Doing the Write Thing

Sakinah Hofler was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up with a sharp tongue in a conservative household led to many stints of punishment, which led to ample time to read and write. However, after learning the words “starving artist” from her favorite childhood author, Ann M. Martin, she decided to push her dream of writing aside to become a well-fed scientist.

This is a photo of Sakinah Hofler, a contributor to the BIW blog.Sakinah received both a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a Master’s degree in engineering management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Within the first two months of working as a Chemical Engineer for the United States Department of Defense, she realized engineering was not for her. She filled up her free time with classes: acting classes, improv classes, French classes, and writing classes. She performed in a couple of one-act plays with the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts. She auditioned (and received) a position with an amazing improv troupe called On The Spot. She wrote three (terrible) novels. However, as time went on and she moved up at her job, the pressure to quit her extra-curricular activities tripled. She stopped acting and left her troupe. She still needed classes to maintain her sanity so she continued with French and writing. She took classes at Gotham Writer’s Workshop, NYU, and the Writers Studio. Eventually the need to write overcame the pressure at her job. She decided to apply to an MFA program because she wanted to be in an environment where she could put writing first. Her first attempt garnered her eight rejections, three on the same day. Rejection made her want to work harder.

In the interim, she became a part of a wonderful writing group called “No M.A.P.s.” This group pushed her to leave her comfort zone and she was able to get her work published in Euonia Review and Counterexample Poetics.

She decided to apply to MFA programs again two years later and received several offers. She moonwalked out of her job and all the way down to Florida State University’s MFA creative writing program.

Currently, she holds the position for the Assistant Online Editor for the Southeast Review. In her free time, she practices French, exercises, and volunteers. She might have solved the problem of “starving artist” by learning how to cook. She lives in sunny Tallahassee, Florida with her boyfriend and photographer, Yvel Clovis.



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Sakinah Hofler’s Articles:

  • by Sakinah Hofler
    Have you ever had someone read your work then comment: “I love all the stuff that’s going on here but I’m having trouble seeing how your character changes”. Or “the character seems static”. Or “the character is really just an observer”? The reader might have misunderstood the story, however, those statements might be hints that… […]
  • by Sakinah Hofler
    When I ask my students if they read their papers out loud before submitting them, they usually give me a strange look, a look that seems to ask, “Well, why would we do that? What benefit will we get from that?” The answer is “A whole lot,” I tell them. Granted, my students are college… […]
  • by Sakinah Hofler
    Most of us are probably starting the New Year full throttle with new ideas and writing goals. Here are a few tips to think about as you create your writing resolutions: Challenge Yourself Let’s say you wrote 50,000 new words last year. This year, up the ante — try 55,000, 60,000, etc. If you submitted… […]
  • by Sakinah Hofler
    You sit down at your desk. In your head your characters are alive and grooving and your plot is rock solid. You are ready. You poise your hands above your keyboard (or pen above notepad). Then the negative self talk begins. You hear a voice say, “You can’t do this.” You find yourself nodding. I… […]
  • by Sakinah Hofler
    Since last September, I have been a fiction reader at a literary magazine run by the Graduate English Program at Florida State University. We receive hundreds of submissions and those submissions are divvied up amongst different readers where each story receives several reads. I am grateful for the opportunity and I highly recommend that if… […]