10 Young Adult Novels That Changed My Life


Young adult is a wonderful genre filled with compelling coming of age stories that I enjoy reading even as an adult. Some of you may not know that, in addition to memoir, I also write young adult fiction. In fact, I recently completed a YA manuscript that I'm beginning to query this week. In honor of that, I wanted to make a list of 10 young adult novels that have influenced me, my writing, and the way I see the Continue Reading

How to Get an MFA in Writing


In my last post, I talked about the journey I took to get my MFA in Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. In this follow-up post, I'm going to cover some of the basics for those looking to get their own MFA in Writing. First of all, be prepared for a possibly long and definitely arduous process. MFA programs, especially ones with any kind of funding, are insanely competitive. I read that Iowa Writer's Continue Reading

Why I Chose to Get an MFA in Creative Writing


Last week, I was invited to speak about writing and education at the California Writers Club of San Fernando Valley. Preparing for the talk gave me the opportunity to think more about MFA in Writing Programs: namely, if writers should get one, what kind of writers should get one, and how to go about getting one. My decision to get an MFA in Writing was both natural and spontaneous. I've been writing creatively as Continue Reading

Surviving The Waiting Game


These days, so much of my life revolves around waiting. I spend hours, sometimes days, working on an essay, query, or cover letter before I send it out, excited and hopeful and scared all at the same time. I watch my inbox, eagerly awaiting some kind of response. Days go by, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. I want to hear something, some kind of news about whether my essay will be published, an agent wants to Continue Reading

My Only New Year’s Resolution


2014 was a tough year. It was a year of loss for myself and many of my loved ones. It was the year that many celebrities we admired passed away. It was a year of cultural unrest, protests, and senseless tragedies. Thinking of all of this has gotten me down. Depressed. Especially since I've just reached a turning point in my own life: my graduation from graduate school. Being done with my MFA means that I no longer Continue Reading

Give the Gift of Memoir


The holidays are upon us, which means that it's time to scramble to figure out what to get your loved ones for their celebration of choice. Here are five fantastic memoirs/essay collections that would make a thoughtful gift for someone who loves to read. All of these have come out in the past year or so and should be easy to find online or in your local bookstore.   The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer An Continue Reading

What NaNoWriMo Has Taught Me About the Writing Process


Confession time: I've attempted to win National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) four times, and I've only met the 50,000 word goal once. The first year, I was still feeling NaNo out. About two weeks in, I got stuck on my project and decided not to finish it, or NaNo. The second year was the one that I won. The third year, I was busy with grad school and used it to get a little writing done on my memoir, but Continue Reading

How to be a NaNoWriMo Rebel


November marks the beginning of another National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). This is my fourth year taking up the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days along with thousands of other writers around the world. But this year, I’m doing something a little different. I’m being a NaNo rebel. A NaNo rebel is someone who doesn’t follow the NaNoWriMo guidelines in some way. Whether it’s continuing a work in Continue Reading

Is There a Link Between Mental Illness and Creativity?


Last week, I was invited to do an interview with Kerry K for her blog. Kerry asked me some interesting questions about the connection between artistic talent and mental illness. Brainpickings recently posted an article about Nancy Andreasen's The Creating Brain, in which Andreasen discusses her findings around the occurrence of mental illness in creative people. There have also been numerous studies Continue Reading

5 Awesome Sites to Help You Query Your Book


I'm in the midst of querying a memoir about my experiences with anxiety disorder and depression as a young adult. It's been a bit of a whirlwind so far with tons of time spent on research and query letter writing. Since weeding through the the immense amount of information online can be overwhelming, I wanted to share a few resources that I've found to be immensely helpful during this process: 1. Chuck Continue Reading