Remember The Why

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I won’t lie to you…writing is hard.

Writing can make you question your sanity, any talent and your grasp of any language!

However, I implore you to remember why you do what you do, and how well you do it. This is what I call, ‘The Why’.

Among all the noise, distractions and deterrents on the planet, only you know why it is you do what you do. Only you know why you write. Remember that, above all else, no matter how great or small the project, remember The Why. Moreover, remember your why.

The Why is powered by a great many things, from a great many resources. Remember what it is that has pushed to you to create. What drives you to language? What inspires you? What have you started which you are consumed or driven to finish?

Only you can determine this.

Nikki Giovanni says you know you’re a writer because you keep writing. Toni Morrison said the reason she wrote, and finished, The Bluest Eye was because she wanted to read it. Ernest Hemingway said to write is pretty easy:  just sit at a typewriter and bleed.

If you have not found The Why or Your Why, don’t fret. You have time. This concept is two-fold:

 

The Why

  • This is the overall motivation for any writer. This is the drive, the force, the fuel that allow us to create, and conquer realms of creativity. This is the force which compels you to declare you are a writer.

 

Your Why

  • This is or can be any specific motivation for a project or story. This can have varying degrees and depth. This may be the motivation to finish a work, a poem or a even a novel.

 

The Why or Your Why are portions of your tool kits also! Don’t be afraid to examine them. Don’t be afraid to examine the motivation of why it is you do what you do as you do.

Be confident. The first reader of every work is you–The Why can only, will only help you achieve and do better.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

 

[Image from Google]

Silent Murder: Why You Must Kill Your Darlings

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In Stephen King’s book, On Writing*, he makes mention of a secret tool of writing a novel–the tool was actually given by his wife, Tabitha. I believe that he was writing  his book Desperation. With Tabitha being his sounding board and beta reader, she made mention of a part of the story she wasn’t really concerned about because it took away from the main story. Stephen King calls this, ‘murder your darlings.’

The darling of a story is something of a side quest. The darling is something of the story that you add, it could be history, backstory or even perspective, which can almost take over a story–leading your reader down a path the original story was never supposed to have.

This happens often, more often than you may believe! However, as a writer, you must be ruthless when it comes to telling your story. It is you who guides the reader down the path you want them on. The darling of the story, unless you want to make this an object of a story later, you will have to kill–for the sake of the story.

In killing this darling, remember these keys:

  • Keep in mind the story you are writing (Genre, especially)
  • Plot (What is going on and where is everyone going?)
  • Conclusion (Where are we ending up?)

Remember, you are in control of the written worlds you create. In crafting a story, you must understand that it is you whom dictates the sway of your reader. Tell us where to go, what to do and where to go next. If all else fails, write a trilogy.

Happy writing!

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

*-On Writing is a book written by Stephen King in 1999. I rarely throw my entire weight behind a book, but this is one of those books. As a writer, this book is a reference material in my career, and an anchor as I continue writing. In writing, it is often lonely and frustrating–this book is a beautiful reminder of that; as well as the awesomeness being a writer holds.

[image from Google/Pintrest]

The Stutter: What Happens When the Words Don’t Sound Right?

There is a madness in writing that is not found in any other profession.

The profession by nature is madness! You take what is in your head, a thing unseen or unknown to other people, and translate it to words. This at times, in the effort of being honest, is hard.

It’s hard because thoughts are fluid, they are invisible, they exist only in the mind of the person that has them. Which is made crazier when you have to make these thoughts relevant to other people–who aren’t or will never be in your head.

What’s to do, right?

Give up?

Ignore this screaming ideas in your head?

No.

Write them down. Let the thoughts out. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense to you at present. Don’t worry about syntax, spelling and cohesion just yet.

The goal in times like this is to release the thought into words. This is how you overcome what I like to call the stutter.

The Stutter is what every writer experiences one time or another. It’s the feeling that doesn’t let what is in your head get to your hand. It’s not a crisis of confidence, it’s translating.

The cure? Writing!

You cure the stutter by writing! You free write, you write drafts, you edit, but by no means do you surrender to the stutter. You take it hostage and make the stutter into story. You write it into submission!

Go forth and write…no more stuttering!

[image from Google]

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

[Image from Google]

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]