Empty Pages & Empty Pens

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There is a fate worse than writer’s block. It’s empty pages–and having nothing to say.

It is this  feeling that everything is still. Everything is quiet. There is nothing in your imagination that is stirring. That stillness is disquieting.

Audre Lorde said that this time comes for all writers. This lull, this disquiet,  where the the words don’t come–when writing is like breathing she says. I make mention of this in my book, WriteLife. Click here to get a copy.

Writing is a demanding mistress, beloved.

To chase it with power and passion, there will come the still moments. The moments when touching the gift seems further than it ever was. You have to know this, prepare for this.

The duration for this is unique for every writer. For me, it came after a traumatic breakup. The lull was three years and more. It was only when I was in a healthy place again did the words return.

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I believe this is the secret fear all writers have. It’s different than the recovery you need, or give yourself after completing a book. It’s beyond writer’s block. It’s not a block at all–that’s just it. It’s a barrenness. Having everything and nothing. Having the desire to say–nothing. Yet, as a writer–you wanna say everything!

Madness.

I wish that I could tell you a tip or tool to get through this certain scary part of your writing career. Yet, I don’t.

What I will tell you is this, which is scary in itself:  embrace the lull.

That’s right–EMBRACE the lull. It will come. I don’t know any writer–whether they be a newbie, practicing amateur, indie author or a NYT Best Seller–whom hasn’t had a lull. They happen.

What you can do is enjoy the time you aren’t writing. Catch up on your sleep. Learn to garden. Take more walks. As a writer, you are called to record the world. This means every now and then you have to live, to develop, your life beyond creating the lives you create for the people in your head.

 

[images from Quotefancy and Google]

The Intangible: The Belief In You

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In all the encouragement you have found this month, the one thing you need to remember is this. There is no magic ingredient for success, no key, no secrets to tell. The only secret I can give you is to look in a mirror. You are the secret ingredient.

You are the key.

You are the magic.

You are it.

 

The rescue you want is in your reflection and fingertips. You are the intangible. You are the hero of this story. Always remember this.

As a writer, you will have bouts of self-doubt to the point of it crippling you. The doubt reaches into the innermost parts of you and sets every thing you know your talent can bring you on fire–and makes you watch.

Remember your why.

 

Only you know why you write, and you have all the power you need inside of yourself. Unless you believe you can write, you never will. Unless you believe you can write, and determine that you will write, there is no inspirational book or blog which can help you. There must be the inner belief that resonates, catches fire in order for you to continue on this grind. You can do it if you believe you can.

 

If you believe you can, you’re right.

If you believe you can’t, you’re right.

 

It’s a process. Everything you do towards your writing, if this is what you want, determines the width and breadth of what you demand of yourself. If you want to write, you’ll write. If you don’t, you won’t.

The crux is what do you want to do more:  quit or keep going?

 

 

[image from Google]

 

With All You Write: Learn More, Read More Than That

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Writers are readers.
I say it again:  writers are readers.

The most interesting thing about a writer, aside from their talent should be their libraries. Their reading lists; the recommendations they have; even book reviews. A good writer should always have a book they are reading, about to read or recommend you should be reading.

Reading is part of being a part of the world. It’s apart of observing the world. It’s a part of being a writer.

How else you can you see what your comrades in your genre are doing unless you read?

How else can you expand or flip what is seen as classic and tried unless you read?

When you’re bored and NETFLIX, HULU and YouTube no longer stimulate you (and you can no longer use that as an excuse not to write), it may do you well to take a book to relax–or further escape.

You should be reading just as much as you write. Audible and audiobooks count. You should still have a desire to read, still have favorite writers and genres!

Reading helps you to hone your craft!

 

Don’t trust a writer that doesn’t read.

A writer that doesn’t read is a writer you cannot discuss anything why their own talent with or the lack thereof. A writer that doesn’t read, that doesn’t see the need (or fun for that matter) to read is someone I can’t associate with.

A reading-writer is one that is serious about the craft and improving talent through the force or will and time. Reading feeds the imagination, fuels it. That fuel is needed to stretch you, giving width and breadth to what you command naturally.

Talent in one thing.

Gift is another.

Work fuels both.

Get to work.

 

 

[image from Google]

October Theme: Writing Horror

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The theme for October will be something some may find frighten everyone whom writes:  loss of the gift, or believing the gift or talent is gone.

This is going to a hard one, and it’s going to be a little more personal. We’re going to delve into some of the things that hinder, stop or halt writing.

I invite you all to chime in, be honest and transparent.

The only way to get through this type of fear is in community.

Buckle up, it’ll be a bumpy ride–be we’ll make it.

 

 

With Pen & Ink,

JBHarris

Believe The Blank Pages

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In on of the social media commercials for the Masterclass series of writing classes, James Patterson holds up a blank legal pad, flush with lined yellow paper, says “This is the enemy:  the blank page.”

I concur.

The blank pages are seducing, chaotic, frightening and all-consuming. There is something about a blank page that will either draw you in to the world you wish to create or push you out, tricking you out of your imagination. Empty pages, also, will draw you in, or they will make you curse them out!

There is no high like a blank page you slay with ink from your own hand.

There is no low like believing you can’t fill a line, or a page, thinking what is in your head is not worthy to come out–or may never come out.

However, I come to you to tell you this.

Believe the blank pages.

 

What this means is  just that; believe the blank pages are just what they are.

Blank. They are blank pages.

No more, no less.

The blank pages wait for you–not you for them.

You choose to fill them or not.

You choose to continue the story or to end it all.

 

You are the master of all these pages, all these pages wait for you…

 

Fear not. Blank pages die with ink and on pens…

Bend your blank pages.

 

[image from Google]

Webinars & In-Services

 

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The first Inside The Writing Lab Writing Workshop was held in August, and from that success the next sessions will be held quarterly. Here are the next few workshop dates (these dates are in-person event):

  • Saturday, November 17, 2018
  • Saturday, February 23, 2019
  • Saturday, May 25, 2019

 

The workshops will have a $25 registration fee, which will include a copy of Bend Blank Pages which can be purchased on Amazon. You can purchase your own copy here.

The workshop will be about two hours, and is a safe place to talk about writing, including drafts, brainstorming and any other writing reservations you may have. If you would like to register for the upcoming class/webinar, please email sgwritingservices@icloud.com, putting Writing Workshop in the subject line. The registration can be paid in advance to PayPal, using sgllc.1038@yahoo.com. Please leave your name, and if you will be bringing a guest. The meeting area can accommodate  20-25 people.

The webinar will be on this site or Teachable.

 

The workshops are a time of networking, brainstorming and above all, writing. I look forward to seeing you!

The Weapons Of Your Warring: Build Your Vocabulary!

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Writing is work. If you follow this space, you know this. You know that I pull no punches in regards to this craft. This post will be no different.

You only get better at writing, by writing. There is no quicker way, there is no secret, there are no ways to be a writer without writing. One of the ways your get better as a writer is to increase your tools. The essential tool every writer has is your vocabulary.

Build it.

Push it.

Develop it.

 

One of the quickest ways of increasing or strengthening your vocabulary is reading. Any word you come across–look it up! I know, I know. Very rudimentary, extremely low tech, but it works. That word, start to use in conversation. Know that it means, and write it down. The other way? Dictionary app.

The Dictionary App is on of the quickest ways to build your vocabulary! There is a option this app has where you can subscribe to The Word of The Day. Everyday, you can learn a new word, or even look up the etymology of words–especially helpful for expanding your vocabulary horizontally.

Case in point. Let’s take the word witch. The archaic word for witch is beldam. This word, beldam, is also a word for an old woman or a hag–hag is another word for witch. See how that works?

Good writers are good readers. Good writers have an arsenal of words to build words and create.

Don’t fear it–build it.

 

Happy Writing.

Words, Wisdom & Writers: You Are A Life-long Learner

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So,  you want to be a writer?

Awesome!  Let me be first to welcome you to the guild.

You are now a part of the body of artists that keep strange hours, weirder company, and have a sense of time, place and season out of step with the world.

This is a good thing. I promise you.

In this the ninth of twelve months, I must take it upon myself to remind you to write. One of the ways you become a better writer, a stronger writer is by doing.

There is no other way to become a writer aside from writing! There will be no other way to be a better writer other than writing!

The secret weapon not seen or shared among other writers is this: lifelong learning.

Writers are readers.

Writers are learners.

 

Whether it is learning a new vernacular English, such as AAVE, as a writer, you must embrace the fact that you will remain, a lifelong learner. A student of the world, and perhaps the world behind it.

Do no shy away from this!

 

In shying away from it, you limit the power of current and future work! You limit your potential in and to your writing! As a writer, being challenged is never a bad thing–and comfort can stifle.

You agitate the gift by working it.

Work the gift, dear ones.

Work them and unwrap them.

 

[image from Google]

Writers’ Self-Doubt: Part 2

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Self-doubt can be a sumo wrestler that sits on your chest and yells in your face. It tells you that you can’t write, who are you to be a writer, who would even what to read your work and what you create? It’s not work.

Self-doubt is the roommate that won’t move out, and will never seem to get off  your back about dishes or laundry and eats the good leftovers you asked them not to.

But there is a way for you to make it better, to make it move. And it will never not involve work, or belief in yourself or writing. There is no other way.

Write.

Rewrite.

Read.

Believe in every word.

Self-doubt can ever motivate or cripple your ability to create. This sumo wrestler will taunt you and tease you until you collapse on the floor. Once you are on the floor, it’ll sit on you to make sure every portion of your that is writer and creative is dead. It will make sure that you won’t do anything your mind has already seen.

                                           

Push off the sumo wrestler.

In becoming a writer, in writing, you must be able to contend with sumo wrestlers whom become inner demons hellbent on never letting your write another word–and the only way to shut them up is to write, and keep writing. Your talent and your own ability must sync together to form an army—there is no other way to shut the hoards that oppose you.

Today, at your reading of this, you have the power to shut up the wrestler sitting on your chest, pining you to the floor telling you not just that you cannot, but you will not.

That story on your desktop or in the drawer? Read it again.

That idea you have been rolling around, and scared to write down?  Write it down.

That person in your life, intimate partner or casual acquaintance, whom tells you being a writer is a pipe dream? You must decide what voice, what desire will carry more weight–your desire to write or the desire to please someone else whom does not value what is important to you.

Rage against the dying of the light–don’t let the sumo wrestlers and inner demons kill the words.

FIGHT.

WRITE.

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

Writers’ Self-Doubt- Part 1

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You are never so open as when you are being creative.

There is something of a more wily  enemy writers fear or confront aside from writer’s block. It is the monster of self-doubt. There is a source one accesses, even taps into, when you take the idea you are rolling around your head and convert all those thoughts to a document for someone else to read. In this area where you are most powerful, you are exponentially more vulnerable. Here is where the war begins.

You must get what is in your head–out. This is all writing is, boiled down to base component. All the words you know, all the words you were taught, all the dialects and experiences–writing allows you to get all these things from head to hand.

Self-doubt as a writer is the roommate that doesn’t pay rent, wrecks parties, and says inappropriate things in front of your friends. Self-doubt is the bastard son of all creativity.  And the more you feed it, the larger it gets–an the more unmanageable it becomes.

Self-doubt is a permanent roommate for every writer or creative person. As soon as you accept this, and realize this, the faster you can put your earplugs in when they play loud music late at night.

The easiest why to shut up self-doubt is to do the very thing you are afraid to do:  write. Write scared. Write when you’re frustrated. Write when you’re mad. Write when you’re happy. But write.

The more you write, the faster self-doubt loses weight, the quieter its voice gets, and the doubt is replaced by confidence.

That self-doubt may never go away, but you can always shut it up.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services