Are Morning Pages A Writing Tool?

Writers need tools. We need space to create, to brainstorm and to follow through with the ideas we develop. We need that. I am a fan of customizing your tool kits. What works for one writer, does not become the uniform for every other writer!  I cannot emphasize this enough. The things that I have found that work for me, don’t work for every writer. This is one of the joys of being a writer! You get to customize what works for you and toss away what doesn’t with no explanation given.

I believe after using this writing option for a month, that it is indeed a tool. It is something that can be used for writers to be more focused on what they are writing. Even being intentional about what it is you desire to writer. It helps to clear your head–even prepare you for what it is you have decided to create for that day. It’s a sort of locker room, if you will, for writers.

I want you to bear in mind that to be a writer, you must writer. There is no shortcut, no quick way, no back way to become a writer. You have to writer. You must figure out where it is you fit in this vocation, and make your own roux. One of the ways you do that is to gather your tools for your own toolbox. Writing pages are one of those tools that you can use as you see fit. I like using Morning Pages when I have a project that I have to do, and feel that I need to have my mind a little more focused. The glorious thing about Morning Pages is that you can customize your schedule! If you don’t necessarily want to do them, you don’t have to! But once you commit to doing Morning Pages, you will maximize their benefit through your discipline in writing them. 

For the time that I have used them, I have been better able to command my thoughts. I have been better prepared to write. I have found my8self more disciplined, and even the flow of creativity being greater.

As hard as writing can be, you need all tools at your disposal. Don’t knock new tools. Being a writer demands versatility, and the keen ability to adapt. Only foolish craftsmen reject tools that will only help them.

Happy Writing!

[image from techgyo.com]

Writing At All Costs: Morning Pages or No Morning Pages?

Morning pages are not for the faint of heart. They inspire a disciple in you that you may not have had before.

What do I mean?

Morning Pages aren’t the same as journaling. Morning pages have inspired me to trust my own thoughts more. To trust what it is I have to say or would like to say. The goal of Morning Pages are to get you writing, keep you writing and becoming more comfortable in writing.

Now, as someone who writes for a living, and infatuated with language, you would think I would be singing the praises of Morning Pages. I think that Morning Pages are a one of those back-pocket tools writers can have or develop to organize thoughts. Or develop new ideas.

I am a fan of Morning Pages, actually. The act of writing as soon as I get up, or within an hour of me getting up helped me focus. They help me organize my creative thoughts and focus.

I suggest to anyone that does any amount of writing, or may decide to pursue writing as a career to try Morning Pages. The organization of your thoughts through this tool provides the galvanizing of your imagination.

Always a marvelous thing. Morning Pages are a marvelous thing.

[images from blondesandbagels.com]

Writing Corner: Amanda Wells, Founder of FLOW: Where Writing Moves

 

 

 FLOW STL staff.

Amanda Wells is pictured on the far left.

 

 I consider Amanda Wells as a writer’s writer.  She is knowledgeable, accessible and a constant source of strength and collaboration. After completeing her undergrad and graduate degrees at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she established the creative-writer group FLOW:  Where Writing Moves. Another acrosymn she gave me for FLOW is For [the] Love Of Writing. I couldn’t agree more.

FLOW is based here in St. Louis, Missouri, with its artistic residence in the Grand Art Center, down from Saint Louis University on Grand Boulevard. It’s a mix of everything there! From music, to spoken word, artistic collaboration, to writing space. There’s something there for everyone!

 What sure you ask about SPARK!

 

What They Do And Why That Is Amazing

 “We’re a close team of writers, teachers and scholars who believe in the power of individual creativity to connect people. We work together to build strong communities by fostering meaningful writing and storytelling experiences.”

[taken from FLOW:  Where Writing Moves homepage]  

Does it take a village to raise a writer? Sometimes.

There are portions of the creative work where it is beneficial to have a sounding board or at least a few like minded people to keep you from going utterly mad. Worse yet burning anything you have written  and called your work.

How do I know this?

When I was writing RUBY, it was the founder and phenom, Amanda, that talked me off multiple ledges. It was her firm grip ton reality that helped me edit and to finish the book.

 

(RUBY now available at The Novel Neighbor.)

It was at one of her Saturday open collaboration spaces at FLOW that confirmed writing is indeed what I want to spend my life doing. It was brainstorming in that space which allowed me the freedom to expand my novel. In that space of bouncing off ideas, I began to think about what I was working on and possibility of thinking it could be more.

I am of the belief that every writer needs a community. Writing can be lonely and draining! It is refreshing to have a space that is dedicated to that cultivation. FLOW STL is a tool for local writers here in St. Louis Ana is one of the cities best kept secrets!

The website offers other interactive classes and forums as well. The first writing retreat was this October not too far from St. Louis. FLOW STL has a Patreon available and active for those that desire to help with its mission.

Christopher Priest said a real writer can write anything. I agree. And in writing the anything, you need all the help you can get. FLOW STL and its staff are patron saints. They have taken the task off helping all those of us crazy enough to believe we can bend these 26 letter as we see fit.

[images from FLOW STL, and authors album]

The Use Of Morning Pages

Writing is one of those careers that is both static and dynamic.

The latest thing that I have come across my desk is the idea of morning pages. I had heard of this concept, or writing exercise from a YouTuber I have followed for years now (Shira:  SugarFreeTV/SynchoncityStudios/VisionClass. If you haven’t followed her or heard of her, she is a gem!). She was going this free (FREE!) YouTube hosted class, Vision Class, and she introduced this concept. This was about 3-4 years ago. The idea, the purpose for this, is to write as the first thing when you get up.

No topic.

No theme.

No erasing.

  The ideal is to create, pour out if you will, whatever is on  your head.

Simple, right?

Now, this is  not a practice a lot of writers that I know implement. I journal, and have on and off since I was bout 8 or 9. Morning pages is alike a heightened form of journaling. It’s stream of consciousness–whatever is on your head–no feelings necessarily involved.

For some writers it could be assumed this will help clear your head. Clean the slate for the day ahead. I get that. It’s a tool. Every writer needs tools. What works for one doesn’t work for another, and that is the glory of writing. Use it if you can; if you can’t, it’s rubbish. Writing is a discipline. Remember that–we can use all the help we can get.

[image from Pinterest]

2019 NEW PROJECT-FOR A BLACK GIRL

The new year brings new projects!

The latest labor of love via pages is a book of compiled essays based on experiences of African-American/Black women. These essays can range experiences where you were ignored, underestimated or rendered not worthy of respect. The key phrase I have often heard in situations where I was seen as less than, I often heard this as a antecedent/predicate phrase, “For a Black girl” or ‘…for a black girl.”

I would like the essays submitted to be to reflect these challenges, and their outcomes! I want the women whom decide to submit to this book to think of the phrase the author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide But The Rainbow Was Enuf, Ntozake Shange said:

“I write for young girls of color, for girls who don’t even exist yet, so that there is something there for them when they arrive. I can only change how they live, not how they think.”

I want the book to be a reminder of how great Black women are. I want it to be a book of encouragement, even if the reader is provoked to tears. I want it to be a record that what was meant to kill a Black girl–only missed or nicked her. 

If you would be interested in submitting an essay to this book, or would like more information, please contact sgwritingservices@icloud.com with the subject line reading “For Black A Girl.” I look forward to hearing from you!

[image from videoblock.com]

-JBHarris

Keep Going! This Is Why You Write…

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Writing is work! Octavia Butler said that sometimes writers would rather clean toilets than write.

She’s right.

There will be times when sitting at a computer, or pens out lusting for your hand to seduce the pages of blank paper under them–and you will think, “Why am I doing this?” Every writer I know has experienced this. It’s beyond self-doubt. It’s more dangerous than that–it’s apathy.

Apathy is a thief.

It steals all creative joy. It steals all promise that ambition and talent will bring. It lies and tells us that no one will read our novels, our poems or do our workshops. It lies to us because if apathy knows how talented you are—it would be unemployed. It would have nothing to say, nothing to offer, noting to give. It has nothing else to tell you.

In deciding to submit your work, in being a writer either indie or through an agent, you have to know two things.

One:

Not everyone is going to like  your stuff. This is crucial.

Two:

There are people that will like your stuff.

 

 

Some of the most hurtful criticism I have heard gotten was from someone close to me whom called what I did my ‘writing crap,’ Another was when I was writing for another blog, and they changed almost everything that I wrote. Here recently, I was told that my sentences were too cluttered, and my mechanics just sucked. However, I didn’t quit. I didn’t stop writing. I didn’t find sycophants. I took the criticism, weighed it for relevance, and kept it moving.

 

Writing is a constant balance. A constant need to swim upstream and know you can. That is the crazy part—you can do it. In the face of opposition and evil editors and low readership to blogs or mailing lists, you can do it. The question I need to ask you is, do you want to?

 

[image from Google]

 

Writing Corner: B.M. Hardin, Amazon Best-Selling Author

If you haven’t heard of the quixotic, eloquent and driven BM Hardin, you are missing a great gift! On the eve of the release of her 37th book, Secrets Of The South, she gave me a few minutes to pick her brain and talk shop.

Shekinah Glory Writing Services:

How did you start writing?

BM Hardin:

I’ve always loved to write. I tried writing my first book at 14. I didn’t know enough. I wasn’t ready. But I continued to win writing and essay contests and went on to major in Communications. In 2012, with the support of friends, I decided to try writing a novel again: it was a success!

SGWS:

Are you published anywhere?

BMH:

Am I published anywhere? Amazon. Some books are in Booksamillion and in tons of libraries. 

SGWS:

Do you have any current projects?

BMH:

Yes. I am preparing for a release but haven’t revealed the title yet.

[Editor Note: As of this posting, her latest book has been announced through social media and has been released on Amazon–Secrets Of The South.]

SGWS:

Do you have a writing schedule? Have you been able to stick to it?

BMH:

No writing schedule. I write when I’m in the mood. When I’m inspired. When I’m happy. [When I’m] sad.

SGWS:

What do you wish people realized about writing?

BMH:

I wish that they realize that it’s okay to find your own lane. It’s okay to mix genres and hit stick to just one. Write what feels good!

SGWS:

What have been your greatest joys in writing? Challenges?

BMH:

Greatest joy has been the amount of support and dedicated readers I’ve picked up over the years.

Greatest challenge is not having enough hours in a day to type out all my crazy ideas.

SGWS:

If you could offer one thing to potential writers, what would it be?

BMH:

I would offer them advice on the importance of being unique!

Don’t follow trends or do what everyone else is doing.

Do your own thing!

You’re title is important! Your cover is important! Definitely invest in them.

Thank you, Ms. Hardin for your wisdom and joy. This is a reminder to keep writing, let us as the writer define the work!

-compiled by Jennifer Harris, Lead Administrator-Shekinah Glory Writing Services

BM Hardin is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. If you want to know more about her, along with a list of writing services she offers, click here.

[image from shereads.com]

Fear Of The Red Pen: The Fear Of Submission (Part II)

Image result for red marks on essays

 

One thing that writers hate is to have their work be seen as horrible. No writer wants to be seen as not being a writer. There is something to be said for the amount of work it take to create something, submit something, and have someone tell you what you worked on is equivalent to snotty Kleenex and should be treated as such.

As writer, I can tell you how hard it is to break out of this cycle of self-doubt and crippling creative anxiety over something your wrote.

As an indie author, I can tell you what it’s like to write and have no one want to read it.

As an editor, one of my jobs is to tell you what I think of your work. And how it can improve. As an editor, I get no joy out of telling another writer their work isn’t good or good enough.

Read:  THERE IS NO NEED TO BE MEAN TO THE PEOPLE WHOM SUBMIT THEIR WORK TO YOU.

There is no need to tell people that don’t have the same talent for writing as you do how horrible they are at it. There is no need to eviscerate another writer.

Just like every writer isn’t a writer, not every editor should be an editor. You have to be able to be a iron fist in a silk glove. You have to be able to do as I call salvage and save. You salavage the writer, this is tantamount. You save whatever part of the work you can. Even if that means you have to tell them what is not good–or unsalvageable. You have to be able to tell what is wrong with a work and how to make it better!

Think of writing like being a martial artist of sorts. You work on the basics. You work on the mechanics. With every critique or criticism, let your skin get thick. Let the chatter fall away until you become deaf to it. You work at your craft. You work it. You hone your voice–this talent, this gift is yours. The strength of it is not determined by a red pen—or a rejection letter.

Write. And keep writing.

 

[Image from Google]

The Fear Of The Red Pen: The Fear Of Submitting (Part I)

 

Image result for red marks on essays

I am of a certain age to remember when all grades were scrawled on notebook paper in fire red ink. I remember turning in papers, essays or other miscellaneous homework with the hope that the spillage of ink on those sacrificed papers would be at a minimum. It would be with deep offense when I would see something that I worked so hard on be bled all over.

If you’re honest, this may be one of the reasons why you shy away from (if not outright avoid) submitting work. To blogs. To websites. Even to starting a blog. It is that fear that someone may not like something that you worked on, poured into may not be suitable to their palette.

I am here to remind you to two things:  criticism and critique are invaluable. Here is why:

 

Criticism. Completely suggestive. Helps to build the vital thing you will need as writer:  THICK SKIN.  There are few rules in writing, and I speak of them often. They relate to spelling, grammar and those related mechanics. These are the unavoidables. These are the things you have to master in order to write or speak any language. They are unavoidable. It is the content where the thick of your problem comes. There are those whom will love, hate–or worse yet–not ‘get’ what you’ve written. Any criticism is good–people are reading your stuff! However, in the threads of this criticism, you cannot allow the negative (even hateful) portions of the criticism to take root in your heart. Not every criticism is meant to break you. Some are meant to improve upon what is already there. Constructive criticism builds! It wants you to be better! Malicious criticism tells you want you cannot do, and may never be equipped to do.

 

Critique. These are similar to criticism, but focus on what is written. Not everything is for everyone. The faith of your talent cannot rest in what other people think of it. As a woman, a writer, and a writer whom is a woman of color, I have faced this more than once–before my skin got thick. I had to remember that what I write isn’t for everyone–and that too has to be okay. It must be okay!

Feedback for writers is and will remain a touchy subject! Stephen King almost didn’t publish Carrie! Anne Rice couldn’t find a market for Interview With A Vampire right off. Langston Hughes contended with his aunt about his writing career. Laurel K. Hamilton when she began writing the Anita Blake series was criticized for her work–about how out the box it is and was.

The point being that writing is what you make it. It is art and craft. It will always be of some contention. Someone somewhere will have something to say about it, not like it, not know how to classify it. They may even hate  your manuscript as what happened to JK Rowling. This cannot stop you. The red ink cannot become a grave or a paralytic!

For the people that don’t dig your stuff, there will be someone that will. That wishes they had something newer, fresher to read. Sometimes writers have to be their own advocates. You have to toughen up, sharpen your skills and above all write.

Write. And by God, keep writing!

 

[image from Google]

 

 

2019 Writing Workshops

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Mark your calendars!

From the success of the Fall 2018 Writing Workshop, there are two workshops planned for the early part of 2019! The first will be in January! The second in late April.  will be a Spring session planned for January 2019! The cost for registration is $25, and will cover the cost of your materials, as well as a copy of the book Bend Blank Pages, Volume 1.

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Payment must be remitted before January 10th, as the January workshop will be January 12.

The venue accommodates 30 people comfortably. You can register for the workshop by emailing your name to sgwritingservices@icloud.com, as well as through Eventbrite by clicking here.

There will be some surprises as well as some giveaways!

For more information about Shekinah Glory Writing Services, follow us on Facebook!

 

 

[image from Px.here]