Why Writers Need Homework

Image result for homework piles

The imagination of a writer is a marvelous thing. It can be freeing, nonrestrictive and provide seducing conversation. Yet, as a writer, you must understand that you have to feed it.

What do I mean?

Well, the adage is that writers should always be reading. There should be an a book that you are reading, would like to read, and of course have a TBR list. Reading allows you to critique, critically think, and check out the competition. A writer needs homework. The greater thing? Unlike when you were in school, you get to pick the amount of homework.

If you like horror, you should be reading it.

If fantasy and romance are your jam, you should be reading it.

If you like sci-fi, it’s not enough to watch SyFy.

Reading is the simplest way to fuel your imagination. To stretch it! Find new things that you like. Find out what else you could branch out to and towards. What challenges you? What inspires you? Or, what genre or topic do you escape with.

Being a writer means you will have homework forever. This is not an exaggeration. This is the blessing and the curse of being a writer. There may always be a portion of you that is intrigued by something said, overheard or read. From that, the gears of your imagination may turn–even without your conscious knowledge. Don’t fear that. The homework is what you make it. The homework is to strengthen, to encourage and remind of you of this:

If you are a writer, you have to write.

Ergo, you need something to write about.

Do you homework, my scribes, poets and oracles. Do your homework.

[image from pcthandbook.com]

The Value Of Book Knowledge

Writers are readers!

There are things in your imagination that sometimes need verification.

What do I mean?

That means that for all your imagination can fuel, if there are certain things which are based in reality—you’re going to need information.

The goal of any story is to have your reader keep reading! The ultimate test of any story is cohesion–even with fiction.

Research is the homework writers must do–have to do–for their writing careers. There is no way around it! The bulk of the work is and will remain powered by your imagination. Research is the rocket fuel to that. It is the foundation that allows your imagination to leapfrog or even recreate it as you see fit.

Consider research to be your stepping stone, or your rocket booster. However, I consider research my mental exercise. It gives me a starting and finishing point to anything I may do. It gives me parameters or borders to challenge.

Research can be annoying and cumbersome, but remember why you’re doing it. Your characters may need to know what you do. Or you may have to now how to rescue them from some predicament.

You’re building a world. Research helps it to all hold together. Do your homework. There are people waiting and depending on it.

[image from oregoncenterfornursing.org]

Announcements & Encouragements

I have been a strong believer in the power of ink and paper.

And for that cause, twice a week I will be doing an Encouragement Page. These pages will be posted here with a corresponding link, to the video. And of course on the official Facebook page. Follow that space by clicking here.

These pages will be handwritten, and meant to be a support on your writing journey! You will be able to share these video and save them. Posting days for these pages will be Mondays and Thursdays.

Every writer needs a tribe, and encouragement to keep going. Consider this your oasis in your writing journey.

You can do it!

Bend The Pages.

-JBHarris

Encouragement From The Crates

Things I Ponder:

(c)JPHarris, 2014

One of the most upsetting things to encounter for those gifted to be scribes/writers is to be silent. It is dangerous for a writer to be silent. It is dangerous for our pens to be still, screens blank, skills dulled to the point of collapse. Our eyes seeing with no faith to believe for change, no words to create to draw attention. Words which have power to stir thoughts to instill or stimulate change. It is the artistry of imagination where possibility is created, exposed and changed. Writers are misfits. We see the unseen, name the unknown and touch what is hidden. Yet, these things must be seen and said. The atrophy of time must be rebelled against. We must race against the light given to us, race against it. We cannot curl up with the words, the word inside us. The unsaid, the unwritten must still be said…even in dreams.

[image from Kai Ellis, all rights reserved.]

Beta Readers: Pros & Cons (Part II-PROS)

There is something so amazing about sharing your work with people excited to read it!

It is a testament to the WIP (Work In Progress) that those whom you have asked to read you work are just as passionate about what you are creating as you are! The people whom are willing to look over typos, incomplete sentences or even lopsided plots (and their holes) and see the potential (and potential greatness) in what you’re creating!

Beta Readers are the frosting on the WIP cake! They make it better, sweeter and help to bring everything together. When your Beta Readers are engaged; when they communicate with you; when they get swept up in a world you’ve created? This is the very best thing.

Beta Readers offer you first hand reaction to your story! The scary part of any WIP is the actual draft, but to have someone willing and engaged enough to read it? Including the revisions? This is a high compliment and encouragement.

Think of Beta Readers as sous chefs. They help to get and pull everything together. Their help and input help to shape the document, making it perfect for the rest of the world.

Do not shun the extra eyes, dear ones. Don’t negate the power of those whom are willing to review your work and invest in it! Beta readers are needed! Seek them out and use them!

The work awaits!

Beta Readers: Pros & Cons (Part I-CONS)

As great, and as much as I sing the praises of Beta Readers, they do have a downside.

Beta Readers are the best weapon you can have for a new work especially when they read and get back to you. Beta Readers are the best when they read your work and get back to you. The crucial thing to remember is that communication is essential to any draft or revision.

If you give your baby that your carried for almost a year, and turn them over to someone your trust, only to have them tell you they have nothing else to tell you? Even after they have been with your child all day? You would be a little suspicious and a lot aggravated. You would think the horrible and the impossible all at once! The main thing you may think is:

“Did they even pay attention?”

The same with Beta Readers. The best Beta Readers are engaged, they are excited to read your work, give feedback and even criticism! As the writer, as the creator of any work, your primary job is to protect your work. Your job is to revise and finish your own work.

Think of a WIP (Work In Progress) as baking a cake. All the ingredients go into the batter:  milk, sugar, butter and flour. There are elemental things that go into it which are not to be disputed. A WIP requires imagination, time, a draft and a reader. These things are immutable.

One of the best metaphors I heard in regards to having an editor or another reader was:  “Would you do you own eye surgery?”

If you’re a rational, wise person, you wouldn’t. This means that you can’t always see what is the best thing to do! But this element of the draft process can only work if the readers do their jobs!

Beta Readers have to be engaged. They have to value your time, your intention and you work. If they cannot do that, if they will not do that, don’t trust them with your work.

You wouldn’t trust your baby with just anyone. A WIP is the same way! Don’t trust your baby to someone that can’t won’t talk to you. Those are the ones whom are most likely to take your work. Be ware. You’ve been warned.

Spring 2019-Writing Workshop

The second writer’s workshop is in the next 2 weeks!

The purpose of these workshops is to assist budding and aspiring writers with with manuscripts, ideas or works in progress! For 2 hours, there will be advice dispensed, questions answered as well as resources given!

I am excited for what this second workshop will bring and the work to be created from it!

Pushing writers is what I do, and this platform is one more way to do that!

Best,

JBHarris

The Ears And Eyes: Why You Should Consider A Beta Reader

I love to call beta readers personal superheroes.

Beta readers are the those special group of people whom are anxious to read your work, with no other motivation than to read. It is glorious!

As a writer, beta readers can become your allies and secret weapons! Don’t discount them! They can be the difference between a wonderful revision or a barely tolerable rough draft.

As a writer,  it is easy to think (and believe) that the only person whom needs to read your work is you. It is easy to think that drafts, freewrites only need to be seen by your eyes.

This is a two-edged sword.

On one hand:  there are certain projects you may not want to be seen or read yet. They may not be ready, complete or even read over (Every writer is guilty of drafts that we forget are there!).

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 Editor’s Desk: Why You Need A Beta Reader

There is nothing wrong with having honest feedback.

There is nothing wrong with having someone else look at your work with the sole purpose of feedback.

Beta Readers are the secret weapon in any writers’ tool kit. This army of your own enlisting help you to weed out what works, what’s boring and what you need more of. The best analogy I can give comes from a process my grandmother did while baking.

When she would bake cakes or pies, she would make what she called a test cake. When she would do this, she would like a few taste the cake. The purpose of the process was to figure out if the cake needed anything added or taken away: more sugar, less vanilla, don’t cook it so long.

It was the feedback coupled with her expertise made what she created all the greater!

The same is said for beta readers! These people are the secret ingredient to what you need to make your work–before the prices of editing!–as reader desirable as it can be.

A good rule of thumb is after a draft is complete is have a small group of readers (friends, family, classmates) to look over your work purely for feedback! You can do the mechanics and other clean up later.

As Nora Roberts said, “You can’t edit a blank page.”

[images from guardian.ng and findbetareaders.com]