26 11 / 2012


If you want to write for a living, you will lose friends and lovers. The chance you will be rich and famous is miniscule. It is hard work and it feels like you are always splaying your innards out for the world to see. Write anyway.

You can write the story, you can not write the story - people will have a problem either way. They will say, “You don’t write for the right people” or “You can/should do better” or “You don’t write enough” or “You write too much.” Remember: The people doing all that talking? They’re not writing. Writers write. Talkers talk. You should let them.

Take what is useful and leave the rest. Always. Most writers I know and admire say they try to take both praise and criticism as the ephemeral feedback they can be.

The most effective, enduring tool in your writer’s toolbox is discipline.

Writers who don’t like to read are typically bad writers. Reading gives you a wealth of life and experience that you don’t have time to experience firsthand, and it both deepens and expands your work at the same time.

Call yourself whatever you want: journalist, writer, blogger, content creator. Labels are really only useful for food. What really matters: Courage, humility and endurance.

People who procrastinate believe they have time. The wise among us know that we are always working against the clock.

Procrastination is a good mask for things we’d rather not admit to ourselves. But excuses, delays, refusal to submit to journals, to apply for grants, residencies or scholarships - these are self-sabotage. I read somewhere that professional writers should view submission as a business. This is why, at any given time, I have three calendars in rotation to keep track of deadlines.

You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. (Wayne Gretzky)

Do what you need to do to get your work out there if you really want to be published. No one is coming to do it for you. There are a ton of people who are threatened by the combination of hard work, talent and good timing.

When you don’t put your work into the world, they win.

Do or do not, the Jedi Master says. There is no try.

I need this. All of it.

14 11 / 2012

"The business is full of fiction writers like me. With one difference: I’m black, born and raised in the United States. At the parties and conferences I attend, and in the book reviews I read, I rarely encounter other African-American “literary” writers, particularly in my age bracket."

24 10 / 2012

09 9 / 2012

"Sometimes it’s easy to forget that real people produce the documents we see. For instance, when we see billboards on the freeway, an instruction manual for a computer, or an application form for employment, we often forget that a writer or a team of writers actually sat down to produce those documents."

Dobrin, Keller & Weisser. Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008. pg33

One of my professors in my Technical & Professional Communications program explained to us last week that she used to work for Quaker Oats for a few years, writing nutritional and other hodge podge information found on cereal boxes, and writing the small, short manuals that come with the toys that come in cereal for children. Everyone was shocked. Who knew people really took time, and got paid real money, to do that? And to think, that’s what I’m in school for…ha!

Luckily, it’s an industry that will never go away. We will always need writers, even for the things that people barely give their attention.

31 8 / 2012

Diaz shares his feeling on Encyclopedia Brown, Octavia Butler, the books he loves, the stories that made him cry, the book that pissed him off

20 8 / 2012

20 8 / 2012

So happy to be included in this list!


It’s no stranger to anyone who knows me that I an enamored of the written word. I am an avid reader and stan the entire fuck out for my favorite authors. In my travels through the interwebz though, I’ve come across a few writers that are not published, but give me everything that I need through their writing. I be over here yelling out “YYYYYAAAAASSSSS” and nodding at the keyboard when they post.

For me? That’s the mark of a great writer. They write things that make you FEEL. Things that reach down into your body, snake around your heart and clutch it like a tightly closed fist. They make you laugh. They make you cry. They make you say “HELLO” in that way that signifies agreement. They make you want to give up writing, yet inspire you to keep on keeping on because one day maybe your writing can make someone else feel the way theirs does for you. (run onnnnnn, sentence. run like forrest!)

As someone who would like to be a writer, I know that encouragement is one thing that fuels writers to keep going. So I wanted to post this little shoutout to let them know that their work is *Monica voice* EVERYTHING TO MEEEEHHHHEEEEE. Below are their names (or noms de plume), blog URL, twitter, reasons I think they rock & some of my favorite posts. I limited myself to only three posts per person, but I could have easily picked WAY more than that. Without further ado, here’s my list of 10 Writing Ass Writers I Adore.


Name: Syn

Twitter name: @St_Syn

Blog URLhttp://excitingredbonelightning.com/

Why her writing rocks: I always say that Syn is one of my favorite people that I don’t know. Why? It’s simple, she’s intelligent, thoughtful, sincere and honest. I’ve been following her blogfor a while now and I’m always enriched by what she writes. I like the way she offers her point of view as well as takes the thoughts of others into consideration. She is not afraid to play devil’s advocate nor does she pander to reach an audience. Syn is Syn no matter what & I dig that. And one of these days when I make it to Atalanterrrrr, I’m buying her a drink just because. HAHA!

Favorite Posts: Syn makes this hard for me because she doesn’t always title her damn posts!! LOL But anyway… when the youth revolt,  untitled one (re: rearing kids), untitled two (re: the american dream)


Name: Robyn

Twitter name: @skinnyblackgirl

Blog URLhttp://theskinnyblackgirl.com/

Why her writing rocks: I started following Robyn on Twitter fairly recently. I’d seen her @name skitter across my TL every now and again and figured I needed to finally gon’ head & follow. Shortly thereafter, she posted a blog that had me going through her archives and reading all of her stuff. And I’m still going through them archives and gleefully clapping when she posts new things. Whether it’s chronicling her journey as a writer or just talmbout life in general, Robyn’s writing is fresh and inviting.

Favorite Posts: What’s My Favorite Word, SBG Origins, Reconsider


Name: Shenequa

Twitter name: @GoldingGirl617

Blog URLhttp://goldinggirl.com/sg/

Why her writing rocks: Aliya King posted a link to Shenequa’s blog and I instantly liked it. I really like Shenequa as a person, at least the person I’ve seen through her writing. She is honest, with bits of vulnerability peeking through. She is sincere. She is earnest. She is determined to make it and be the best at what she does. She’s willing to do the work, waiting patiently for her chance to shine & I dig that.

Favorite Posts: Charmaine: The Baker, Unwritten Rules, Excuse me, but which way to success?


Name: Nakia

Twitter name: @_sugahoney

Blog URLhttp://www.sugahoney.com/ or http://zoratonimaya.tumblr.com (literary blog)

Why her writing rocks: Nakia’s writing has heart and soul written all over it. She writes what she knows and loves, which (in my opinion) is what a few more people in this world need to do.  She reminds me of my girlfriends when she tells stories about being The Date Master or a Single Black Woman With Zero Options. She has a lasting relationship with God and is grounded in her spirituality. She has an honest zeal for the craft of writing and it shows in her work.

Favorite Posts: Wading Home (A Book review), Poems at Midnight, Love Has All the Lasting Permanence of a Rainbow…and I Give Up


Name: Stacia

Twitter name: @slb79

Blog URLhttp://stacialbrown.com/

Why her writing rocks: I have no idea how I found Stacia, but I thank God that I did. She is just…listen, I can’t even. Her life is steeped in poetry. Her words carefully crafted in ways that make you just…feel. I’m nobody’s mama, but her posts in relation to parenting have me over here completely enthralled. The language is so lush. The words carefully selected to convey emotion, evoke feelings and draw the reader into her world. I am a Stacia stan & will be buying whatever book she eventually has for sale because her writing is all of it and then some.

Favorite Posts: Beyond the Carousel, Remain Calm, Gradient Grace


Name: J.Nicole

Twitter name: @DoctaSlick

Blog URLhttp://www.doctaslick.blogspot.com/

Why her writing rocks: So earlier this summer I went to go see a play that was in town because Phylicia Rashad was the director. It was well written and beautifully acted. One of the characters that really entertained me was played by this lady here. Somehow I found her on “the Twittas” which lead to the blog and it was o-v-a-h, ovah, okay? She is hilarious, thoughtful, slick tongued, and intelligent. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check out her blog, tbh.

Favorite Posts: Lesbionage and Other Ways My Career Was Rejuvenated Part 1, Slick’s Picayune Tribune Times: The Weekend Edition, The Ofay Watcher


Name: La

Twitter name: @Ladidahdi

Blog URLhttp://www.liquorloansandlove.com  

Why her writing rocks: I think I found her through a retweet from Syn, actually.  I don’t quite remember the post or if there was actually a post, but I do remember hitting the follow button immediately thereafter. La’s writing is honest, pure and simply inviting. She has no qualms about writing about real life experiences and what she has learned from them. She’s fearless in her writing and I love that.

Favorite Posts: Party of One, The One Where My Mom and I Talk About Vibrators, Merry Christmas


Name: CaShawn

Twitter name: @thepbg

Blog URL: www.dirtyprettythangs.com

Why her writing rocks: Many on the interwebz refer to CaShawn as Auntie Peebz and I absolutely agree with this name bestowed upon her. She reminds me of that auntie who is there for you to help you through your times of need and get you together when you’re stepping out of line. Through her writing you see a woman who is self-assured and wants to help others get to that point in their lives as well.  She shares stories that are genuine and funny, offers advice deeply rooted in common sense and is truly the Natural Hair Whisperer.

Favorite Posts: Hey, You Asked: A Divine Responsibility, Breathing Easier: An Epiphany Within a Deliberate Choice, I think it is VERY tacky to call someone else “Ugly” (this one’s actually from her tumblr)


Name: Tia & Toya

Twitter name: @BGLUBlog

Blog URLhttp://www.blackgirlslikeus.blogspot.com/

Why their writing rocks: “Black Girls Like Us” is probably one of the first blogs I read with consistency. I’ve been reading this blog for oooh, prolly close to ten years now. I found them when I was a member of the JJB [if you don’t know what this is, I ain’t telling you LOL]. Immediately I connected with their writing because it comes from a place of honesty. These girls unabashedly love boy bands, alternative music and other things that we as Black people stereotypically aren’t supposed to like. The gals at BGLU provide their perspective on everything from pop culture to music to relationships to spirituality.

Favorite Posts: Ask Myself, The Economy of Mercy, I Wasn’t Going to Say Anything, But...


Name: Kima

Twitter name: @sweat_btwn

Blog URLhttp://kimajones.com/

Why her writing rocks: Kima’s writing is…intense. Yes, that is the perfect way to describe her writing. She’s fearless and releases an unrelenting attack on the written word, carefully selecting each word in order to get her message across. She’s imaginative and determined and vivid. Kima lives loudly and invites you to do the same. 

Favorite Posts: When the Writing Was Finished, The I, California Dreaming (from her LovedLettered Blog project that she is working on with a friend)

(Source: lareinale0n)

16 8 / 2012

"If you’re dating a writer and they don’t write about you — whether it’s good or bad — then they don’t love you. They just don’t. Writers fall in love with the people we find inspiring."

Jamie Anne Royce (via yesikastarr)

It’s true.

(via nilesheron)

(Source: thoughtcatalog.com, via nilesheron)

02 8 / 2012


“What if we lived here together” is what I wanted to ask kinda loudly over the Roberta Flack playing at the end of Waiting To Exhale. I sat quietly, facing David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, wondering if now was a good time to read it. I want to speak to her about coming into this space. She’s already occupying so much of my time. So much of everything that pulses hard. Starting a book now isn’t the smartest idea. Asking her to bring her books to my bookshelf is important. It’s worth throwing away that extra copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends, making Post-Blackness, The Browder Files, and the magazines Niema gave me vertical. There’s space here. There’s a man here who believes children could run through the house dirtying up everything as long as they know how to clean. And she’s smiling, believing the four women she’s watching ended on a happy note. I don’t have the guts to tell her about what Johnny said was going to happen in part two.

“I,” I start, and she turns to look at my lips moving, rehearsing for some grand proposal. “I think it’d be  good idea if you brought a few books over and left them on my shelf.” I’m a writer, and this is as good as it gets. She didn’t need a ring, just the ability to borrow a bookmark whenever she needed, or unwritten or unspoken permission to take my copy of Cecil Brown’s The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger with the original cover. “You gonna clear off space for me? What about the bedroom,” asked liked a woman who learned from a mother who probably loved men who spoke in circles. “There’s space there too,” I said, being a man who hates squares.


24 7 / 2012