Melissa Chadburn is a lover and a fighter, a union rep, a social arsonist, a writer, of color, smart, edgy and fun. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Salon, and the Rumpus, among others.  In Ask a Freelancer, Chadburn fields questions about writing, the blogosphere, platform building, and all things scary. She doesn't presume to know everything but she knows people that know more things than her and if there's one thing she’s learned it’s that there's nothing to be gained from withholding information. Reach her at fictiongrrrl(at)gmail.com or follow her on Twitter. She loves your whole outfit right now.

Dear Freelancer,

I’m new to the online writing universe. Is there any way you can give me a tour?

I’m interested in places where I can find other writers and readers.

Love,

Got Breadcrumbs?

***

Dear GB,

Welcome! And what a thrill that you’re new here and you found me, I feel so delighted. This is the perfect type of hostess engagement for me: I don’t have to do any cleaning beforehand. Okay, so it’s writers and readers you’re seeking. Let’s check out some literary sites then, shall we? 

1) The Nervous Breakdown is home to lyrical essays, book reviews, author self-interviews, and regular podcast by parent of the site, editor Brad Listi, “The Other People Podcast.” Here you can hear Brad have wacky intimate surprising conversations with authors. This podcast saved my booty on my grueling two hour commute to work everyday.

2) The Rumpus is also home to lyrical personal essays, book reviews, author interviews. One of the best perks: the site’s founder Stephen Elliott sends out ranting and overly personal emails to daily Rumpus subscribers. If a connection with other writers and readers is what you’re seeking, The Rumpus is a fantastic place to start. The site’s current managing editor, Zoe Ruiz and Stephen Elliott, continue to find new and inventive ways to connect their readers, whether it be through actual events or subscribing to their Letters in The Mail program where you receive a personal letter once a month from a Rumpus contributor or ally. Real letters! Fun!

3) The Millions refers to itself as “lit coverage.” The essays on this site are all geared towards craft or literature. I mostly enjoy checking out their top ten book list. Also, they’re a much snazzier host than I am, in their curiosities section on the bottom left-hand portion of their front page they curate other literary sites and feature fun smart pieces—how wickedly smart is that?

4) HTMLGIANT calls itself a literature blog that is not always about literature. Most frequently you’ll find reviews here, but also sometimes short fiction, or somesuchthing.

5) Similar to The Millions, the LA Review of Books publishes essays, reviews, and interviews all related to literature. In addition to hosting essays from prize winning contributors, they have partnered with KCRW-FM (89.9) through a podcast series and regular segment. You can hear their segment here: www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/bk.

6) The Weeklings is a fun site that publishes an essay a day. They cover all aspects of popular culture and operate lovingly as a socialist collective. Meaning all net proceeds are divided equally amongst their contributors. This is incredibly kind. As mentioned in a previous post of mine I will write for free. A friend of mine recently mentioned, I will write for free, there are tons of things that I will do for people or publications I love for free. I will also write for money. I will do lots of silly things for gobs and gobs of money. It’s the middle ground that’s dangerous. So as a freelancer I would still lump any writing I do for The Weeklings writing for a journal I love and any change kicked my way is an unexpected treat, like a pal buying me coffee. 

Also, all the literary journals I can think of host a website or blog. Two of my favorites and the most interactive or educational are:

7) and 8) The Tin House blog and McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies. Tin House has a podcast that captures craft lectures from their weeklong summer writer’s workshop, and their site often has both personal and craft essays. McSweeney’s site has fun, quirky essays and lists that force me to laugh out loud in cafes throughout Los Angeles.

Whoa, now that you’ve got the juices flowing I realize there’s a whole other gamut of sites that allow you to interact with people or books in a special way. I think I’ll have to save that list for next week. Let’s make this a recurring suarez why don’t we? Same time next week. Be there. You can show up unshaven in your jammies if you want. 

Love, 

Freelancer 

Photo by Patrick Hoesly/Flickr; remix by Fernando Alfonso III