Woman moving forward on a hiking trail.

How to Bounce Back From Twitter Pitch Contest Rejections

A few voices chime in that no one liked their pitch. They got a like, but it was from a vanity publisher, not from an agent. They tried PitchWars and didn’t get in, they tried Nightmare on Query Street and didn’t get in, they tried DVPit and didn’t get in – and now they’re thinking their flavor of book is not marketable. And they say in a small voice, maybe they won’t query after all. Maybe they will put their work back on the shelf.

person writing on paper.

How to Deal With a Bad Writing Day

When you’re going through a bad day, the trick is not to internalize all the crap that comes up. Recognize it, acknowledge it, and then keep going until you’ve hit your goal. Here are a few ways I do that.

Evergreen branches with string lights.

This is For You If You Dread the Holiday Season

If you struggle with this time of year – and many of us do – please know you aren’t alone.

I’ve struggled with the holiday season for as long as I can remember.

For me it’s a mix of divorced family baggage, not connecting at all to the religious overtones of the season, stress over gift giving, and feeling drained by mounting obligations.

Two women talking.

Top 7 Mistakes Writers Make When Pitching Literary Agents

I’ve been fortunate to meet agents at writers’ conferences and through workshops. I’ve also been through the query trenches, from cold querying agents to participating in Twitter contests and responding to manuscript requests. I’m still in the query trenches, but I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Here are the top mistakes I’ve seen writers make when pitching literary agents. These are either things I’ve witnessed myself in conferences, heard agents complain about, or heard writers admit in online forums.

Woman moving forward on a hiking trail.

How to Cope With the Stress of Being in the Closet

In a couple years I’ll be in college and out from under my parents’ thumb. Can’t I wait until then to let my rainbow freak flag fly?

My character’s words came to mind when I received a lesbian dating advice question from an Indian college student who felt trapped between a friend’s suspicion of her sexuality and her deep desire to remain in the closet through the rest of college. This woman was 20, and desperate to keep her secret hidden; I assumed this was because homosexuality is still criminalized in India and out gays and lesbians face widespread discrimination.

woman in black crew neck t shirt wearing white headphones

My Favorite Podcasts for Writers

Living in the country, I don’t get many chances to attend readings, mingle with other writers, or take part in a writer’s group …. all things I took for granted when I lived in Boston. Fortunately, the explosion in podcasts has brought a ton of great audio content that lets me learn about craft, find books to read, and cultivate a connection to the writer’s community.

Listening to writing podcasts has helped me better understand the publishing industry, feel less alone in my journey, and get a new perspective on aspects of the writing craft and process.

Woman writing in the mountains

Editing Tip: Fix That Boring Scene With the Sandbox Technique

Having my opening pages critiqued by a literary agent showed me where my work was landing flat. In particular, the agent thought one area needed work – the dialogue I’d written wasn’t punchy enough to make my main character stand out in all her rainbow freak flag glory.

Since that critique I’ve been working through conversations, one line at a time, looking for ways to make my dialogue snappy rather than flat. Last weekend, I learned a new technique to reboot a boring scene.