An Interview with Rudri Bhatt Patel, Senior Editor at Literary Mama

Rudri Bhatt Patel is an editor, essayist, educator, and an attorney. She is the co-founder of the literary journal, The Sunlight Press. She also is a senior editor at Literary Mama. Her work appears in numerous local and national outlets. Rudri Bhatt Patel shares nuggets of advice from her rich experience in writing in this conversation  with Viney Kirpal, a health and personal essay writer.

Viney: How did you think of founding The Sunlight Press? What’s special about it?

Rudri: I wrote and served as a managing editor of a literary journal called The First Day. The owners decided to move in a different direction and closed the journal. I began a conversation with a colleague, Beth Burrell, who also wrote for The First Day, and we decided to collaborate and establish The Sunlight Press  in 2007. We pooled our personal funds to hire a designer, create a logo, and establish the website. We welcome submissions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and photography.

The Sunlight Press believes all artists should be paid and we’ve followed through on this mission throughout our journal’s history. We are fortunate that our literary journal is a 501(c)3 non profit and we’ve relied on donations from our readers and other generous individuals who want to support artists and writers in a meaningful way.

Our journal’s mission relies on the following: “We want to hear the ways people turn toward light and hope, whether it is through the arts, culture, spirituality, or humor, and also how they respond to darkness and navigate unknown spaces. Epiphanies are born from the ordinary and the extraordinary; whether it’s a reflection unfolding during a morning walk, after the loss of a loved one, or in the middle of unexpected laughter, we want to know about these moments.” We welcome new and established writers.

Viney: What are the challenges and advantages of editing your own magazine?

Rudri: Running The Sunlight Press is a way to cultivate literary citizenship. I’ve been on both sides, as a writer and editor, and so I empathize with those who submit and understand the act of courage it takes to send in a submission to an editor. At The Sunlight Press we acknowledge every submission and try to make a decision on a particular piece within three months. We understand that writers have an urgency to know whether their piece will be published and want to know as quickly as possible if they need to submit elsewhere.

In a given year, we receive at least 1,000 submissions and respond to each and every inquiry. As an editor I have to balance reading submissions, corresponding with writers, uploading pieces for publication, as well as focusing on my creative work. It is sometimes challenging to work on making my writing a priority when I am responsible for reading submissions for the literary journal. It is a constant tug and pull, but I believe that having a perspective of the process from different angles helps hone my editorial skills and strengthens my writing.

Viney: You also edit another magazine, Literary Mama. How do you define ‘mothers’ who write for Literary Mama?

Rudri: I’ve served on the editorial staff of Literary Mama for eight years in a variety of roles. I am currently a senior editor and am proud to be a member of such an esteemed staff.

Motherhood is defined as a broad theme. The mission of the writing explored in the journal focuses on the following: “We celebrate the physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual processes of becoming a mother through words and images that may be so stark it hurts. We welcome perspectives that challenge us to examine motherhood through a variety of lenses. We’re not afraid of publishing work that crosses boundaries of race, gender, age, or income and encourages comments that build community.”

Celebrating and exploring the multidimensional facets of motherhood is a consistent theme of the journal since its inception 20 years ago.

Viney: How do you manage time to edit, freelance, and write content? I’m sure it’s not easy.

Rudri: I admit I juggle several roles: freelancer, editor, and educator. I’ve always done well managing my time when I am over-busy. I guard my time and always try to prioritize my writing responsibilities first. I often get the question — How do you manage these multiple roles?

I never see writing or editing as work. Writing is a lifeline and a refuge.

In terms of practical advice, I recommend the following:

  1. Make a to-do list at night. I always know exactly what is on my agenda as soon as I wake up in the morning. I don’t waste much time checking what needs to be done since I’ve reflected on my tasks the night before.
  2. Embrace the hustle. Part of juggling roles means there is a fair amount of hustle.  I know this approach isn’t for everyone, but I attempt to use my time as efficiently as I can and if I have certain tasks that need to be completed by a certain deadline, I work backward from the due date so that I have plenty of time to complete the to-do.
  3. Wake up early. My mornings are holy and sacred. I often wake between 5 -5:30 a.m. and begin with journaling, gratitude practice, and reading. I then dive into my first task (which is usually the most important thing I need to complete for that day).

Viney: You write content. Some of our writers would love to know more about how they could produce good content.

Rudri: Content writing means meeting the client’s goal for copy. The writing targets SEO keywords, as well as what the client deems important after understanding their website’s analytics. In terms of tips in writing good content, I focus on the following:

  1. Have a great headline. Headlines matter in content writing. With so much information, an interesting title can mean the difference between someone scrolling past your headline or clicking on it.
  2. Create an outline. Narrative structure is important in content and knowing where to put key information to create a natural flow in the article is paramount.
  3. Provide useful information for your audience. Readers want key takeaways and prefer reading content they haven’t seen anywhere else on the internet. Keep the reader engaged by helpful information.
  4. Deliver clean content. You want to build trust with your reader. That means making certain you fact check your copy and minimize any grammatical or style errors.
  5. Make certain your copy fits with the brand voice. The content should work toward the brand’s mission. Having an understanding of the mission makes it easier to generate content that expands on the brand’s goals.

Viney: Thank you very much, Rudri for an insightful interview. I loved that one about “ Writing is a lifeline and a refuge.” It’s beautiful and will resonate with all our writers. Grateful for your time. Rudri can be contacted at



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