The Hard Work

There is a saying among writers when it comes to first drafts: they are all crap. No matter how gifted the writer, all first drafts are crap.

Don’t debate me, just listen.

However, I love what Nora Roberts says about blank pages and drafts:

“You can’t edit an empty page.”

This is from the same Nora Roberts who has written 200 books. Two. Hundred. That’s a level of prolific that is unmatched. But it’s true–no one can read the stories in your head, dear one.

The advice I can give for writing first drafts is the same as was told to me: write. No matter how it looks or sounds, get it out of you. Write it down. The way you become a better writer, to develop the muscles they make writers prolific only come by writing!

Write! Write! Write!

The thing that helps me to try and be prolific is to give myself a deadline. That helps to focus research, and allows time to gather thoughts (or confidence) to write. The major hitch to keeping you from writing is more often than not is confidence or time.

Writers are and can be master procrastinators especially when we don’t think we can or should try to write. Fight the urge to ignore the need to write.

Fight it!

The benefit of doing the hard work is the sweeter part of adding to your draft, watching the story expand and change. Don’t allow the fear of how something will sound or look to stop the joy from coming.

Get to work.

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, SG Writing Services

Bend Blank Pages

I have never been afraid of a blank page or the secession of them. I wanted to fill the blank pages the I had. The best therapy for me is, and still is, school supply shopping. I love having a supply of blank pages. A fresh notebook is the sexiest writing item.

However, I understand the intimidation of blank pages–I get it. What I want to remind you of one thing: you are in control.

As a writer, you are in control.

The worlds you create must bend to your will and talent. They must! Here is motivation for how to continue to make the pages to your will:

Confidence. The story, before it is ever seen by anyone else, belongs to you. You must know every idea, personality or plot belongs to you. Because you are the Alpha and Omega to your own story, act like it.

Confront the Hang-Ups. This happens more often than you think. When you write as particular genre, like erotica, you may be constructing a scene which may be beyond your personal comfort zone. First, this is okay. You have the right to feel uncomfortable. Embrace that. After you embrace it–push past it. The story you write should be complete! If you are anxious to see what happens next, so will the people who read the story. So, tell it.

Show your work. Just like in math classes, when you write, show your work. If you choose to have your first draft in the traditional pen and paper format, keep the draft. Make your notes on the pages or margins.

For me, there are some works just begin on paper so I can see what I’m working on. It allows me to see in my own head–which is sometimes chaotic as the heads of most writers are. Writing down what my mind sees hasn’t been a problem. I allow myself to feel, to see and to write.

To you dear one, I offer the same advice. Scratch through the ideas that don’t work or make sense. Spell things in corners or on back pages. You are the master of your work. Master it.

I believe in you and all your pages hold. Go forth and fill them!

[Image taken from Google]

Be Your Motivation

 

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New projects are scary. They really are. They provide the creator with the ability to add something to the world which was not there before and it is indeed amazing. However, in that space of creation and creativity, there is or can be a paralysis. This paralysis, this page stage fright, stops us as writers from writing as we wish or as we would want.

It makes us tone down the idea, or be unmotivated to even record it, develop it or reveal it. As a writer, you must be able to fight through this fear, this paralysis in order to create as you desire!

Toni Morrison said one of the reasons why she wrote The Bluest Eye is because she wanted to read it. If you want ways to be your own motivation, here are three:

 

  • Be excited about your own idea. If you aren’t excited about what you’re working on, no one else will be. That excitement will fuel the rest of your process. From research, to free writing, development of a draft or manuscript, that excitement allows you to keep the goal in mind–that goal being the story.

 

  • Don’t be scared about the idea. Your idea is the creation, the baby, of your imagination. If it be humor, horror or romance, it’s yours. Develop it. Write it down. Even if you just write the idea to roll it over later. Don’t fear your imagination or stretch it.

 

  • Don’t be afraid of a trope or archetype character. There are some things in literature, in writing, that are unavoidable. Hero/villain. Resolution. Plot structure. Character development. Use these rules and stretch them. Don’t be afraid to stretch the rules, or even engineer a way around them. This is your story, your idea but fear is has no space.

 

Creativity and apprehension cannot coexist. Apprehension chokes the life out of any thing which has life or vitality. Don’t surrender to the voices which tell you not to, or the people who don’t believe in you. You grab your idea, you work it and protect it.

“You cannot come soft to a blank page.”- Stephen King

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

 

[Image from Google]

What You Say: Tropes, Ideas & POVs

 

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It’s been done before…”

 

This is the lie from Writing Hell at least one of writer has believed. Those vicious imps of self-doubt that paralyze writers, cripple our confidence and whisper from behind our consciousness that we can’t possibly want to write about that! The tropes that are overdone, have not been done by you!

Tropes are there for archetypes of a specific genre or literary character type. They exist to be played with, revamped, recreated–they are not fixed. The ideas you venture to write, your characters, they all need to be expressed. Don’t worry about if it has been done before. It has not been done by you.

Write the story. Make the characters as you will. Stretch the tropes, turn the protagonist on its head. Stretch the plot. You may have a vampire story. Don’t worry about Anne Rice or Laurel K. Hamilton–you are the writer. Don’t worry about a horror story akin to Get Out, and My Soul To Take, you write the story you want.

As a writer, you determine the voice, the plot and the character, even the trope. You control everything. You determine everything. Don’t listen to the imps. Don’t listen to the voices that remind you of what other people have done. The crux of writing is there may be someone whom may have a similar idea but a unique perspective. That is what makes this profession so frustrating and amazing.

Write, dear one. Write. Don’t be dismayed if you have a similar idea, you have a unique respective. So, write it.

You can do it!

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Administrator/Founder

 

[Image from Google]

Imagination Vs. Creativity

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Is creativity the same as imagination?

Is imagination the same as creativity?

I dare say that imagination is the fuel for creativity. They are not mutually exclusive, and should never be considered as independent ideas. The ability to be creative, yes and use your imagination, indeed is something as a writer you will not forget. Imagination, using your imagination, is something of exercise ongoing as much as the actual process or action of writing.

Imagination and creativity are the engine and fuel which allows you to write. Writing is stale and cold without the fire of imagination through the vessel of your creativity. Think of it this way. Creativity is a car, reliable and steady. However, it is imagination which allows you to travel as slow or as fast as you desire.

Imagination allows you to construct, deconstruct and manipulate the world as  you see fit. All your talent houses, is subject to your command–bends at your will, and awaits your challenge.

Imagination and creativity are the lovers and tormentors of all writers. They allow us to bridge the gaps research or fervent Google searches cannot or may never offer. Imagination allows you to bridge gaps, make past events relevant, perhaps even changing those outcomes. You become the first and last authority for the world, lore or myth of the world you create. No detail is too grand, no detail too small.

Never see these elements which are tiers to your talent and career as adversarial. They are two pillars of the same building. They are both needed to sustain the writing process. Writing, in all its mystic nature, rests and thrives upon the strength of these pillars. They are strengthened, fortified by the ability of the writer to build them: imagination grants permission, creativity gives it direction.

With passion, pursue these virtues as you grow in your writing and your desire to be a writer. You can do it, because you believe you can.

 

Go forth and create!

 

 

Jennifer Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

Imagination: For Peace Of Mind

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There is something to daydreaming, the free act of allowing your mind to wander. It is in the act of letting your mind wander is when the best thoughts come. It is in the beauty of being able to think, and think about what you think, which pushes you toward new thought and ergo, new stories.

It is said writers are often writing even when they aren’t writing. Those of this guild are often more out of lock-step with the rest of the waking world. In being out of step with the world, we can see the invisible and record what is never said or noticed.

In the stretching your imagination, here are a few ways to enjoy and rest in the beauty of daydreaming:

  • Travel.  Whether it be a road trip, or a passport, get out of your own four walls. The experience of travel is a cheap way to stretch your imagination. Travel allows you to change settings, even duplicate different places you have been. As a writer, being able to record what you see, hear and manipulate it, is a tool we must aim to master.

 

  •  Reflect. As Amy Tan wrote her books, she used the stories of her mother and her mother’s family to do what her mother describes as “change the past.” Maya Angelou took her knack of storytelling and wrote essays and autobiographical narratives. The power of reflecting fuels imagination. Perhaps you want to create a story based on the stories your father told or read to you. It is wondrous to allow your mind to travel back in time as it were, revealing these memories and basing them as fact for your story. What can change? What would be different? What outcome would you have wanted?

 

  • Live. There is a boldness in being able to take this life you have and stretch it before you. Experience what this life has to offer you. Meet people. See things. Try new food. Enjoy the comfort of your own company. Be drunk in the French Quarter (I did!). The beauty of being a writer, is telling of a new experiences sometimes conjured in your own imagination. Life is to be lived dear one. So, seeing this life is both yours and ours, decide to live it.

 

It is in hope that you use this motivation towards your own words and pages. Go forth and create.

 

Jennifer Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

 

[Image from  Google, Deviant Art]

Exercise The People In Your Head

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The people that run around in your head are insistent little nuisances, aren’t they?

They need, demand and die for the want of attention. I understand the hum of new people being birthed and changed to suit a plot you are working on. I also am familiar with the frustration and sadness which comes from not writing down an idea or character believing the gospel lie of all writers:  “I’ll write it down later.”

There is never a ‘later’ for a writer. We live in the ever present now. We are always thinking and flipping ideas, and experience yield new people in your head. With these new character babes in the wood, they need exercise and training.

Who are these people in your head?

What do they want?

What are their names?

What things motivate them, anger them?

Where do they live, who do they love?

If you are starting a new project, don’t be afraid to ask these people in your head questions. Don’t be afraid to push the work–in that, you can find out more about the character you are trying to develop. Stephen King says the story unfolds even when you plot it. Go with it! Let the people in your head run–and then chase them to make them tell you everything they know.

[image from Google]

Imagination Invigoration

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With all the weaponry you have as an author, the most formidable is the depth, wealth and breath of your imagination. This is the only weapon which you can use and wield at and with your good pleasure. Never forget that.

Consider your imagination like a garden. What do you want to grow there? What do you want to plant? What do you want to remove? What causes the weeds, and how do you get rid of them? You control all things which come in, go out, what will grow and stay.

As a writer, you are the unique position to both birth new imaginations, as well as provoke the imaginations of others. This a position which we, us, of this ilk revel in. However, in the reveling, remember these three steps:

 

1.) Active writers are avid readers. From hardback to paperback or ebooks even audiobooks, writers read. There is no way around it. There should be at least one book you have started, trying to finish, or one you can refer to someone. Books and their knowledge are fodder indispensable to writers. Feed your imagination. Turn off a device if possible and read. Stephen King said in his book On Writing, that he read in what he called ‘sips.’ Whether it be in the grocery store line, waiting in a bank line or waiting to pick your kids from a school practice. Read. Read. Read.

 

2.) Research is fertilizer. I have a habit of looking up words I don’t know. I got this habit from my aunt when I would ask her what a word meant. I’m glad she did. From that practice, things that I wanted to know more about, I began to look up. As a writer, you will develop curious walking around information–odd things you know, or stranger things people have told you, which will work their way into your imagination. Expanding your knowledge base can only help you stretch you in your genre, or if you want to branch into another. Research gives your imagination permission to branch out into the unknown and record it.

 

3.) Roll it around. For any new project that I’m working on, I roll ideas around–meaning, I thinking the idea out. I call it ‘writing in my head’. In writing in my head, I can formulate what is I want to do, say, and record. It doesn’t have to make sense immediately, I just have to hold the thought. I have to be able to be confident if I hold on to this idea long enough, just maybe, I can make something of it. If I believe that I can make something of it, then I can write it down. If I can write it down, I can save it to extrapolate at  later date if I need to; the idea is preserved, ergo, protected.

Be brave, dearest ones. You can do it. Begin to do it. Investigate your imagination. What are you watering? What needs to be watered? Is there anything else which can be done to expand the garden? You as a writer determine all that–so get to it.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

 

[image from Google]

From The Sitting Position

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There is a point in writing where you hit the wall. There is a point where you believe that the words are ridiculous, hard to find, and it seems easier to stop the w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services

Is IT In Your Head?

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I’m going to be honest with you. Writing is hard. One of the best quotes I’ve heard about writers and writing is it being a world inside a person. I completely agree. There are elements to writing that would make you insane to and with any other person, or in any other profession. I mean, writers literally ‘talk’ to themselves. We make up people, places, things and on grand scales? We create whole mythologies.

The makings of psychopathy, really.

But in matters of writing, that tendency to create, augment, recreate is what make the craft amazing–and maddening. Is it all in your head? Sad to say, yes it is. The cure is also in your head. You have the cure to writer’s block in your head and hands. The cure for writer’s block–is to write. I wish it were more complex, but it isn’t.

There are articles and opinions which tell that writer’s block is a psychological wall writers put up, keep up, when they feel material they are writing may be controversial or outside of the norm. I agree.

There have been pieces of work I have thought about writing, and hesitate with because I either didn’t know how to proceed or didn’t know where to begin. That is a crippling feeling–and writing, being a writer allows that profession to fueled by the muscle of creativity. When that crippling feeling comes–we lock up!

In experiencing this, what has helped me was free writing. This in invaluable tool to anyone that’s writing! It is a free-flowing writing process, no rules, no time limit, no excuses. In free writing, I can get the idea I am mulling over out of my head.  I can get it on paper, if I can get down–I can see it! If I can see it, I can go forward with it or shelve it until I can get time to continue it.  After the idea is out, I save it. I don’t toss it. Free writing also helps distinguish what work is to be expounded on, and what can be change into something else.

Worry not. Writer’s block can be conquered. Go forth and conquer.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services