This index archives The Reading from 2020–2022. To see the most recent posts, check out  The Reading tag.

All posts marked with 🔒 (locks) can be read with a free member account.

The Reading (2020–2022)

A monthly Sunday advice column for writers.

  1. ‘I Can’t Build a Daily Habit!’
  2. ‘How Do I Write About My Identity Authentically?’
  3. ‘I Can’t Write Through Chaos!’
  4. ‘Money Seems More Real Than My Art.’
  5. ‘I Wrote My First Draft. Where’s the Second?’
  6. ‘Can My Novel Include a Country’s Stereotype Responsibly?’
  7. ‘How Do I Get Through My MFA Program?’
  8. ‘Do I Have to be Out as a Writer?’
  9. ‘I Can’t Bring Myself to Write Anymore.’
  10. ‘I Hate Hating When My Friend Gets Ahead of Me!’
  11. ‘How Do I Feel Less Lonely?’
  12. ‘When Will I Know That I’m Good Enough?’
  13. ‘I’m Successful, But I Feel Like a Fraud.’
  14. ‘Am I Too Old to Emerge?’ (with audio)
  15. ‘I’m Tired of Working So Hard for So Little.’ (with audio)
  16. ‘Why Can’t I Do My Edits?’ (with audio)
  17. ‘How Can I Work, Write, and Be Part of a Family?’ (with audio)
  18. ‘Am I Allowed Writing Resources If I Don’t Belong?’ (with audio)
  19. ‘I Think I’m a Writer, But What Kind Am I?’ (with audio)
  20. ‘Where Do I Find Inspiration?’ (with postscript)
  21. ‘How Do I Overcome My Inner Critic?’ (with postscript)
  22. ‘Is My Friend Taking Advantage of My Edits?’ (with postscript)
  23. ‘Is There a Way to Read With Love?’ (with audio)
  24. ‘How Do I Rediscover the Joy of Writing?’
  25. ‘My Two Books Failed, But I Don’t Know How to Move On.’
  26. ‘Can I Quit My Day Job?’
  27. ‘Is Choosing to Stick to “Westernized” Tropes Also a Form of Freedom?’
  28. ‘What Is a Writing Community, Anyway?’
  29. ‘My Brain Fog Won’t Let Me Write!’
  30. ‘How Do I Write Without Being Pigeonholed?’
  31. ‘I’m Afraid I’m Not Going to Get Anywhere.’
  32. ‘Will This Rejection Discourage Me Forever?’
  33. ‘What’s an “Emerging” Writer and How Do I Become One?’
  34. ‘How Do You Write About Joy?’
  35. ‘Someone Else Published My Idea. Now What?’
  36. ‘What If I’m Just Missing…Talent?’
  37. ‘How Do I Write If I Never Finish Anything?’ 🔒
  38. ‘Does My Poetry Have to Be Difficult to Be Real?’
  39. ‘I Haven’t Had a New Idea in a Year. How Do I Think Again?’
  40. ‘Why Do I Want to Amount to Something So Much?’ 🔒
  41. ‘How Do I Dream Bigger for My Writing?’
  42. ‘Am I Just Too Lazy to Be a Writer?’🔒
  43. ‘Why Do You Write?’
  44. ‘How Do I Let a Draft be a Draft?’ 🔒
  45. ‘Is an MFA Worth It?’
  46. ‘What Does Better Writing Feedback Look Like?’ 🔒
  47. ‘What Are Friendships to a Writer’s Life?’
  48. ‘Lately, All My Stories Fall Short.’ 🔒
  49. ‘How Do I Find Joy in Big Writing Projects?’
  50. ‘Can I Still Write My Memoir If It Exhausts Me?’ 🔒
  51. ‘I’m So, So Tired of Having to Justify My Writing.’

Postscripts 🔒

Prompt or related note on each Sunday letter (for paid subscribers).

  1. On Virginia Woolf and Frank O'Hara
  2. On writing with ease
  3. On Borges and the public and private life
  4. Approaching the blank page, a writing practice
  5. Facing it—a grief exercise
  6. How I left my job to write full-time
  7. On Layli Long Soldier and writing imperfect language
  8. On asking for letters of reference
  9. A secret about craft
  10. On writing what’s “expected”
  11. A monthly wellness prompt for the quality of your life
  12. A little more on the jurying process
  13. On finding one's own measures (Part 1)
  14. A prompt for paying attention
  15. In search of ‘a completely original moment’
  16. On cultural capitalism and talent
  17. On difficulty in poetry
  18. The optional notebook
  19. Limitations of the phantom "we"
  20. Tidying up the limiting beliefs
  21. A few different paths with the MFA
  22. Writing friendships and saying yes
  23. Writing strategies for perfectionism
  24. On knowledge as a trapping net

The Writing (2020–2021) 🔒

Weekly craft and publishing column every Wednesday (for paid subscribers).

  1. How are you writing (or not) this year? How are you?
  2. What do you wish you had learned in your first writing class?
  3. Should I get an MFA if…I want structure around my writing?
  4. Should I get an MFA if…I live in New York City?
  5. What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received in a writing workshop? How do you give and receive it?
  6. How do you negotiate the workshop gaze?
  7. Should I get an MFA…if I want a writing community?
  8. What’s the most important thing you took away from doing (or not doing) an MFA?
  9. What tools or apps have radically changed (or enhanced!) your writing practice?
  10. How do you write when you have “nothing to say?”
  11. Do you have a writing playlist? If so, what do you listen to?
  12. What are your completion rituals?
  13. What do you do in the face of uncertainty?
  14. What’s your favorite revision technique?
  15. What piece are you most proud of? And ask me anything!
  16. What’s inspiring you lately? (+ help me decide on something new)
  17. Have you ever switched genres? Do you write in more than one?
  18. What book do you gift the most? (+ some craft book recommendations)
  19. What’s your favorite letter from The Reading in 2020?
  20. How are you? What are your creative intentions for the new year?
  21. What do you wish you knew about getting an agent? (+ five questions)
  22. What's a book you love that you wish had wider recognition? Why?
  23. How do you make your living while writing now? And ideally?
  24. How do you approach the second (or third, or fourth) draft?
  25. How do you know when a book is finished?
  26. What is your happiest writing memory?
  27. How do you assess the quality of your work?
  28. What do you think about these changes to The Reading?
  29. What writing unproductively means
  30. Do you feel pressure to make a certain kind of art? What has this changed for your art practice? What has stayed the same?
  31. How have you, and do you, cope with creative rejection?
  32. Do you like writing with prompts and/or commissions? What are the pros and cons?
  33. Ask me anything about email newsletters.
  34. How do you write on top of everything else?
  35. What techniques have you found to write long works effectively?
  36. What are you working on this summer?
  37. How do you know when to rest?
  38. What's your relationship to reading (as a writer)?
  39. What does it mean to grow an audience?
  40. How do you write vulnerably? (Part 1)
  41. How do you write vulnerably? (Part 2)
  42. Changes to The Writing (and how to write vulnerably, part 3)
  43. On writing spaces
  44. On finding one's own measures (part 2) (See part one under Postscripts)
  45. Vacation mode
  46. On writing where you are
  47. Between seasons
  48. How did your summer writing go?
  49. A reflection on leaving social media
  50. Is this the beginning of a new book?
  51. Making the work visible
  52. On designing a writing life
  53. If The Reading were a book…
  54. The price of admission
  55. Some examples of unproductive writing spaces
  56. Antiracism and the classroom
  57. When are you going to get a real job?
  58. Going back to where it started

Interviews 🔒

  1. Five Questions with Melissa Fu
  2. Five Questions with Chelsea Biondolillo
  3. Five Questions with Samantha Cheh
  4. Five Questions with Devin Kate Pope
  5. Five Questions with Yasmin Adele Majeed
  6. Five Questions with Suchandrika Chakrabarti


  1. Touch: A Posture


  1. 2020 in Letters: The Reading in Review
  2. 2021 in Letters: The Reading in Review
  3. Newsletters by Writers of Color
  4. Newsletters by Queer and Trans Writers


  1. Happy Pride(!) in the Time of Coronavirus (the one that started it all!)
  2. Beginning The Writing (introduction to the Wednesday discussions on community, craft, and industry advice)
  3. ‘Is the Bird I Am Holding Living or Dead?’ (when I realized I couldn’t do a letter during moving week)
  4. ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ (going paid announcement)
  5. A Note on Social Media (social media hiatus)
  6. The Freedom of Hate (on why I left Substack)