Speed Reading.

The Wall Street Journal has a test to see how quickly you read. Find out your results, then use their helpful tips to become even quicker.


Then check out this article: Lifehacker’s Patrick Allan teaches how to read an entire book in one day.


Hey, life is short. If you can read faster, then you can read more. And that is a very good thing.

Jumpstart Your Poetry Endeavors During National Poetry Month.

In case you don’t know….April is National Poetry Month (NPM). And no, that is not an April Fool’s Joke.

In fact, this April marks the 20th anniversary of NPM, which was initiated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, NPM has become a large literary celebration with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets all celebrating poetry’s place in society.

Many writers use National Poetry Month as a motivator to write more poetry. Below I list a number of sites that could help you infuse your poetry practice with new energy during NPM.

Some sites encourage writers to share the poems that the prompts help generate. I personally avoid that step, for two reasons. For one, something I freewrite in response to a daily prompt is not ready to be shared immediately. And second, (and I admit this might be a little paranoid) I want to protect the "unpublished" status of my work so I can freely submit it elsewhere in the future. That’s my two cents to consider.

And with that said, here are some potential sources for poetic inspiration during April:

Poetic Asides PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge:


Shade 30FOR30 Poetry Prompt Challenge:


NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month):




Poetry Super Highway Prompt-A-Day for National Poetry Month:


Poetry Writing Workshops from Mslexia:


(Note: This is from a previous year. I don't know if new prompts will be offered in 2016, but the archive is a resource itself.)

30/30 Prompts at Asterisk and Sidebar*


The Time is Now (year-round resource of excellent writing prompts offered by Poets & Writers):


Happy National Poetry Month to all!

Writing About Race.

I missed this article when it first came out, but I do think it's worth sharing. On Popaganda, Sarah Mirk interviews journalists on writing about race.

There seems to have been a lot of articles about diversity in writing lately, and I think that is a great trend. It's a subject that needs to be discussed, for sure. As long as all of this talk about change eventually results in some change, right? 


Writerly Lessons Learned.

In this informative blog post, Kristen Ploetz shares some of what she has learned from five years of “writing, submitting, and promoting…short stories and essays.”

I found this to be a helpful read with a lot of insight –the last part about finding success through failure really resonated with me.

It was also interesting to read about someone else’s process for submitting to markets and comparing it to mine. For example, most of my tracking is done via Excel spreadsheets and/or Submittable, but Kristen opts to use old fashioned pen, paper, and three-ring binders. I think the point is that you need to find what personally works for you, whether it is “old school” or electronic.


Sing That Like Dovesong.

As mentioned on this blog, I spent last week participating in Sing That Like Dovesong (STLD), an online writing workshop for writers of color by Winter Tangerine. The focus was reading, writing, critiquing, discussing how heritage & cultural identities are expressed through writing.

STLD was amazing. I interacted with an extremely diverse and talented group of writers. The varied backgrounds of participants was remarkable, along with the camaraderie – though it was online, it was a safe space and supportive environment.

There were reading assignments dealing with the strength & power behind names, how to reclaim & confront our cultural icons, and how family memory warps our lives. Add in guest seminars exploring dialogue with Angel Nafis and the trauma of diaspora with Fatimah Asghar, and it made for a busy week.

One challenge was technology. STLD was held over three different online platforms: Facebook, Google Docs & Google Air/Hangouts. I had some exposure to these, but I was far from proficient. There was a slight learning curve, but it all worked out. And in the case of Facebook…participation in STLD finally triggered me to join that social media venue after years of resistance.

Overall STLD felt like success. I finished with 3 decent poems on culture that will hopefully be ready for submitting after a bit of editing. I gave and received solid feedback from my workshop group. I have many free-writes and unedited texts with potential from daily exercises. And finally, I know what I’m capable of writing in 7 to 10 minutes – never again can I use the excuse of not having enough time.

Props to my workshop group – Talia Flores, Venus Selenite, Erika Rodriguez, and our advisor Luther Hughes – you made STLD a positive experience. I appreciate that.

If you’re a writer considering an online workshop or class but find yourself hesitating…look into it. If it matches your goals, take the plunge! It can be rewarding and will challenge you to adapt to something different than your normal writing routine. And that change can be a good thing.

So I might not be posting too much this week...

...because I am taking part in an amazing online writing workshop with a diverse group of extremely talented writers. I am definitely being challenged to write, read, and process at an aggressive pace. I have a couple of writing resource posts ready for later in the week, but I will be focused on the creative side of my endeavors. I am sure this workshop experience will result in some interesting blog posts later.

Be good.

NOOK users Beware.

“Come 15 March, Barnes & Noble will be accelerating its digital retreat from the NOOK experiment, leaving customers with a week to salvage their purchased content.”

Sounds like B & N is abandoning their attempt to compete with Amazon’s Kindle. And while that may be a smart business move, it will definitely impact any customers who still use the Nook.


About Writing Anxieties.

At the Electric Literature blog, Ingrid Rojas Contreras boldly presents an illustrated guide to her writing (and not writing) anxieties.

She has an interesting take on the subject, and this is surely the first time I have seen a Venn Diagram used to effectively describe writing anxieties.


Secondhand Inspiration: Advice for Younger Writers

A recent blog post from Jane Friedman includes some excellent writing advice for the children and teens in our lives. I think it is worth passing along to younger writers as a bit of encouragement and guidance.

The post also presents adults with a viable question: Should the writing advice we give to children or teenagers differ from the advice I give to adults? Check out the link and find out Jane’s insight on this.


Guest Blogging at NAR’s Blog

I took a little time off to retool and refine things on this website. Hope you like the upgrades.

But I didn’t completely stop blogging. Head over to the North American Review’s blog to see my guest post there. You’ll get a chance to check out my poem “How to Keep It Real When Everything Has Gone Wrong” that appeared in Issue 301.1 of NAR, as well as read notes on the development of that poem and about my creative process in general.