I’m taking a minute to share a great essay contest for my Latina #Dimelo readers I just learned about from Latina and SheBooks.

 

From the SheBooks site about the I am Latina Essay Contest

Win $1,000 and publication in Latina and Shebooks!

With over 52 million Latinos in the U.S., it’s easier than ever to keep our cultures alive. Latina & Shebooks, a new e-book publisher, want to read about the moment that you felt the most connected with your culture and were proud to call yourself a Latina. Starting January 10, 2014, you can submit your essay up to 1000 words, and you’ll be entered to win $1,000 and publication in a future issue of Latina.  Winner and runners-up may also be featured in a future Shebook.

 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? And I love what I’m seeing about SheBooks, a new e-publisher of short books written by and for women. I’m also excited to see my column about raising a chingona as one of the many listed as examples of essays Latina loved.  Click here to get the full details on the essay contest and get to writing!

 

 

What does one buy her husband to make up for the general craziness of the writing/blogging/freelancing life putting the sex life on the back burner when Important Things Are Happening that Must Be Attended to Right This Minute? I’m thinking the man-equivalent to Something Shiny and Sparkly.

Don’t say a Ferrari. I’m freelancing. That Writer-Speak for “Looks Good On Paper Only” with “Fucking Broke” understood to be the most accepted translation. Besides, it’s not like I came home smelling like another man’s cologne or something. That, my friends, would require what normal people tend to refer to as “Free Time”.  I have been told this “Free Time” is something one can only find outside of The Internet and requires the separation, if only temporary, mind you, of self and laptop. Always interesting, this learning about the habits of the Non-Writer.

The other night, after a frantic nod to, um, Quality Time, (and a “Was That Good For You? Yes? Good!,” exchange as I bolted out of the room and into my email to reply to a revision request from my editor, I realized I’m married to a saint. I mean, I knew that before Oh Husband Whom I Know is Reading These Words, but sometimes, the little Aha! Moments tend to jump out and say You Have No Idea How Difficult You Are to Live With Sometimes and Why is Pinterest Giving His Penis a Complex?

Let’s discuss, shall we? Or would it be easier to just get a calendar and a Sharpie and circle the other days of the month indicating:

  • Deadlines
  • Twitter parties
  • Sherlock
  • That blog post I REALLY need to write about that thing that just went viral that I’ll go to my grave swearing a tiny part of me wasn’t convinced my brilliant response would go viral, too
  • General stabbiness because ten different bloggers TOLD me I’m a much better writer than that two-bit hack that went viral only because she got lucky (after I asked them, of course)
  • My fictional characters in that novel I’m writing just acted out the next scene inside my head I have to write RIGHT now or I lose it all
  • The kid drove me nuts all day
  • PINTEREST
  • Live-tweeting Downton Abby
  • I got in a phone fight with his mom
  • I got in a phone fight with my mom
  • We’re out of chocolate
  • We’re out of wine
  • We’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The hours I need to comb through blog archives in search of THE PERFECT PIECE of literary wit to submit to –
  • A) Listen To Your Mother
  • B) Blogher Voices of the Year
  • That Facebook quiz I need to take to figure out what character I’m most like in Harry Potter, which leads me to the one about what kind of French cheese I am
  • The dishes in the sink that aren’t gonna do themselves
  • The fifteenth online book launch party this month for yet another friend I can’t let down
  • The twitter argument I have to finish with this idiot who has no fucking clue who they’re messing with
  • The planets are out of alignment
  • Mercury is in retrograde …. Again
  • File another invoice while secretly cursing the chick with the 300 Sandwiches and the book deal
  • I’m busy buying 19 more URL’s for ideas I’ll never get to…just in case
  • Frantic text conversations with the online friends I’ve yet to meet in person discussing Important Things like how many pairs of shoes to pack for that conference none of us have actually purchased tickets for yet
  • My 1,000 word goal for the day is still 989 words short
  • The NEED to Google my blog Alexa rank RIGHT NOW even though I still have no idea what it means
  • Which, obviously, is to be followed up by checking my Klout score
  • *Googling “Does Klout Matter to People who don’t think in 140?
  • I haven’t yet taken 30 selfies from different angles, narrowed it down to the perfect one, and thought up a witty caption for that #365feministselfie thing and posted it EVERYWHERE before I even THINK of getting naked
  • That important email I’m waiting for that will show up right now if I keep hitting refresh
  • The conference call I’m waiting on in east coast time with everybody else in west coast time
  • The kid drove me nuts all day & we’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The writing and scheduling of next week’s blog posts
  • When I was frisky while he was at work and I was home alone and I took care of it myself already because I was being proactive and really should be congratulated for thinking ahead to free up my night to …
  • Pick any of the above

Damn. Poor guy puts up with a lot, doesn’t he?

We writers are a special bunch. And the people who are nuts enough to love us deserve their own reality shows, I think. Because when we make it big? That’s when we make it up to them and they can proudly tell the world they knew marrying the crazy lady would totally pay off in the end.

Just let me finish up this chapter so I can write this blog post and hit Publish because dammit, this one’s gonna go viral.

I just know it.

 

 

I'm sorry. You said what now?

If you’re a writer, we need to have a chat.

If you’re a new writer harboring visions of being picked up by a fancy agent at a blogging conference and that fat book deal you know you’re gonna land before the year is out, pull up a chair and get comfortable.

If you’re a self-pubbed writer hoping to get people talking about your book, grab the popcorn bowl off of the counter and take a seat. This is for you, too.

Before I get all preachy, I want you to first know that I’ve been on the other side of the equation I’m about to present. I think it’s probably fair to wager that if we haven’t done it, most of us at least thought about doing it at least once, even if it was the mental-d00dle equivalent of a fifth-grade crush and the resulting puffy hearts written around his name on the cover of our math notebooks. There is always a story about some relative unknown bumping into fate and becoming a household name. Just like there’s always a story about some lucky scmhmuck spending his very last dollar on a lottery ticket and hitting all the numbers.

If we don’t quit our jobs because we’re smart enough to know the likelihood of us holding the ticket with the winning numbers is probably little to none, we should also realize we can’t force a happy accident when it comes to our writing and our paths.

Translation?

There are no shortcuts when it comes to writing and success. There are, however, two very simple rules.

1)  Be Patient — Learn to meditate. Practice holding your breath under water. Put water in a pot, turn on the stove, and watch while you wait for it to boil.

Sound mundane and boring? It’s supposed to be. But it’s taking too long? It’s supposed to do that, too. Growing your audience is going to take time. Lots of time. And hard work. You will beat your head on multiple walls because the process is so damned frustrating. But beat your head and take your knocks, you must. As time passes, your audience will grow, as will your professional network of writers who are on your level and willing to shout to the ends of the earth to help you. Why? Because they know you’d do the same for them.


2) Get Lucky — No not that kind of lucky. I’m talking about the Dumb Fucking Luck kind of lucky. Something you write goes viral and your blog suddenly has more hits per hour than you’ve clocked in a month or Oprah decides to talk about you, making you an overnight sensation. You can’t plan it. No matter how hard you try. Then again, if you manage to get lucky, you also need to be smart if you want your 15 minutes of fame to stretch into a successful career. Which is why # 1 is the recommended route.


What won’t work? Contacting published writers you only know via social media and asking them if you can pay them to put your work in front of the impressive list of contacts and connections it took them years of networking and hard work to build. Or asking if they would like to blurb the book you haven’t even written yet. 

Don’t do it. Don’t even THINK about doing it.

JUST STOP IT RIGHT NOW.


That, my dear new writer, is professional suicide. You can justify it by citing all the happy accidents that have made unknown writers into literary untouchables like J.K. Rowling all you want. I’m just going to tell you that for every J.K., there’s thousands of you’s and me’s writing and getting rejected and writing and networking and writing and revising and writing and getting rejected again. But we are still writing because it’s what we are meant to do. Success or not, we need to do what we do in order to not go crazy.


To choose the writer life is to choose a difficult road. But you chose it because you believe in your voice and in your story. Remember that. And then get back to work.

 

The

Jan 122014
 

Sometimes, the blogosphere has to come second. While this space has served me well in allowing me to get the Instant Gratification fix so important to my sanity, the deadlines take precedence. I thought about blogging every day that I couldn’t. And that’s something, at least.

This past week was one of the crazier ones. Three deadlines — two for Latina and one for a new writing partnership I’ll be announcing soon. I homeschool and the girl-child has an extra-curricular activity every. single. day. of. the week. Plus the cooking of the meals and the trying to make sure we have something clean to wear … and the bed time routine and the MAMAIAMTHIRSTYINEEDTOGOPOTTYCANIHAVEMOREWATERPLEASEITHINKTHERE’SAMONSTERUNDERMYBED business usually means I’m sitting down to write around 10 p.m. or so. And then I write, email me work off to my editors, and if I’m still able to blink beyond the sleep and focus 0n the screen before me, that’s when I open a new word doc I’m working on….

I’m writing a novel, y’all. I’m pretty sure it’s the one thing I was supposed to be working on all those times I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be working on and now that I’ve figured it out, I’ll sleep when I’m done.

Which brings me to the reason I cracked open the laptop today before the sun set. While my daughter plays quietly in her room and The Husband watches some TV instead of taking down the Christmas tree, I’m here to announce the end of Girl Body Pride. And because the click-throughs no longer matter, I’ll share the reasons behind the why in this space that isn’t going anywhere.

I called it The Final Bow.

 

 

 

photo(65)

This is a hard post to write. It’s surprising how hard it is to find the words, actually, considering that after much soul-searching and late night text message marathons with the friends I’ve made through writing. But then again, I guess knowing what needs to be done  doesn’t make the doing any easier, even with the absolute certainty that I’ve made the right decision.

It’s time to bow down to the many incredible and established voices in the realm of body and self-image discussions.  It’s time to let Girl Body Pride fade into internet oblivion.  While I’ve truly the experience and am grateful to have connected with some of most talented writers I know, I think this is the right thing to do. My role as Latina Magazine’s advice columnist, alongside homeschooling my daughter, my personal blog, and the occasional need to sleep, all have limited the time I am able to responsibly bitching about which celeb mom’s six-week post-partum bikini body is giving us all a complex on this week’s glossy magazine cover. Deadlines that help pay the bills always take priority, as does time with my little girl and husband. Clearly, something had to give. The answer became clear when I realized I was no longer capable of giving 100 percent of my efforts to making this site all I had believed it could be.

If I see you at any conferences this year, you’ll probably receive a business card that lists Girl Body Pride as part of my identity. And that’s perfectly fine with me because I think it always will be. I’m grateful for the words shared on the site by so many wonderfully talented writers and bloggers, thankful for the friends made and connections established, and so very appreciative to you, our readers, for cheering us on along the way.

You’re still beautiful, just the way you are. And you always will be.

 

And that’s that.

 

If you’re new to the blog, I’d like to welcome you with a little bit of awesome. As a pre-holiday thank you to my readers (and a little reminder to ourselves to be thankful for the bodies that carry us through our days) I’ve decided to make the Girl Body Pride Strong Like Butterfly anthology free on Smashwords through Sunday.

The anthology contains the work of many Girl Body Pride writers like Shoshana Rachel, Elan Morgan, and Jessie Sanfilippo, along with novelists Therese Walsh and Mercedes Yardley. Each story shared speaks to women struggling with body image issues. And each story is so beautifully told.

I’d like to invite you to take this opportunity to get your free copy of Strong Like Butterfly and, of course, to pass the information on to your friends. And please, know that I look forward to your thoughts after reading the book. It was an honor editing this collection. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I still do.

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