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?

 

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Submit Or Not To Submit: Do You Dare?

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There is something to be said about writing, and then letting other people read that same writing.  This brings me to the subject of submitting your work.

Hold on. Let me get the smelling salts.

Get off the floor.

Remember, I’m hear to help.

Writing is a great hobby, and is also a competitive sport. The idea of sending off a thought to someone else to get validation (or publication) is horrifying. It’s horrifying thinking someone can read what you have researched, conjured and written–and with a blink call it nothing.

There is so much that goes into writing that submission seems like that last thing on your mind. It seems the scariest thing is to let someone else read your work! However, let me help you again.

Two things:

1.) Writing is a craft, art and a profession.

2.) On some level, all writing is subjective.

 

This means there is an  audience for your work, and you have to find it. And if there is n audience, they deserve to read it. They deserve to read your genius, your suspicions and your recorded joys. Someone wants to see it. What you must confront is why you won’t let anyone to read what you’ve created.

There are things you may be working on that no one may ever see. There may be things you are working on where you may just need the confidence to allow it to be seen. Writers can be some of the biggest control freaks on the planet! We want everything to be perfect. From grammar. To syntax. To content. Asking a writer to submit something?

Man. From writer to writer? It’s hard.

It’s hard enough to be a writer. Having a writer give glimpses to their work? Monumental. It doesn’t make you less of a writer if you don’t submit your work. It doesn’t make you an elitist as a writer to have your work submitted and published!

There is no grand moral. No shaming. No swift kick in your writer’s butt.  I leave you with encouragement. Keep writing, dear ones. The first audience is you, the next is the world.

 

[image from Google]

 

 

When The Words Stop Coming

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There was a three year span by which I did not, could not write. Aside from childbirth, it was a the scariest thing I have encountered. The words just wouldn’t come. The magic was gone, the words where gone, my talent was gone. I was inconsolable! It was only when I came out of that space, when I could really talk about it with some knowledge.

Being a writer, and unable to write–was maddening. It was infuriating. There was, there is a rage that rose up in me like hellfire–quick and hot. On the end of a horrible breakup, it was just one more thing to add to the list of things he took (or I allowed him to take) from me.

In that three year dessert, nothing happened. I pressed the gift, I teased at it, I cried at the lost of it. I had not wanted something so badly to return to me. Writing, being a writer was my identity, it was something that I considered my own. In this desert, in this Ezekiel space, I couldn’t say the dry bones were or could live, because I didn’t know how I could live! In the lives of writers, words are our blood–it’s a part of who I am.

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There were moments when I saw peeks of the talent I once had. My mother had and would ask me to write or create certain pieces for work, family or friends, but it was nothing like the creative power I knew that I housed. Nothing is more offensive or rage-inducing to writers. I was beyond hurt–worse than the heartbreak that induced the loss of talent in the first place.

I remember I didn’t even journal because I didn’t see the point. I didn’t see the point! I was out of words. I didn’t have the stamina to make up worlds of my own, and I surely didn’t want to record the foolish my own world. However, when people know you can write, they don’t know the struggle you encounter while maintaining that gift–that talent. In their blissful ignorance, they pull on your gift–because they need it.

Writer’s block is real, beloveds. That desert awaits all those whom are writers and authors. It is unavoidable, and only preventable on certain levels. But it is not insurmountable! However, to overcome it is a process. It is always a process. There are whole website dedicated to overcoming writer’s block, and one of the most reputable is Writer’s Digest . Like most craftsmen, whom are serious about what they build, invest in their tools. They build a tool box that will be able handle the potential issues in what is being built. Being a writer is no different.

Build your tool kit.

 

The kit needs to be able to help you with develop your talent, and to help with the eventuality of writer’s block. Tool boxes are supposed to be filled with things you will use, and will be able to use in order to refer. It is better to be proactive, than reactive in these cases. Don’t be caught in the desert, and your canteen is empty because you never took time to fill it when the streams where nearby. The desert is coming–don’t be caught thirsty.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services

Is A Writer A Blogger?

“You know you are a writer because you are always writing.”

-Nikki Giovanni

Twenty-six letters change the world!

Writers are a unique group of people. We make stuff up and tell people to believe in the awesome of it. With that ability to master less than thirty letters, we can finesse into any space to make it our own–including blogging!

Do all writers blog? No.

Are all bloggers writers? No.

Are all writers bloggers? No.

I considering blogging my exercise. It keeps the skills sharp. It keeps me on my toes and makes me aware of what is going on in the world around me, and forces me to be concise about it. It forces me to expound and think outside the box–even those I set for myself.

Writers are the misfits of the artistic field in this way. We can fit in anywhere! Writers make inroads where there were only thickets. Writers don’t need to blog to prove that they write–we just need to write! It doesn’t make you any less of a writer if you don’t have a place in the internet that has a catchy title or name or mantra!

IF YOU ARE A WRITER, YOU JUST NEED TO WRITE!

So…write! Blogging may not be your speed, but poetry just may be! If not poetry, maybe short stories.  You are a writer! You make your own path and your own artistic way in the way in the world. Blogging isn’t the pre-requisite to being a writer. Being a writer doesn’t mean you should be or are someone that blogs.

The ability to be blogger, to blog, is just that. You as the writer of said corner of the internet, wield all dominion and power over that digital realm. You can make it funny, informative, somber, or zany. You make the space what you desire. YOU are the captain of this ship!

Is a writer a blogger? If they wanna be.

Being a writer is a superpower. Go and wield your weapons, dear one. Don’t be defined by genre or the blogsphere. The talent, the gift, is yours.

Ready! Aim! Write!

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services

 

 

In The Beginning

There is an anxiety that will always come when you begin a new writing project. There is this trepidation that will come as you begin to hatch the plan to put thought to word to screen or paper.

Don’t fear these moments of creativity, embrace them. If you still have anxiety over putting thought to word to paper, try these steps:

1.) Don’t rush the idea. There are certain stories and concepts you don’t need to jump head first into. Researching helps with this type of anxiety about a topic you desire to write about. Certain topics require you have a working knowledge of the topic you desire to write about, or the story you desire to write.

2.)  Utilize Social Media. In the world of becoming a writer, deciding to write, there can be this creative loneliness where you feel no one is or could be experiencing the same thing you are.  Join a writer’s group or a writing group. Find one of your favorite writers on Facebook or Twitter and follow them. On Twitter, I follow the amazing Tananarive Due and on Facebook I am one of ‘the people of the page’ for Anne Rice. Sometimes they will even answer questions you as a fan/potential writer even pose! The writers’ groups are places of comfort and idea exchange. Tips are exchanged and networking happens. Use all your resources available to you.

3.) Don’t Be Scared To Make It Up. I got this piece of advice from Tananarive Due (again, see step #2!)! I asked her about creating a backstory for a story, and the backstory not found in research. She told me if there a myth that I needed, to literally make it up! When she said this to me, I was amazed! I hadn’t thought about what it would mean to make up what I needed–when my job as a writer is to make things up! This is one of the reasons as a writer is it is imperative you be an avid reader, and be comfortable in being a better reader than you are a writer.

4.) Break The Boxes Open. There are so many things you as a writer can do, so many stories to write, don’t be afraid if you have an idea to cross over. If you do horror, and have an idea for a romance novel? Write it! If you do romance, and have an idea for a sci-fi saga? Write it! Don’t be afraid to stretch out! It’s your talent, your time, your imagination. Use it!

5.)Embrace The Process! Writing is hard. Let no one tell you different. It can feel impossible, and for the intimidation of creation, you can freeze! Don’t fear the process! Free write the idea, see how it sounds, and work from idea to free write to draft. You can do it. If you get stuck, and you think you need to start over? Start over. The only rules in writing are the ones you create. There is a roux to it which is in order to be a writer:  you gotta write. You. Have. To. Write.

Be encouraged, dear one. You can do it. So do it.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services