All posts by Emily Littlewood

Here’s One Quick Secret Writers Can Use to Conquer Self-Doubt Forever by Lauren Sapala

Picture of mirror by bookcase
 

Do you constantly compare yourself to other writers? Do you set goals for yourself as a writer and then somehow fall short of them every time? Do you start new writing practices full of enthusiasm, but then sooner or later you dread sticking with it? If you’re like so many other writers out there, the answer to these questions is sadly, “yes.” And every time something like this happens to you, you end up in a pit of despair, right? You question yourself, your writing talent, and your ability to make your dreams happen. It’s … Continue reading Here’s One Quick Secret Writers Can Use to Conquer Self-Doubt Forever by Lauren Sapala

Dawg Towne: A Review of Alice Kaltman’s Novel by Nancy Ludmerer

Cover of the book Dawg Towne
 

There are silhouettes of dogs cavorting on the cover, barking and begging, and a misspelled title. Was it so foolish to assume that the first-person narrator at the start of Alice Kaltman’s beguiling new novel Dawg Towne (word west press, 2021) is a canine? Given that some of my favorite stories have dog narrators—from Chekhov’s Kashtanka to Kafka’s Investigations of a Dog—and that I myself have written dog-narrated fiction (Head of A Dog in The Hong Kong Review), was that so wrong-headed? Dawg Towne begins: “You wouldn’t know me now, if you knew me then,” … Continue reading Dawg Towne: A Review of Alice Kaltman’s Novel by Nancy Ludmerer

5 Best Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Writers by Lauren Sapala

Photo of pen writing in notebook
 

I get emails and messages from aspiring writers all the time asking me for the one thing they should know, or the one thing they should do, in order to be a successful writer. Well, there’s never just “one thing,” but I’ve taken all my very best writing advice and distilled it down into five things that will help any aspiring writer along on their way to success. Stop Trying to Control Everything This is a big one. Writers are anxious people and we like control. It makes us feel safe and like we can … Continue reading 5 Best Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Writers by Lauren Sapala

Becoming Vegetarian by Nick Barta

Photo of highland cow
 

“A vegetarian walked into a bar. . . . I only know because he told everyone within two minutes.” That joke perfectly encapsulates why I never tell anyone that I am a vegetarian. I either hypocritically write a blog about it, or I am introduced by my mother as such, “Nick is a vegetarian . . .” and then leaning forward a bit she clarifies, “that means he doesn’t eat meat.” Reactions can range from wild ecstasy to tepid disdain. One friend solemnly nodded her head and then proceeded to rub my back as though … Continue reading Becoming Vegetarian by Nick Barta

Shopping in Pandemic Times by Nick Barta

Photo of blurry red lights
 

It was late December, and I was heading to downtown Vienna during a pandemic. As I reflected on the task ahead of me, buying Christmas presents for my mother and grandmother, the mayhem inherent in completing that task manifested itself in the form of a gentleman who, having worn a mask into the subway car, proceeded to pull it down once he was seated. Not wanting to undertake this monumental task alone, I had decided to meet up with a friend. Upon encounter, the ritual “kiss-kiss” greeting was relegated to an awkward bump of elbows … Continue reading Shopping in Pandemic Times by Nick Barta

Day Five Million by Emily Littlewood

Silhouette of man's head in front of tv
 

I’m bored. Really, really bored. Since the cases of COVID went back on the rise about a month ago I’ve been put back on shelter-in-place orders. Since my transplant I’ve been immunosuppressed, so I have to be extra careful right now. And until there’s a vaccine. While I’m lucky enough to live in the perfect spot for walking, it’s only a small reprieve. I still have to come back home. I’ve sewn masks, colored, organized, puzzled, read, watched a ton of crap TV. I may have finished Netflix, and I’m about one more isolated week … Continue reading Day Five Million by Emily Littlewood

The Writer’s Life Is Not an Easy One by Lauren Sapala

Writer spelled out on 6 balls
 

When I first started writing, I couldn’t even call myself a writer. I had been NOT writing for seven years before I joined a silent writing program that I went to once a week to sit down and scrawl out a mess of pages that seemed to be all over the place, and which I had no hope of ever turning into anything good. The other people there, in my eyes, were real writers. They had plans. They were finishing their memoirs, looking for agents, querying, seeking critique and feedback, swapping manuscripts. Me . . … Continue reading The Writer’s Life Is Not an Easy One by Lauren Sapala

What “Pantsing” Really Means, and Why Most Writers Have it All Wrong by Lauren Sapala

large sculpture of chair and table
 

If you’re a writer with even minimal involvement in the online writing community, chances are that you’re familiar with the terms, “plotter,” and “pantser.” And if you’re a plotter who manages to successfully finish books—and by “successfully” I mean get out a sloppy first draft with a rough approximation of a beginning, a middle, and an end—then you probably don’t have much angst about being a plotter. You get an idea for a story, you work on an outline and sort out your story arc, you might even plot scene breakdowns, and then you write … Continue reading What “Pantsing” Really Means, and Why Most Writers Have it All Wrong by Lauren Sapala

How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Edited writing
 

Although I have always considered myself a writer, I have also spent many years not writing. In fact, for most of high school, college, and my 20s, I didn’t write at all. Not one story, not one poem. During that period, I was mostly entangled in living the life of a depressed alcoholic, while trying to keep my shit somewhat together in the meantime. So, you could say I didn’t have time to write, but the truth was that I was really in no place to write. I didn’t start writing seriously—and by seriously I … Continue reading How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Being Weird Is a Good Thing. It’s Time to Embrace Yourself as a Writer by Lauren Sapala

line of all white eggs, one black
 

All my life I’ve been attracted to weird things. And all my life I’ve been very much aware that other people think I’m weird for being attracted to those weird things. Sometimes it’s that I can’t help but be drawn in by all the different facets of human darkness. Sometimes it’s that I get interested in a subject that seems complicated and obscure, and extremely boring, to others. But whatever my latest passion is at the moment I can be sure that it’s not something that a whole lot of other people understand. For a … Continue reading Being Weird Is a Good Thing. It’s Time to Embrace Yourself as a Writer by Lauren Sapala