Where to submit your writing in 2018

where to submit your work in 2018.png


Dear Reader,

Lots of work to do already in 2018!

I’m excited to get started but I’m already up against an obstacle. I go back to work next week! Not a lot of time to create but there are enough deadlines in the links below to keep me working beyond the start of the semester.

So as I work on my resolutions, I’m going to be eyeing these contests and things and putting them on my spreadsheet to help keep me organized.

A Guide to Short Story Contests in 2018

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio is such a great site. They routinely have links to contests and calls for submissions. Here is their latest list, a collection of short story contests.

30 writing competitions in 2018

Here’s a list from a blog called Nothingintherulebook. Yes, all one word.

In this listing,  you have a short story, flash or even want to do a writing challenge, these are the listings. There’s some overlap with the Aerogramme site here.

37 calls for submissions – Paying Markets

This listing is all genres and the best part is that these publications pay. This one is pretty sweet and even includes deadlines.

Now that you have a list of publications and deadlines, you’re probably thinking that the next step is to create. Kinda. When I went to a submission party last year, I learned that there are some things you should have on hand to make the process a bit easier.  You’d be surprised at how the smallest things can trip up your submission process so definitely plan ahead.


There you go! This should get you started. I’ll update publications throughout the year as I hear of things.


Good luck and happy submitting!



Where to submit your writing in 2018

2018 Writing Resolutions: Locked and Loaded

Dear Reader,

There’s something about new years and resolutions that makes me happy. Ridiculously happy. More so than I need to be.

While some look at the year and at the projects that didn’t get done and the opportunities missed, I look at the sum of the year and ask one question: why?

Why did something work or didn’t work? Why did it become a big thing or didn’t get off the ground? Granted this is the type of reflection that takes hard work and for creatives, it’s not something we like to do too often. We believe in the magic of our words and the experience of creating and crafting.

But this analytical thinking helps make the magic on the page happen more often and puts the path directly in front of you.

So, here’s how I plan to work on my resolutions for 2018. Here’s what worked for me and what didn’t work in 2017 and how I plan on getting there.  Note: This is different from my three words for the year. The words are for my life. For my writing life, I need something more. See below.

Resolution: Increase submissions

In the past:

In 2016, my goal was to submit to three publications every month. That wasn’t much for me. It kept me working on new pieces, editing, and filling my submission form.  Each quarter, I’d report my progress on my blog to see how I did. Some months, I submitted to more than three publications.

In 2017, I decided to lay off the structure and guide my year by three words – enjoy, cultivate, and trust.  That means I would make decisions based on these three words. Would I enjoy it? How does it cultivate me or my goals? How and do I trust the universe to provide in this experience?

While this three-word thing worked for other parts of my life (I reflected each week on how I did with it), it didn’t work for my writing life. Also, I blogged WAY less in 2017.

Lesson: My writing life needs structure.

This year, I plan on returning to 2016 by submitting to three publications every month.  I also plan on returning to the accountability thing and reporting my progress on my blog. That worked for me well. But I also know I’m a different writer. I have a novel that will be finished this year. I am working on other aspects of my skills set. I also have a full-time gig. That can’t be overlooked in this resolution.  So, knowing that I need structure, I’ll need to carve out untouchable time to create. For means that the increase visits to my neighborhood Starbucks must happen or the one close to work. I may have to leave for work earlier (I teach hybrid classes this semester so it’s doable) or I may have to come home late.

Resolution: Journal every day or nearly every day

In the past:

In 2016, I didn’t journal much. It wasn’t a thing I did. I thought that if I had time to journal I had time to write.

Then I discovered daily pages in 2017 and it was everything. Even though I wrote less this year (less as in I didn’t have much to submit) I was able to write in my journal. This was very helpful during Hurricane Harvey and the depression I fell into after it. It was also helpful to write during the good times, when I felt the most like a writer.

So when I reviewed my year, I had an amazing collection of memories and thoughts and ideas that gave me a warm fuzzy. It’s also great fodder for future pieces.

Lesson: Journaling is part of my writing life

In 2018, I will continue my daily pages. The original thought of daily pages is to write continuously for three pages. Some days that’s just not doable. Some days one page will do. So, I will write at least one page most days. I know every day isn’t doable either but most days are. Therefore, I won’t beat myself up if I don’t do my daily pages for a day or two. But that also means that when I return, I have more than enough fodder for three pages are more.

How I plan on doing this is to have a set time to write my pages. The custom is the morning but I like doing my pages at night before I go to bed. It helps calm my head down from the day and helps me look toward the next day.

Also, a nice notebook helps.

Resolution: Keep learning my craft

In the past:

In 2016, I expanded into memoir writing. I continue tooling around with it in 2017 and added poetry. I’m a fiction writer by trade and training so I’m learning these new skills as I go and create.

I can see how it’s challenging me and making me grow as a writer and I love it. I look at how to approach scenes and dialogue differently.

I did try the #52essays2017 challenge. I didn’t complete it but what I did write I liked a lot. More practice is needed.

Lesson: Invest in my continued learning.

Whether it’s reading more nonfiction or taking classes, I need to invest in learning more about this part of my craft.

I’ve already started on this by taking a class with Vanessa Martir in December. I’ll be taking more classes at WriteSpace in Houston in the first quarter of the year and doing lots more practicing.


Well, there you go! My resolutions! I hope that these help you create your own resolutions and help keep me accountable!

Write on,


2018 Writing Resolutions: Locked and Loaded

My words for 2018 are…

3 words 2018

Dear Reader,

Happy 2018!

I am so excited to share with you guys my three words for 2018!




So just some history, this is something that I started doing in 2017 after talking to a friend. His help helped me realize that I needed some focus in my life. And whoa! what focus did it bring in a year that threw lots of curve balls my way.

Continue reading “My words for 2018 are…”

My words for 2018 are…

Deciding my guiding words for 2018

Dear Reader,

I hope you had an amazing holiday season. In fact, I hope you had an amazing year.

You didn’t hear much from me this year. I’ve been creating and existing in silence and needed the break. I’m sure you needed it too.

But now we are at the dawn of a new year and you know how much I LOVE resolutions and re-starts. I’m learning to love the re-starts. I’ve had so many of them in my life.

Last year, I used three words to guide me in my life and the choices I made. The words were trust, enjoy, and cultivate.  I didn’t know how it was going to work in 2017. In fact, at the end of 2016, I was in so much pain and still reeling from things that I was willing to give anything a try.

My friend, George “Urban Jibaro” Torres, founder of SofritoForYourSoul.com, turned me on to this thing.  He talked me through his words and then the process of it which isn’t difficult other than the fact that you have to be honest with yourself.  He gave me homework and I sat with the questions he gave me. We talked on the phone for two hours. I came away with pumped with the thought of thinking of these three words.

And through the year, I kept track of my words reflecting each week in my Bullet Journal on how I incorporated those words.

Continue reading “Deciding my guiding words for 2018”

Deciding my guiding words for 2018

How redemption continues even after death

When I talk about my father and when I write stories about him, I chose my words carefully. His is a story of redemption. The success of that redemption depends on who you ask.

My dad was Osiris Fernández y Ferrer. That was his full name according to his Cuban passport. I say that with trepidation because I know that the age is wrong; he’s younger than the age shown. In order to leave Cuba in the 1960s, my grandmother lied about the birth date of her third oldest. It was like her gift to him, the opportunity to escape Fidel Castro’s Cuba as it began.

He wasn’t a nice man, my father. I know that now 15 years after his death. My dad wasn’t a nice man but he was always nice to me and I always sought his approval. I always had it. My life wasn’t as difficult.

My life wasn’t as difficult as my sister’s. My dad wasn’t a nice man to her. I wasn’t a nice sister to her either, a regret that I have asked for forgiveness for. My sister, I believe, has forgiven me. I haven’t.

And, if truth be told, I haven’t forgiven him either. See, in his world, there’s no way that he could have produced a child who was gay. In his world, he couldn’t have a brother who enjoyed the company of men. In his world, anything different wasn’t quite right. So my beautiful blood sister wasn’t quite right. She was a problem to be fixed. What we couldn’t see at the time was that she wanted a family and wasn’t getting it.

If the sins of the past come back to haunt, then they came back the first time I met my brother a couple of years ago.

Before dad met mom, he had a family. The particulars on how he lost that family included a gunfight in a bodega, the FBI questioning my brother’s mom, and my dad’s prison time. It was during that time my brother and his mother disappeared. Dad died wanting to meet his son and searching for him. It would be something I would try to carry on.

When I saw my brother, met him for the first time, I saw my dad. He had that same Fernandez confidence. My sister has that confidence too. Me? I take more from the Guatemalan side of my family than the Cuban. The swagger skipped me.

To describe the Fernandez swagger is to describe how a panther glides through the world. They own the world around them and they know it. Their steps are sure-footed. There is never a misplaced step in their walk or actions. They don’t apologize, they continue. They balance between the demands of obligation and hunger for something more than they had. The Fernandez swagger hypnotizes you to think or look one way, taking your attention away from everything else around you.

And my brother had. The undeniable Fernandez swagger. He was everything my father wanted. A man. Successful. Happy. With a family. And I was…not anything like him. At the time I was scraping by, recovering from the devastation. I didn’t have a family and biology would guarantee that I’d never have one of my own. And I was more grateful than happy. I had forgotten that happiness was an option.

We drank at the bar and took pictures while my mom talked to my brother. He filled in some gaps we had in our family narrative. When it came time to tell my brother what he was like, my sister and I started sharing our experiences.

That’s when I saw dad in a different light. Through my sister’s eyes, I saw him as a bully, not quite an abuser but right on the edge. What I thought was Cuban bravado was just him being an asshole. And then I saw the pain in my sister’s face I question whether my childhood memories were accurate or idealized.

Like when my dad would tell me stories from Cuba and say how much I was his life.

Like when my dad would teach me how to dance

Like when my dad would find the money to get me what I needed. College tuition? I’ll steal it if I have to.

Like when my dad would keep all the articles I published in the newspaper because he knew I’d be an important journalist one day.

Like when he would make sure I’d have a computer so I could do my writing.

Like when my dad made sure that the world was good and right because he wasn’t. Not even close

Like how I was the chance, his chance, to be redeemed as a father.

I’m not saying that sister didn’t have equal good memories. Dad loved my sister. But at the end, if you want to blame it on his illness then go for it, he wasn’t who he was when my sister was first born.

That swagger, the panther-like existence, blinded me for so long.

And THAT is a truth that is just as much as part of his story, his memory, as the time he would fry bacalao for me.  Dad is the ghost of regret for my sister, something she has to live with. My ghost was that I didn’t see it sooner and I didn’t step up to defend my sister when she needed me.

That’s the danger of death, isn’t it? To paint the dead with a luminant color. To speak ill of the dead, well, that’s just not right. But to remember them fondly while not accepting the good and the bad isn’t doing the dead justice at all. It paints them as two-dimensional characters, Disney- like, and strips them of their complexity.

It strips them of their humanity.

So I chose the words carefully when it comes to dad. He was a man who loved his family, yes, but he also was a man who had to have things his way. Dad was a man who loved his daughters, yes, but also elevated one and downgraded another. Dad was a man who loved Cuba and was indifferent to Fidel. He was a man who spent a lifetime searching for a son when he had a daughter who was starving for his acceptance.

He was a man with regrets. He spent a lifetime trying to atone for some things but made new regrets in the process.

Dad has grandchildren. He didn’t know them when he died. He only knew of the ones in Cuba but not the ones from my brother. If he were alive, I think he’s would have beamed with pride. I believe that eventually, he would have reconciled with my sister. It would have been a tough road but I believe they would have gotten there. He would have met his son and have reveled in his fatherhood. He would have definitely kicked me in the ass when I was down and out because I would have needed it.

Did he complete his redemption? No. Yes. Depends. If you believe in reincarnation, then my dad has reincarnated into another form, working off his regrets and learning to be a better being. If you believe in Christianity, he is looking down at us and smiling.  But if you ask us, the family he’s left behind, then the answer is that his redemption is still in progress. His redemption is us and the legacy he has left behind. The aftermath of his life is what we live with, seek to understand, and correct every day. We live with the complexity of his humanity intertwined with our own.

How perfect then that today, on the anniversary of his death, I seek to understand my dad as a person. A flawed man who loved with the same passion as he disliked. A man who made enough mistakes to fuel a series of novels and a tell-all book. A man who was, despite his transgressions, every bit as human as me.

How redemption continues even after death

The Act of Patience in the New Normal

The first ray of sunshine I saw after Harvey

Dear Reader,

The weeks after Harvey has been, let’s say, a crash course in patience.

Patience in and with FEMA.

Patience in myself and my own healing.

Patience in the new normal.

Patience. So much of it.

And then, without warning, or maybe with some warning, my sister in Cuba dies. She dies after the hurricane it but her death was a long time coming. As most Fernandez do, she suffered from high blood pressure and there was no medicine on the island.

Let me repeat that, an island with the best doctors in the world, the same that found treatment for a specific type of cancer, did not have blood pressure medicine for my sister. So she died after not being able to take her blood pressure medicine. She’s buried in Havana.

This was my Harvey aftermath. At first, I was mourning in private and then when I couldn’t anymore, I went to my Facebook page and announced her death.

They say, when you are mourning, it’s important to take time and mourn. It’s important to have a routine so you take comfort in it once you are done mourning enough.

Mourning enough? Who says what is enough? How do you mourn when a piece of your flesh and blood is in the ground?

I’ve cried enough tears to flood Houston all over again. I’ve yelled enough to make ears bleed. But I feel like it’s not enough.

So I go about my business, teaching my online classes, grading, running errands only because they have to get done. And when I drive around, I remember something I want to tell my sister. I begin to make a mental note to tell her the next time I call and then I remember. There’s no one to call.

When those times happen, I open up my bullet journal for the week she died. In the to-do list, my guilt is marked in black ink, the proof of how bad of a sister I truly was. I was supposed to email her the Monday before she died. But I scratched it out and moved it further in the week. But I didn’t end up emailing her. I was busy…with other people’s shit. Busy enough not to take 20 minutes to email her. Busy enough, just enough, to put her on my to-do list right next to “FEMA” and “finalize beginning online lessons”. Busy enough to write the words on paper but not do the action.

I had moved my sister’s return email three times that week — Monday, Tuesday, Friday — remembering her last email “Everything is fine. We’re okay. Don’t worry. Write me back.”  

That’s when I cry the most. When I remember how bad of a person I was to her.  

But patience. In this new normal. I live with regrets like boulders. They sit on my chest.  They crush me in the moments that I forget. Forgiveness right now is just a word in the dictionary, as foreign a concept as I have ever encountered.

But patience. This passes slowly, this grief, this guilt. These flashbacks of the one and only time I met my sister in Cuba. She was so happy to meet us (my blood sister and I). Hermanas. She always called us that. Not Icess. Not Leslie. But her hermanas. No names needed. Blood recognized blood.

But patience. When I hear her voice still in my ear. The Skype call surprisingly clear. Her reminding me she was an old woman. Me reminding her that we were ageless.

But patience. When I place my fingers on the keyboard and nothing comes out. I want to write about her, immortalize her in words with a poem, a story, a memory. My fingers freeze. My mind punishes me with blankness. Bad sisters don’t deserve to use their gifts.

But patience. Hiding my tears from my own mother, who is afraid I’ll go into a depressive state again. Mourning but not fully mourning. The agony of keeping it hidden is a kind of atonement.

My dad and my sister. The last time they saw each other. 

But patience. Adding my beautiful sister to our family altar. The act of buying her flowers. The act of lighting her white candle. The sucker punch to your throat and you yelling to God and all the Saints how it was too early. The candle is too early. The white roses are too early. Her picture next to dad’s is too early. Not getting a response back.

But patience. A message. Dad, please take care of my sister. Watch out for her in the hereafter. Tell her that I love her. Tell her that I’m sorry.

But patience. Opening windows to sunlight is a kind of unexpected healing, just like the first time I saw the sun after Harvey. The world continues but in a different way and yet somehow you’re grateful.

The new normal is a reminder that life starts over again and again. Usually without warning. Always in the most inconvenient of times. And even here you must have patience. You must move in the world slowly but deliberately.  You must take care of yourself if only just enough. Your moments are deliberate. Your anger will subside. Your bargaining will stop. Acceptance? Only when you’re ready. You will know when. To hell with the world, you will know when.

The lesson is to be present beyond mindfulness. It’s the small things that bring you the most comfort. A message from a friend. Time with a loved one. The invites to attend events, even if you can’t, even if you’re still dying on the inside. The first time you smile or laugh is the biggest relief. The second biggest is, of course, remembering to breathe.

All this requires patience. And it will come, as it always does, when you least expect.

Like in a simple ray of sunshine after a storm.

The Act of Patience in the New Normal

The rain, the flood, the trauma

Dear Reader,

I wasn’t going to write, not anymore. I promised myself that this week. I was prepared to end my love affair with the writing life, not out of frustration but of trauma.

My words, they failed me and the energy wasn’t there to pursue them.

Since Harvey sucker punched Houston, I wasn’t interested in putting my experiences out into the world. Outside of my morning journal pages, I was not interested in pushing myself. But I did try. As soon as we returned from evacuation, I opened up my computer and put some words down but they weren’t right. I waited more days. Tweaked the words. They still weren’t quite right.


When a writer friend led a Harvey recovery writing workshop, I thought this was my chance to write the words that would convey what I was feeling.

But I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

I still don’t. I don’t want to see my friends. I don’t want to see strangers. I don’t have the energy to answer the “how are you” question.

Not great, I want to scream.  I just want to sit still.

I’m faking my smiles. My bright eyes. I dance when people ask. I laugh at jokes, even if they are not very good.  I have a horrible poker face until it’s important to have one. That’s when I’m a beast at faking it.

Since the waters receded, I have kept myself together by diving into work. It’s a superpower, to throw myself into work like it was an emergency. That’s how I was prepared to evacuate–one duffle bag, priceless things in Ziplocks, to know what exactly to pack — antibacterial wipes, flashlights, ibuprofen, and know what to leave behind–my beloved memories only worth a breath in between sobs.

Then, today, it started to rain. Three weeks of dry since Harvey and now it’s pouring. And I cannot look at rain the same. Thunder is a warning, not a signal of a lazy summer storm. Rainwater is acid on my skin. The shiver in my bones originates from ghost droplets of Harvey rains scraping my back like the Devil’s fingernail.


Images from Harvey and Irma (and what will be Maria) have carved themselves into the gray matter of my brain and I am scared in places only I know about or can access.  Rain now is a trigger. Where I have used it to relax from long, hard days or as soothing background noise to the writing, it is now a cause for concern. Rain sounds force me to look out my front window, mentally measuring puddles against ticking minutes. How fast do they grow? Will it flood? Can the drainage system handle it?

The bright yellow duffle that held my clothes and provisions during evacuation have yet to be unpacked. I’ve dug in there for some things but the big things like t-shirts and pants are still there, just in case.. Because hurricane season is not over.  Because I saw the image of five twisted hurricanes on the monitor today. Because people have lost everything and me very little and the next time it will be my turn. Because everything was taken away from me once before so I should be able to handle it a second time. Or a third. Or a fourth. Because I fake strength. Because I am good at lying when it counts. Because, because, because…

I don’t know what compelled me to write today. I’m not even sure how to end this thing, whatever it is. It feels like I’m rambling like my thoughts are shooting out of me because they don’t have anywhere else to go.

Or maybe this is the only way I know how to process and old habits die hard.

Or maybe I wanted to answer the how are you doing question without seeing people’s reactions. I can’t bare it. Not now. Maybe next week.

Or maybe it’s the rain triggering me in the way it used to, a signal that it is time to sit down, create, and share.

Until next time,



The rain, the flood, the trauma

My three guiding words for 2017

Dear Reader,

I just posted my second essay for the essay a week challenge (#52essays2017). Wow, so glad I was able to get this one out before it started to get busy this week.

School is back next week and the instructors came back this week. Lots to do, including syllabus and the first couple of days of lessons. So I knew I needed to get this essay out today.

Here’s a snippet:

My dreams use to fit on a small slip of paper, scribbled in black ink while sobbing in frustration, anger, and fear.

“What do you want, Icess? What the hell is it that you want?” I asked myself this through gritted teeth.

Not this, these feelings of inadequacy and of blaming myself. I didn’t want my job and I couldn’t figure out why. But the list I wrote. The scribbles. That was real. Super real. It was also the last time I dreamed really big. I dreamed so big that I was afraid of it and hid it under my desk calendar so no one would see it but me.

That time in my life was brutal. I don’t want to rehash that here but basically, this. It was brutal because I had forgotten how to do two simple things.

To read the rest of it, click here.

My three guiding words for 2017

Wrapping up 2016 and looking at 2017

Note: This is part 1 of 2 of my new year resolutions post. 

Dear Reader,

Whoa! I didn’t think that year was going to end. Seriously, 2016 was…well…it’s gone now. Hello, 2017!

So, it’s been awhile since I did an update on how I was doing with my resolutions (from 2016). Seriously didn’t write anything for the last four months or so.  To remind you here’s what I said I wanted to accomplish in 2016.

And wow! While I didn’t accomplish all my goals, I accomplished enough that I am going to say I was successful with my resolutions. So definitely a successful year in writing.

Here’s what was successful:

2016 Resolution: More submissions.

What worked: I totally submitted more this year than I ever have. Total submissions are about 18 submissions. I say about because not every publication uses Submittable, which I use to track acceptances. Those weren’t on Submittable were email submission shops so this is a close guestimation. I have published four. A couple of editors want me to work on the piece submitted and to resubmit. Considering that the year before it was 2 may be three submissions, I’m doing okay.

Out of those 18 or so submissions, I have published four. A couple of editors want me to work on the piece submitted and resubmit. Considering that the year before it was 2 maybe be three submissions, I’m doing okay.

One major thing that helped was to give myself a goal of three submissions per month which is completely do-able.  I was able to do it most months (except for the months it got really heavy at work. One hundred papers to grade all at once? That’s a lot.).

Another thing that helped, a Submission Blitz. I totally wrote about it here. And I tried to go to as many readings and writing workshops that I could go to so that I could learn new things and so that I could fuel my gumption. Which I did and it was awesome.

2016 Resolution: Work more in non-fiction

What worked: Well everything, I suppose. I started writing an essay about my depression and it was one of the ones published this year. From here I started writing my memoir, which at this point is a hybrid of creative non-fiction and poetry. In fact, I worked more in those two genres than I did in fiction.

This resulted in a ton of new work and in doing one of this year’s resolutions, the 52 essays a week challenge created by my friend Vanessa Martir. She’s badass and she spent her 2016 writing an essay a week. I’m joining in this year along with more than 400 other writers. I’ll write more about this in my next post but here’s what I wrote for this week.

2016 Resolution: Taking care of myself

What worked: This was a hit or miss. I took care of myself when self-care was needed but that’s where it ended. It’s my fault because for this one I didn’t have very specific goals.

What I did learn was to listen to my body more and to obey it. When I needed time, I found it. When I needed quiet, I plugged in my earphones. I also learned to put myself first before the work, something I have huge issues with in the past. I’m a workhorse so forcing myself to stop working is a big deal. So I took more breaks and became comfortable knowing that the work would get done.

What I didn’t accomplish:

  • Write more short stories
  • Continue my Afro-Latina journey
  • Jennie Manning
  • Blogging

Jennie Manning isn’t completed but I continued working on the novel through the year. Blogging wasn’t as often as I would like (boo!) because it was sacrificed to write more so I don’t really feel that bad about it. I didn’t write one short story but I did attend a short story workshop.

So what about 2017? What do I have in store for this year? That you will have to wait until Monday. That’s when I’ll post my next #52essays2017 installment. And this one is a doozy!


Wrapping up 2016 and looking at 2017

Learning to write blackout poetry

Dear Reader,

I have been in that space between heaven and a traffic jam lately. With the new gig, trying to find time to write since the  Submission Saturday last month has been a bit difficult. Finding my rhythm is has been harder than I thought and I’m still working on it. Between grading, prepping classes, and trying to finish Jennie AND that project I told you about a couple of months ago, it’s all been overwhelming.

However, thank GOODNESS for Tintero Projects writing workshops this month! Each Sunday this month the organization, founded by my good friends Jasminne and Lupe Mendez, is hosting a writing workshop in different disciplines under the theme “Thrill You”. So by disciplines, I mean short fiction, poetry, playwriting, long form fiction, etc.

On Sunday, I  attended the poetry workshop. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately and even submitted some to publications. So I was interested in this workshop. (Last week’s was short fiction. Shout out to Hugo for leading that workshop.)

We worked on Blackout Poetry, a type of found poem that allows writers to create a new piece from an existing writing by blackout words and phrases they won’t use. Lupe, who lead the workshop, is in a middle of an amazing project and he’s using blackout poetry to tell such an interesting story through poetry. (I’m sure he’d rather tell you himself than me spilling the beans so I’ll invite him to the blog.)

Here’s a video on how to do it.

I’ve worked on Blackout Poetry before as part of a Writers In the School training session. At first, I found the form just weird. I wasn’t sure that the poetry I was doing in this technique was, for lack of a better word, right. But trying it again during the workshop, it felt more focused. I was pretty proud of the work I did that I’m thinking about working on it and submitting it.

Here’s some basic rules for creating a black out poem, according to Lupe:

  • Find whatever words make sense for you
  • Your marker is your friend ( You can take off the ending of words like -ing and -ed to help you out.)
  • You can black out as little or as much as you think is necessary
  • You can change the punctuation — add or subtract it.

Here’s one that I worked on when I got home.

Some black out poetry I’m playing with after yesterday’s Tintero Project poetry workshop.

A photo posted by Icess Fernandez Rojas (@writin2insanity) on Oct 10, 2016 at 9:05am PDT


I’ll be leading the Oct. 23 workshop focusing on thrilling super heroes and villains. If you’re in the Houston area, coming join in!


Enjoy the writing,


Learning to write blackout poetry