Tag Archives: literary

Should Writers Get Paid? A Conversation.

In a recent post, I asked whether or not paying to submit to writing contests is worth it for a writer. Money and writing often spark conversations about worth. The kind of value we as readers give the written word and the individuals who work tirelessly to create it.

Now that I have graduated and moved back home to Southern California (oh, Portland, how I miss you), I am pushing myself to write again and write often. Although I try to squelch all hopes of publication—getting the words down at all is step one—I do find writing in smaller chunks to be less daunting. Because of that, I often approach a piece of prose as a short story, even if I plan on turning it into something larger one day. Most publications are willing to publish writer’s short stories, personal essays, and flash fiction, but perhaps not their 100,000-word novel.

But the only conversation worth having is not whether a writer should pay someone else to read their work, but whether an author should get paid because they wrote the thing.

In truth, this conversation is a matter of opinion. For as long as there are writers willing to submit their work and go unpaid, there will be writers who refuse.

I don’t believe the answer is so black and white. If you’re still trying to figure out where you stand, ask yourself “Why am I submitting in the first place?”

Is it for the prestige? Is it for the recognition? Is it to be validated? Is it because you’re a professor and your boss told you to? Is it because you’re a student and your professor told you to? Is it because you see writing as a career and this magazine or journal as a stepping stone?


Literary Paraphernalia: Bookish Candles from Hearth & Hammer

I have no more classes to attend—forever. On Monday, I’ll turn in my last final project and kiss academia goodbye.

It’s a funny feeling. Before this, I could map out my future. Community college, university, graduate school. And what’s left now hasn’t been drawn yet.

It’s a little thrilling and a little freeing and a little stressful. Since I graduated a term early, I now get to watch my friends deal with preparing portfolios and final papers. And because of that, this week’s literary paraphernalia (and probably the next few) are inspired by items to help relax a book lover.

These literary candles are all from the Chicago-based Etsy shop, Hearth & Hammer. All candles are made with natural soy wax.

Burning Books

Inspired by Fahrenheit 451. Scents of cinnamon, orange, and fir. According to the owners, it “smells like you’re sitting by a fire reading your favorite banned book.”

Signal Fire

Inspired by The Lord of the Flies. Scents of leather, tobacco, amber, and musk. According to the owners, it’s “to make you feel like you’re right on the island with Simon, Piggy and the boys.”

Open Road

Inspired by On the Road. Scents of meadow grass and sandalwood. According to the owners, it smells like wandering “through sawdust-covered towns and feel the meadow grass on your bare feet with Kerouac and Moriarty.”

Literary Paraphernalia: Book Ends for Your Home

I know it’s hard to believe in the need for book ends. In truth, they seem like one giant oxymoron.

When I moved to another state, I stuffed as many of my books as I could into my suitcase—carefully selecting the ones I knew I’d want to reread, the ones I hadn’t yet gotten to, and others that simply held sentimental value—and grudgingly packed the rest away to be put in storage.

Without my complete personal library, I find a lot of empty space left on my shelf. Slowly but surely, I’ve been filling it in, but there’s an art to the placement of books on a shelf. Books aren’t only gateways to other worlds, they are also beautiful products all on their own. I stack some books in piles, lean others against each other, all with their spines facing out—their covers each as lovely as a painting on the wall.

Bookends can accent your books, and below are just a few found on Etsy, all of which you can find on our Pinterest board!

Brontosaurus Metal Book Ends

Book Ends of the Earth

1970’s Brass Metal Owl Book Ends

Barn Wood & Edison Lamp Book Ends


Literary Paraphernalia: Bookish Rings

Rings are my favorite kind of jewelry. Unlike bracelets, they don’t snag on things or make writing and typing awkward. And unlike necklaces, rings seem more versatile. Most of my rings can be worn with any of the clothes in my closet.

Unique rings are not always easy to come by. Sure, you could grab something trendy and cheap at Target or Forever 21. But so will hundreds—if not thousands—of others. And sometimes it’s nice to stand out.

Etsy is a great place to find unique, literary jewelry—whether it’s for yourself or a loved one with a fancy for books (the holidays, after all, aren’t too far off). Below’s my own wishlist. If you want to see more literary finds, be sure to follow us on Pinterest!

Vintage Little Prince Ring

Sterling Silver Book Ring

Comic Book Ring


Literary Paraphernalia: Writerly Art Prints

After several months of simply thinking about getting around to buying furniture at some possible date in the near future, I have decided to actually buy furniture. My walls feel empty, and I’m no longer in that awkward in-between-paychecks-and-jobs stage. In the spirit of filling up my empty walls, I took a look around on Etsy. I found a shop called Obvious State that sells literary prints and other bookish goods, like custom-picked notebook sets.

But really, I lingered at Obvious State’s shop because of their section of literary prints, each well-designed and with similar aesthetics. I imagine one or two posters above my writing desk, a reminder of why to keep going. Below are just a few posters from the Etsy shop’s inventory, but I found these ones particularly relevant to writers.

“All Truths Wait In All Things” Walt Whitman Poster

“Do A Fabulous Story” F. Scott Fitzgerald Poster

“Write Drunk; Edit Sober” Ernest Hemingway Poster


Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Bookish Scarves for Winter

Winter is around the corner, and, in the Northwest at least, the temperature is starting to drop, rain clouds are filling the sky, and people like me are restocking their closets with some warm clothes to get them through the season. Here are ten literary scarves you can purchase on Etsy to help you bundle up! Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest board for more literary finds.

Marvel Comic Book Scarf

Jane Eyre “I Am No Bird” Scarf

Where The Wild Things Are Infinity Scarf


Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Must-Have Bookmarks

I’ve noticed over the years that there are two types of book lovers, the kind whose books become like an old shoe—worn and lived in—and the kind who treat their books like precious artifacts—careful not to crease a single page.

Of the two, I’ve always found myself to associate more with the latter. I’m a fan of hardcover books. I never dog-ear pages and, until recently, I almost never highlighted or wrote in the margins—only making an exception for textbooks. As a writer, I’m slowly coming around to the idea of highlighting and marking a text. After all, the greats say you have to read everything to be a writer. They say you have to soak it all in, and as any student whose every researched good study habits will know, marking up a text helps you retain that information more easily. Plus, it’s also an easy way to find your favorite passages later on.

Yet, I still don’t think I can sum up the will to dog-ear pages. My father instilled in me, at a very young age, the need to keep my things “nice.” To take care of them. Books are a privilege, and as one, creasing pages somehow seems like a violation to me. So instead, I use bookmarks. Sometimes these bookmarks are old receipts I dig up from the bottom of my bag. Sometimes they’re flimsy paper bookmarks I grab off bookstore counters. But one of my favorite bookmarks looks like a thin persian rug. My father picked it up in Europe during his last trip, and it’s now pressed between the pages of a short story collection by Stephen King—fitting, since he’s one of my father’s favorite authors.

I decided to dig around Etsy for some more unique bookmarks, and while I found many, I think one of my favorites (and I’m cheating because it’s not simply a bookmark) is the wooden bookrack below. This bookrack is a little bit pricer than the rest of the items in today’s post. It’s a piece of furniture, not just a page marker. The rack is a modern take on a bookcase, suspending your books in air with pins that double as a bookmark. And the designer of the rack really gets us multitasking readers, because, generally, I’m not reading one book at a time. Instead, I might read quite a few over a span of several months, switching back and forth when my moods change.

But without further ado, check out this list of must-have bookmarks. And don’t forget to visit our Pinterest boards for some more literary stuff and inspiration!

Wooden Bookrack and Bookmark Pins

Hold My Spot Hand-Stamped Copper Bookmark

Once Upon A Time Stamped Bronze Bookmark

Wicked Witch Bookmark


Literary Arts 30th, Or Quieting Fear

There’s nothing more motivational than listening to the struggles and realizations of an author who “made it.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again. On Monday, I attended Literary Arts 30th Anniversary Party, where I was able to hear Colin Meloy, lead singer of The Decemberists and author of the series Wildwood, play a few songs and listen to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, (among others) speak.

For those of you who don’t know, Literary Arts (LA) is an Oregon-based nonprofit literary center that was formed thirty years ago, in 1984, with the mission of bringing “authors and thinkers” to the Northwest. LA hosts lecture series that bring in over two thousand readers; they host workshops, seminars, and programs for high school students. They’ve also helped support many Oregon authors throughout their careers, like Cheryl Strayed for one.


Gilbert seems like the best friend we’d all love to have; she’s got a great sense of humor, an adventurous spirit, but most of all, she’s sure of herself. Not just because her best-known novel, Eat, Pray, Love, spent nearly two-hundred weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. Although, that’s plenty enough to make a writer feel sure of herself.

Maybe it’s that, as Gilbert said of herself (quite depreciatingly), she isn’t good at anything besides writing. It must be difficult to be good at a lot of things, she told the audience. How do you know where to direct your passion? That struck a chord with me. I’m not amazing at everything I do, but I’ve always been a good student with a hunger for knowledge. I love astronomy and history. Sometimes politics when I’m not too down on the world. And growing up, my being on the honor roll and needing to always be right led my parents to believe I’d make quite a successful lawyer. I can even sing without breaking glass (although, stage fright makes this difficult to prove). Point being, becoming a writer isn’t generally something a parent dreams for their child. And when there’s literally nothing stopping you from going for that law degree (or some other—stabler—career) besides a persistent itch to write and tell stories, it’s difficult to convince yourself that you aren’t, indeed, making a huge mistake.

“Creativity and fear,” as Gilbert said, “are conjoined twins.” It takes courage to be a writer. Courage to acknowledge fear’s presence, but to let fear know that it won’t control the journey. Gilbert told the audience that she has witnessed many writers—writers just as good as her, if not better—who gave up on themselves. They weren’t happy with the work they were producing. It didn’t meet the expectations they had set for themselves, and so they quit. They “pre-decided,” as Gilbert put it, that they weren’t good enough.


Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Must-Have Bookish Bracelets

The return of fall, the back-to-school sales, all of it has me itching to take my next paycheck and head to the mall for a much-needed update of my wardrobe. But more often than not, I take to online shopping to find unique items. I find the jewelry I wear the most—like the purple ring I wear on my left index finger, the one I begged my sister to give me—comes with a story. I wear it because it reminds me of someone or something. The importance of this story is the same reason why I will only get a tattoo if I’ve wanted it for a few years and if it too holds its own significance.

For this reason, bookish jewelry is really the best kind of jewelry for readers and writers. There are so many books on our shelves with words that have touched our lives in some way, and what better way to be reminded of that than to be able to see those words on your wrist?

I can’t think of one, so without further ado, here are ten bookish bracelets for any book lover. As always, check out our Pinterest board for more literary loot.

Well Behaved Women Hand-Stamped Bracelet

In Vain I Have Struggled Jane Austen Leather Bracelet

I Am No Bird Charlotte Bronte Bracelet


Literary Paraphernalia: Bookish Aromatherapy

With school around the corner, I know that, come fall, I’ll need to find ways to decompress after a long day. And since my apartment lacks a bath tub to soak in, I think that candles, perfumes, and other literary scents might be just the trick to calming my nerves. You’d be surprised what goodies you can find on Etsy. Everything from roll-on perfume with the scent of old books (for book sniffers everywhere) to candles that smell like Dobby’s socks (which I did not include in this list, because you couldn’t get me to take a whiff of anyone’s socks, not even Dobby’s).

I’m still not convinced that the real Dharma Bums from Kerouac’s novel didn’t simply douse themselves in a barrel of patchouli, but regardless, I am certain that any book lover can find something on this list. And if not, check out our Pinterest for more literary loot.

Old Books Roll On Perfume

Wuthering Heights Oakmoss & Amber Goat’s Milk Soap

Pride & Prejudice Earl Grey and Lavender Soy Candle

Butterbeer Scented Soap