Abandon your darlings

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Imagine, if you will, the author in her very early twenties. She’s two months out from her college graduation, completing her second or third week as a real journalist at a real newspaper. She’s wearing a suit that’s far too fancy for the newsroom around her, but that’s just because she only owns the one right now. She’s so new she hasn’t been out shopping for business casual clothes yet….

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Eyes on your own paper.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I can’t remember who told me this first, but here’s the piece of writing advice that changed my life: Eyes on your own paper. I can’t tell you how many careers Comparison and her brother Jealousy have ruined. And they’re vicious. They’ll roll right into your house, take your remote, crack open a soda and put their feet up on your ottoman before you even know what’s happening. They’ll ruin…

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Where should you study writing? Here’s where I’ve taken great workshops

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Looking to write a book? Here are some places I recommend you check out. While the offices for the following schools are based in New York City, I think they all offer online courses, so you can be based anywhere and still get a great writerly education! Sackett Street Writers Workshop – I took a novel generating course here and I am so glad I did! The course I took…

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Interview & Giveaway with Stephanie Elliot, Author of SAD PERFECT

This week, we’re speaking with Stephanie Elliot, the author of young adult novel SAD PERFECT (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). SAD PERFECT tells the story of sixteen year old Pea, who struggles with a little known eating disorder known as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). The novel was in part inspired by Elliot’s daughter’s real-life experience with the disorder. Called “a well-written page-turner whose sensitive topic is covered with finesse and grace”…

Saturday, December 8, 2018
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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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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: What I Wished I Knew When I Was Starting Out

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Missing my poetry-mom Lucille Clifton especially today. Here she is reading aloud a poem of hers that I love. Until I got to graduate school, until I got to the people who would become my writing family and my writing community, I wasn’t encouraged much by my peer set in creative writing classes. Especially while I lived and worked in the Deep South. I always felt out of place, out of…

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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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