Tag Archives: Mei Li

Solve Your Sophomore Slump

Have you ever thought you’d figured out the formula to success only to get crazy stuck right after? Mary Volmer hit that sweet spot all of us writers hope to arrive at when she published her first novel, Crown of Dust. But when it came to the second one, she hit a roadblock. Sound familiar? […]

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This Author’s Surefire Strategies for Finishing a Novel

Mary Volmer didn’t intend to become a writer, not at first. She was just a grad student studying abroad in Wales when the lures of a story hooked her. Lucky for us, it didn’t let her go. And within a few years, while she was completing her MFA in Creative Writing, that passion project turned into […]

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How to Ditch Your Goals and Still Get Ahead

Lately, we at Conzpire have been talking about FUN. We’ve been goal-oriented in the past, we’ve worked hard and we’ve passed up opportunities so that we can live purpose-driven lives. But sometimes we get so caught up in the greater meaning of things that we get stressed out, stop sleeping, forget to eat (those guys, […]

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How do you break the cycle of bingeing and dieting?

This is a lifelong question for me. For two years, I joined Overeaters Anonymous thinking it would help me stop my emotional eating craziness. Here’s what I learned. For the uninitiated, OA is a twelve step group that uses the same abstinence-based approach popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous. The way a lot of OAers practice it, […]

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Want to Make a Living as an Award-Winning Writer? Minal Shows Us How.

Write a kickass book proposal, hook an agent and land a publisher – every writer’s fantasy, right? That’s exactly what happened to Minal Hajratwala back in 2001. Except instead of living her dream, she felt mired in a nightmare. The book she finally wrote, Leaving India, ended up winning a bunch of awards. And Minal now does live […]

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How to Write, Pronto!

You’ve written your first chapter! Hooray! At least, that’s what you thought your friends would say. Along with popping a bottle of champagne for you. Instead, they keep asking when you’ll be done already. Your throat tightens. After all, you spent five months in an isolated haze to give birth to that pearl of a […]

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This writer refused to go into debt for her art – & got Stanford to pay for it instead

For ten years after college, Ammi Keller wrote steadily for ‘zines but felt like she was failing at novel writing. At thirty, concerned about the practical matter of, oh, earning a living, she decided it was time to get pragmatic and go to school for physical therapy. On a whim, she also applied for the […]

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Curse Your Character

Has anyone else ever gotten something they’ve longed for forever and then thought, That was IT? Now what? I shot up to my present height of 5’6” by the time I was 12. Back in Malaysia, the kids at school called me “Satay Stick” or Popeye’s ungainly girlfriend “Olive Oyl.” My aunties lamented my unattractive […]

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Want to be a better writer? Read like one.

Want to Be a Better Writer? Read Like One.

Beyond the fun of it, reading writers you admire is a great way to unlock your own literary potential. You don’t have to be an English Lit major. You don’t have to write a tiresome book report. These three simple steps will get you reading and improving as a writer. Step One: Study the masters […]

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Body Torture Game

The Body Torture Game

Growing up in Malaysia, my aunts lamented my ugly, scrawny body. Doctors pronounced me underweight. In response, my mother heaped for me second helpings of rice, fried pomfret, bean sprouts and roast pork rubbery with fat. Meal times were an ordeal of bursting at the gut, squirming through pain. But failing, always failing, to attain […]

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