What Is A Beta Reader?

According to Wikipedia:

A beta reader is usually an unpaid test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing, who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author.

Note: A beta reader is not a professional and can therefore provide advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader.

Let me make this clear, to publish or become published, you don’t need to have a beta reader.

Let me also make this clear: beta readers are a tool and Shekinah Glory Writing Services is a fan of beta readers!

Beta readers are a great, living addition to your writing tool kit. They can give honest opinions and observations about what you’ve written. They can be just as passionate about your characters as you are. They can ask questions of you to pull out more story–sometimes parts you didn’t think about!

Beta readers are the unsung heroes of revising and drafting! Don’t believe me? Ask Stephen King. It was his wife, Tabitha, that rescued a novel from the trash because she liked what she read! That novel was Carrie.

Keep writing dear ones!

From The Crates

LEAVING:

(c) October 2015 JPHarris

The voices are aging. The forebarers that lit the path through the igniting of thought are leaving towards the same light that sent them.

In contemplation, I find myself going to these people: my mother Bessie Bush, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. It was my mother whom introduced me to the worlds books hold, and the solace they provide. In my darkest moments, she would ask me, “Are you still writing?” I would answer her as my situation dictated. I recognize there will be a day where I will no longer have benefit of her voice on the other end of a phone. Despite past contention, she has been graced to be my mother. I will need her until the Lord will need her Home. I thank her for being my mother when it would be easier not to be.

Anyone that knows me understands my love for the other 2 aforementioned women. With the nation losing our grandmother Oracle in Maya, I grappled with that sense of loss-I have enjoyed her work since age 9 when my mother gave me her copy of I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS. All we, yes we, have left of her, is what she left: her letter and voice.

Toni Morrison is 84. The same age as my grandmother whom would be 86 this year. I found Toni Morrison in high school and was rapt with her tone and description of anything. I knew then, this gift of words and being a writer, was indeed a craft. Indeed a craft. There will too be a day where the world will only have her letter…and voice.

The Word of God says “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” In this space, I commit these intangibles back to Him seeing as He is the giver of all good gifts. In that process, in the beginning of the becoming and faith in its end, I believe a portion of my legacy will be left to treasure in letter and voice.

See mom, I am still writing.

When The Paper Is Empty

Think of writing as an ocean, ebbing and flowing. There are times where there is a lull in writing. There is a time where the words aren’t coming or won’t come.

The paper or screen lays there like a blank, whitewashed catacomb. It is the scariest thing to a writer. It’s not writer’s block. It’s a quiet, the lull…the ocean moving away from the shore.

The ocean is your talent, gift, the ability to create with pen and paper. The shore is the connection of idea, talent and availability. Creativity flows in cycles be seasons. There are times when the flow is seamless and writing is easy.

The tidal waves are what I live for! The ideas that flow and crash. The ideas that come out of nowhere and everywhere! There is the calm, soothing waves after you finish a work.

But the lulls? As hard as that is, they are scary and quiet. They are these desolate places where you try and push back to the shore. And if enough time has passed, you look for the shore. You look for anything that has life to it or shows life on that shore.

The scarier part still, during this lull, you think you may never get back to it.

Fight the lulls! You do that with rest, time and learning to swim, as it were. Not everything is a novel, or a blog post. Some things are just meant to be noted. Recorded. What you catch during the lulls crafts your ship, which will always take you back to shore.

Sometimes, you have to tread water…even in the ocean. What you catch will keep you afloat.

[Image screenshot from YouTube Channel, BioGraphics]

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

When Am I A Writer?

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I discovered I was a writer when I was about eight years old. I was in third grade, and my teacher told me I was “good at this” after she read the short story I wrote and left on her desk. Whatever this it was about, I was good at it!

The process in admitting you are a writer is intimate. It is a process of discovery, humility and frank honesty. It may not be as linear as you would hope, and the career may not begin as quickly as you may like, however, it is not impossible.

Simply put, you are a writer, when you can admit that you are. You are a writer when  you can honor what talents and drive you have which mark you as being a writer. These intangible things, are such which make you being to wonder if you are indeed a writer.

What is the process of that discovery? Beloveds, there is no map. There are only paths from those whom haven cut and blazed before you. If pressed, here are a few thoughts to encourage as your venture towards this identity, this career as a writer.

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1.) Be mindful of your pens. What do you find yourself wondering about most? When you wonder, do you roll ideas around which will stretch your imagination? In those moments, do you feel compelled to write anything or everything down? Do you  save it or toss it?

2.) Mind the clock. There are certain things writers do, we can lose all track of time when we do them. One is read, the other is writing. What do you find yourself most idly doing?  And are you happy doing that?

3.) Be A Fan. Who is your favorite writer/author? With the creation of Amazon, hundreds of authors are available. Any genre, multiple titles and plentiful! There are publications dedicated to the nurturing of future writers, like Writers Digest, where authors are featured in candid formats including  interviews! Writing can be a lonely profession, and it is great to know the process of the becoming a writer is not an anomaly. And there are so many paths that take you towards this goal.

Even though the path is not a cookie cutter (neither should it be!), there are still maps. Anne Rice this in regards to writing:  “Writing is the only profession you can start at any time.” It is never too late to do what you love–to do what you believe you were good at.

It’s not too late to be you.

 

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services