Here’s a link dump if you’re interested in NaNoWriMo

I’m sitting on this virtual pile of NaNoWriMo-related links and it would be a shame not to share them. Categorized for your convenience. Continue reading “Here’s a link dump if you’re interested in NaNoWriMo”



This week like every week we had a guest lecturer, an “esteemed alumnus,” present in our technology and e-commerce class. I’m not sure how exciting it is for some of us to have a businessperson enter the room and talk company strategy. But this top-level manager from AT&T did have something very interesting and important to say that I thought I’d broadcast. Continue reading “Storytellers”


I’ve decided to make “In Pursuit of Productivity” a biweekly series because it gives me more time to effectively observe and analyze each strategy in order to capture the essence of each…uh…

Okay, so I didn’t write last week.

But–but–I was busy with roommates moving in and out and then cleaning out the apartment and then there’s this giant project for a summer class and it’s too hot in LA to do anything and I hosted a summer Writer’s Den event and there were these really good books I couldn’t put down and…and…and I really meant to get writing done! It’s the thought that counts, right?

I can make all the excuses I want, but the reality is I didn’t write because it wasn’t a priority.

Maybe I could have gotten up a little earlier, or taken a break from working on the school project, or dragged myself to an air-conditioned library to work on a story. But I didn’t.

Sometimes life happens and we just can’t prioritize writing, but for the most part we have room in our schedules for just a little bit each day—before going to bed, maybe, or during that awkward hour between classes. The problem is we don’t fit it in and the stories never get written.

Here’s a challenge: Pick a day this weekend and make writing a priority. I’m choosing Sunday. Care to join?

In Pursuit of Productivity: Intro

There’s a lot of advice floating around on the Internet about being a productive writer: Have a routine. Don’t have a routine. Write early in the morning. Write late at night. Have a daily goal. Have a weekly goal. Research first. Focus on the story first. Tell people about your story. Don’t tell people about your story. Write standing up. Write upside down. Write in a super complicated multi-person yoga pose while chanting in Latin to summon the muses. (Just kidding. You really should be using Greek for best results.)

So…what methods should a writer use? It’s difficult figuring out what works and what doesn’t. The only way of knowing is to try everything out—so, in the name of science, I’m embarking on a series of experiments to determine the best productivity tips out there.

Leave your tips in the comments below. I’ll be back next Friday with a report on my first test.
On a scale of 1 to Stephen King, how much did you write today? In Pursuit of Productivity is a biweekly series in which an apologetically unproductive writer goes on a quest to test-drive all of the productivity tips on the Internet. Join her on this journey—or you could use the time to write instead. Your choice.

The Vow

Dedicated to Allen Yekikian & Sosé Thomassian.

This past weekend, the Armenian community lost two young heroes named Allen Yekikian and Sose Thomassian in an unfortunate and tragic fatal car accident. The couple had repatriated back to Armenia, got married there, and began to start a new life — holding high positions in Armenia as well. The newlyweds were loved, cherished, and admired by the entire Armenian community and were definitely two individuals whose legacy will live on forever.

By: Tiffany Esmailian

An incomplete thought; an unfinished life
A spark of hope; a beautiful husband and wife
An intricate mind; a journey left to complete
A fight for what’s right; a refusal of defeat

Continue reading “The Vow”

“What Can You Pen?” Creative Writing Contest Results

We would like to thank everyone who submitted to our annual contest, and especially to our honorary judges — Karen Kevorkian, Mark Richard, Leslie Schwartz, and Reed Wilson — for their expertise and time dedicated to the support of UCLA student writers. Their comments on the winning submissions are reprinted below. Continue reading ““What Can You Pen?” Creative Writing Contest Results”

A Letter for 2013: What Can I Say?

Given this opportunity, I wanted to write something beautiful, something memorable like Andrew’s post, something that would show how moved I am by how much we have grown – from 7 or 8 or so of us in my first meeting three years ago, awkwardly sitting in a rectangle as Andrew and Paula tried to get us to take their pizza, to this year’s first meeting, with a listserv of more than 300 students and a good 40 or so of us squeezed in a classroom with bolted chairs, sitting just as awkwardly as we faced the chalkboard and not each other.

I wanted to write something that could convey how valuable it has been to be in a room full of diverse writers with distinct and powerful voices, where poetry and personal narratives and humorous quips find their way into the dialogue of our meetings; I wanted to write about how much I personally look forward to Tuesday nights so that I may pause from the rush of classes and work, and instead listen to the creative writing fabric woven by talented students here at UCLA – threads that probably would not have come together without the space the Writer’s Den envisions.

I wanted to write something to show how proud I am of our board and our members, especially in the volunteering front. In our discussions and lesson planning, you can see how dedicated each one of them is to the middle school students and to the students at our new site at Wooden High. If I could, I would paint you the early morning rides to school, the number of times a volunteer would exchange sleep just to get to their weekly sessions, and the volunteers’ at times difficult yet irreplaceable experiences in the classroom. I would draw for you how vibrant and moving our students’ stories and personal accounts are, the walls they need to break through to graduate, and the creativity and self-belief we hope to inspire.

With 2013 starting, and more writing retreats, creative writing contests, and (crossing my fingers) a panel in the works, I wanted to write something that could show how afraid I am of all that still has to be done, but also of how excited I am of all that will be done. Someone asked me this last year why I spent so much time on the Writer’s Den. And I could only answer that I didn’t know, that it was a mix of everything, that when there’s something good, you know it, and Writer’s Den was something good, that I believed in creativity and how far it can take people, that writing made me remember to be human – and perhaps, I said, like me, someone will stumble upon our club and find something that they find worthwhile.

I wanted to write something that said all of this – but sometimes it’s just too hard to find the words.

All my best,