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 AussieWriter.com 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.


Best of the Net.

I’m a firm believer of incremental improvement towards bigger goals. That said, the only ways I know to improve as a writer are by writing…and reading the work of others.

So I’ve been spending some time digesting the “Best of the Net 2016” as presented by Sundress Publications. Why not read and possibly learn from some of the best writing in the past year? My intentions are twofold…I want to read some great writing, but I also have a stretch goal of trying to make the Best of the Net list for 2017. Studying these works might give me the insight to make that goal reality.

There is some amazing work that may inspire you…and also is simply enjoyable to read! Check it out…


Rat's Ass Review.

Happy to announce that I have a new poem published online at Rat's Ass Review's as part of their "Such an Ugly Time" collection of political poems.

The poem is called "Freedom Isn't Free and Neither Are We." Big thanks to Roderick Bates for including it. Check it out and then read through all the inspiring work in the "Such an Ugly Time" collection...there are so many insightful works about resistance and the need for change in America during the first 100 days of the new presidency.


Submission Tips.

In order to get to any level of success in writing, let alone famous, I believe you have to submit your work consistently.

I know that I should spend more time submitting my finished work, especially poems. But between the day job, daily life activities, and actually writing, I often feel like I'm too busy or preoccupied to submit my work to journals and contests.

That’s why I need to spend some time studying Robert Lee Brewer’s collection of “Poetry Submission Tips from Other Poets.” I’m sure I can steal at least one tidbit of advice from the poetry pros who contributed to this article…and upgrade my poetry submission routine in 2017.


Writing Better in 2017.

Do you want to develop into a better writer in this relatively new year? You're not alone. That is definitely one of my goals as well. This article from the Grammarly Blog titled “11 Experts on How to Write Better in 2017” looks to eleven famous writers and editors for advice on how to write better this year. It is worth the read…if you‘re able to implement even one of these tips in your writing practice, I’m almost certain you will improve your craft this year.