Do your edits like a grown-up would

Thursday, October 25, 2018

This week, we’re supposed to be writing about how to survive an edit letter — which refers to the list of revisions that your editor wants you to make after acquiring your book. I guess it’s hard to make big changes to your manuscript after you’ve sold it, but you should never really be that attached to your story anyway. You should always be open to making it better. I’ve…

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On the Poetry of Isaac Brock

Thursday, October 18, 2018

For this week’s post on literary influences, I’m republishing an essay I wrote about the intersection between song lyrics and poetry and how an unlikely rock band influenced a younger version of myself to think and read differently. The essay, On the Poetry of Isaac Brock, originally ran on Vol. 1 Brooklyn. When I was a freshman in high school, I had one of those rare things that stay with…

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Ivelisse Rodriguez on Latinx literature & writing new models of love + GIVEAWAY of LOVE WAR STORIES

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Please welcome Ivelisse Rodriguez to the Ball this week! Ivelisse’s debut short story collection, Love War Stories, came out this July to much acclaim, and was named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by Cosmopolitan, The Root, and Bitch Media. Bustle called it an “exceptional debut” and as soon as I read the description of the book (and saw it was published by Feminist Press, one of my favorite small presses!),…

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On Drafting

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I get easily excited about ideas. If you sit me in front of a computer long enough, I will inevitably start writing. Drafting is the fun part. Drafting should be the stream of consciousness part, the unfiltered part, the part that is done out of joy. In drafting, there is no judgment, only indulgence. One is able to describe a house or a room or even a bowl of soup…

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Three Steps to Make Failure Suck Less

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The first time I ever felt crushed by rejection was in high school. I was somehow nominated for a months-long mentorship with an established poet, and as part of the decision process, I was invited to Scholastic HQ in downtown Manhattan to meet the other poets in the running. When I was called to read my poem in front of the group, I flailed my hands in passion, the plastic…

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It’s all life, it’s all writing

Thursday, September 27, 2018

It has been a rough week in the news, and I imagine that I don’t speak for just me when I say that what’s playing out in the screens is also affecting us in our hearts. On weeks like this, writing feels like looking up to the sky, lifting my face towards a God I don’t believe in, waiting for an answer. What can I possibly write to make anything…

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