Thinking of writing a book? Here’s what you need

Before I decided to write my first novel, I never thought average people from average places doing average things could write a WHOLE BOOK. I thought that was reserved for–oh, I don’t know–people who were smarter, more interesting, older, wealthier, less female, more educated, whiter… the list goes on. So despite always writing, I spent a lot of time not sharing my work, even in my college years, because I…

Thursday, November 29, 2018
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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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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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Choose Your Own Adventure: Two Stories About the Querying Process

Thursday, September 20, 2018

This week for The Debutante Ball, we’re sharing our journey to getting a literary agent, so I dug through the archives of my email outbox so you can experience truly and authentically the real realness of my querying process, before I landed the book deal for THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING. WARNING: THERE ARE TWO PARTS OF THIS BLOG POST. THIS IS STORY #1. Read this story to be…

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Carlos Santana Got Me To Write A Novel, Basically

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I remember listening to Santana’s “Maria, Maria”, and wondering what the hell kind of Latina I was for not being more like HER. In college in Southern California, I even used to think: she’s not far from me now. She’s out there, falling in love in East LA, and here I am, earning a college degree and making passes at men outside my family’s income bracket.  That gap between me and…

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