Useful Guide.

Are you a writer or poet who wants to submit to literary journals and contests but has no idea where to start?

Fear not, for here is your blueprint: “Pitching and Moaning: A Guide to Submitting Your Writing”, a post by Tony Tulathimutte for Catapult. After reading this insanely useful guide, you’ll know everything you need to know in order to submit work to publications. Rock on.

Removing the Filler.

As a writer and Toastmaster, I found this to be a great read: from, “11 Filler Words You Need to (Literally) Cut from Your Vocabulary.” It has great pointers about eliminating crutch words, and I can see how reducing these can strengthen both my writing and verbal communication.

Inscape Magazine.

Inscape is the Pasadena City College student literary magazine. PCC Students edit the literary magazine, market the magazine, design the magazine, and put it into print.

I am happy to announce that my prose poem “Everyone Has Motives” has been included in Inscape Online Volume 1 Issue 2 as part of “The 100.” “The 100” is a special feature of work inspired by the first 100 days of the current president’s administration.

I appreciate the chance to contribute to Inscape and to be able to voice my thoughts on the recent political climate.


“It was the first time I can recall experiencing the best kind of writerly jealousy—the kind that made me marvel at another writer’s work and strive to meet that standard in my own writing.…That kind of envy is a gift. It motivates, pushes, drives. It gives way to action rather than negativity and despair.”

There is an excellent post on writers and jealousy by Laura Maylene Walter over on the Kenyon Review blog. I think all writers should read it and recognize the beauty and ugliness of their writing-based envy.

Do You Sometimes Screw Up When Submitting Your Work?

bright idea 2.jpg

Of course. All writers do, and then we bellyache about all the rejection notices we receive.

Here’s an idea – what if someone assembled all the common mistakes writers make when submitting their work? Then we’d have a checklist of pitfalls to avoid…and hopefully have more success with the work we submit.

Nathaniel Tower has done this over on the Submittable Blog. His article “The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Submitting Your Work” gives honest tips on what to not do from someone who has experienced “the game” as both an editor and an author. It’s a worthwhile read for all writers.

Portage 2017.

Based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Portage is an online literary journal run and edited by undergraduate students of Carroll University. Portage publishes literary writing, art, music, film, and cultural commentary from the upper Midwest.

I’m excited to announce that the 2017 edition of Portage includes three of my poems – “The Mistake Poem”, “Living is the New Dying”, and “Obvious Dangers.” You can check these poems out at the link below. I appreciate the chance to contribute to Portage! It is wonderful to be included amongst the talented writers and artists in this year's edition.

Tricky A Words.


I believe everyone can benefit from this sort of refresher - Kris Spisak’s “5 Commonly Confused Words Starting With A” (on Jane Friedman’s blog). Using words precisely should be the goal of all writers, so there is no shame in revisiting the rules we may have abandoned over time.

Anyway…I sheepishly confess that number five on this list caught me – it appears I’ve been doing the no-no of pluralizing a certain adverb most of my writing life.


Are you looking for inspiration?

Well, you are not the only one. Whether you are writing a novel, blogging, working on a news article, or some other creative idea yet unknown, you may need a push in the right direction. We all feel the need for inspiration at some point.

So check out this article over at the Grammarly blog: A Colossal List of Creators to Inspire Your Writing. “Grammarly hunted down all the best blogs about writing inspiration, writing as a job, writing fiction, and working with social media, content marketing, journalism, and design—plus a few bonuses about creativity in general.”

In other words, bookmark this link for the next time you are running short on inspiration. You’ll be glad you did.

How to Avoid Perfectionism and Handle Haters.

A confident writer cannot indulge in people pleasing, pursuing perfection, or all swallowing the negative poison that haters try to pass off as positive feedback.

Anne Lamont gets it – and you can get it, too, by reading and internalizing some of her sound advice found in this article: The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters: Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing.

The New York Times and Poetry.

The New York Times has established a strong connection with poetry. It has published countless news and features about poetry & poets over the years.

National Poetry Month is a great time to look at this relationship via this article:  “22 Ways to Teach and Learn About Poetry With The New York Times.” I think even those folks who are tepid towards poetry can find something to enjoy amongst these offerings.

Suggested Reading.

In case you didn’t know, April is National Poetry Month. There are many ways to observe this celebration of verse, but the easiest thing you can do is simply read some poetry.

So this is the perfect time to add some new poetic titles to your “books to be read” list. Check out this diverse list of “15 New Poetry Collections To Read During National Poetry Month” as a starting point. Happy National Poetry Month!

Sound Advice.

If you've never been published, the whole "business" side of writing can seem daunting and ambiguous.

Here’s a great starting point – on the Whispering Prairie Press blog lies an article by Leah Merrill called “Put Your Write Foot In.” It’s a clear and straightforward primer for beginning writers to examine how to go about getting published. Definitely worth the read.

Yet another disjointed idea…

…for a poem or story or whatever the hell it will end up becoming.

Please stop – these ideas are arriving too fast for me to handle, especially while keeping my attention deficit in mind. I'm becoming way too disorganized with these scraps of paper, doodles, post-it notes, pieces of napkins, whatever I can jot a phrase down on at the time. Maybe I can put these ideas to good use during April for National Poetry Month…

Escape from the Slush Pile.

For all you short-story writers—you might discover some valuable advice in Robert Kerbeck’s “Emerging from the Slush: 10 Tips for Writers” at the Tahoma Literary Review site. Honestly, most of what’s over there can also apply to writing in other genres.

One point that surprised me was that it is often easier to get into many literary magazines with a non-fiction submittal than with fiction. This shouldn’t dictate what I write, but it’s a fact that I’ll definitely keep in the back of my mind.


If you’re a writer, you should write every day.

That’s a great theory, but it doesn’t account for the ebb & flow of daily life, natural fluctuations in energy, and that there are some days you won’t have inspiration.

I usually come down on myself during those days when I don’t have the spark to write. That’s why Annie Scholl’s post at Brevity titled “Maybe You Don’t Need to Write Every Day” speaks to me. It has me rethinking the unnatural act of forcing myself to write when “it” really isn’t there. Worth the read.

Inspire Creativity.

Like many creatives, I run into moments when I am just fresh out of ideas. The muse doesn’t always show up when I need it to…which can be frustrating and a detriment to productivity.

Never fear – the Grammarly Blog has produced a simple list of 21 Ways to Inspire Creativity When You’re Out of Ideas. None of these ideas are groundbreaking, but they are helpful in their simplicity…low-hanging fruit ideas that you can fall back on to hopefully spark up the fires of your creativity when your usual inspiration is just not there.


I appreciate witty retorts and insults. Quick responses are needed to survive in life.

I believe you can tell a lot about a person from the way he or she puts down another person. Similarly, you can tell a lot about a writer from the way he or she insults a fellow writer. What does a particular writer object to? What makes him this another writer is a hack? What does she value? What are their opinions about grammar and style? You can get that and more just from reading or hearing a single quick put down.

That’s why I found this infographic from to be interesting. It compiles some famous insults hurled at one writer by another. Reading these, I can only imagine the shade these writers would have thrown at each other on social media if it existed back then!


Revising writing is so much more than crossing out a superfluous word or two. It can be a process to some people, an art form to others, but make no mistake – good revisions are the difference between exciting and lukewarm literature.

So check out this article from Lit Hub: 12 Contemporary Writers on How they Revise. It is an awesome chance to steal some tips on revising your work from successful writers.