This episode first appeared on Craft Your Content. You can listen to more episodes of Writers’ Rough Drafts at

Victor Yang is a queer writer and organizer, who grew up, in his words, in Canada, rural China, and Kentucky. A former Rhodes Scholar, he has focused a large part of his career and experience in giving a voice to those who don’t have voices, or who often have those voices taken away. Whether it is his volunteer work in family casework for single mothers of color, direct action AIDS activism, work with low-wage workers unions in the Northeastern United States, or efforts to push the administration to launch the first summit on race in the 800-year history of Oxford University—he has been fighting for immigrant and labor justice for over a decade.

He shares his own stories, some of the stories of the folks he has encountered (whether broadly or specifically), and his difficulties, defeats, and joys as an organizer through his short essays and articles in a variety of publications like The Rumpus, Tahoma Literary Review, and Gulf Coast magazine. Victor has landed residencies and awards for his writing, including the coveted 2018 Chertkov Fellow with the Blue Mountain Center in upstate New York.

What You’ll Learn About Writing This Week:

— How writing out your thoughts and feelings can sometimes give you a sense of control

— Why we should actually be selfish when we are writing

— That sometimes it is in being inconsistent that we find our creative consistency

— How different languages shape our voice and personality

— Why a change in scenery is important to a strong writing habit

Mentioned in This Episode (Links and Resources!):

— Tahoma Literary Review

— BlueMountain Center (2018 Chertkov Fellow)

— “Fitting Characters and Scripts” on The Rumpus

— “Momma’s Boy” (Gulf Coast magazine)

— “Sardine Party” (Fourth Genre)

— “Q&A with Victor Yang, Alumni Award Recipient” (Iceland Writers Retreat)

You Can Reach Victor At:

— Email Victor – because he doesn’t use social media (and he explains why in this episode!)

Tweetable Quotes From This Episode:

“For me … writing’s something I need to do for myself, and I think we should own up to how we should be selfish about it.” – Victor Yang on #WritersRoughDrafts

“We shy away from being explicit about what we really want to communicate as writers.” – Victor Yang on #WritersRoughDrafts

“My purpose when I revise for three or four drafts is often trying to get much more explicit, so what’s climbing and hopping around in my subconscious can actually land in text for the reader.” – Victor Yang on #WritersRoughDrafts

On Writing Routines: “I need to write first thing in the morning, usually with tea or coffee, then I bike over to a coffee shop or work from home. It makes the rest of my day feel better.” – Victor Yang on #WritersRoughDrafts

“For me, warranting myself to thinking about what I want to write about not because I should, but because I want to.” – Victor Yang on #WritersRoughDrafts

Thanks to our Season 4 sponsor:

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