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]

 

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]

The Fear Of Revision

 

The scariest thing sometimes is to create a story. The next scariest thing is to decide to revise something you may have had to push through to finish. The thing which hinders writers to revise is anxiety. Namely, the dynamic duo of fear and doubt.

The fear tells the writer, “How can you do it?” Doubt says, “I don’t think I can, I don’t see how I can, and I can’t. I can’t. I can’t!” These voices will always haunt writers. We coexist with fear and doubt. From idea conception to publishing, we wax and wane between the highs and lows brought about through, by creativity.

In conquering these bickering, quibbling voices, try these steps:

1.) Be forgiving of yourself.

Writing is hard! Let no one tell you different.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is to forgive yourself for doubting the quality of your work, or leaving a work or draft believing it is not worth rewriting. Audre Lorde notes there are times that writers don’t in fact write! And indeed this is heartbreaking. However, in forgiving  yourself, you allow the gift, the talent to return without hindrance.

2.)  Be honest.

What are you writing to write?

What are you trying to say?

Don’t think about what other people will think when they read it, you must first write the book you want to read. From there, you are able, will be able to write and revise as you desire.

3.) Be consistent.

We know that scheduling writing time can be a thing of miracles. However, if you desire to finish or revise a work, you will have to push through doubt by way of discipline and consistency.

If you set out to make Wednesdays your revision/writing days? Do that. Let nothing hinder you from that work, and developing that discipline.

Discipline helps to silence doubt, and stifle fear. It proves to your talent and giftings they are under control, subject to your demand, and are subject to exercising.  You can write because you can write.

 

4.) Be confident.

This is your story. You are its writer. These people, these worlds you create, are subject to your control and the limited only by your imagination. Write as if know one is looking. The only one who is will be you. So give your audience something to see.

 

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services

Second Looks

Pick up the pen, dear one.

Pick up the manuscript, the draft–no matter what it is, pick it up. There is magic written by you, that is worthy of a second look.

There is something to be said for writing a draft, and the completion of the writing of that draft. Writing is a process, much like a birth! The energy put towards something you create comes from a deeper level than people realize. The conceptualizing, the creative, real-time changes, and putting passion to vernacular is hard. Sometimes with that creative toughness, it is imperative you take a second and look at what you have written.

Sometimes it is hard to look at something you created to try and make it better, to revise it, or even have someone else put eyes on it. However, respect the artist inside of you. Respect the craft you participate in. Respect your time, your effort and your imagination! Your talents are not wasted or to no avail.

A little time is necessary after you finish creating a written work. I call it breathing time. You need this as an artist! Use that time to think about what is  you created, and what you want to create. Breathing time is where you can reflect, revamp and refuel. It is in this time where your revision ideas come, and the energy to revise comes. Don’t fear that quiet. Don’t fear having to put a work away in order to come back to it.

Dust the work off, it is yours afterall. See what you have, read it with new eyes. The glorious thing about writing is what you think is trash when completed, with rest and rejuvenation, you can see the treasure hidden there.

The best thing? You put the treasure there.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services