Am I published anywhere? Amazon. Some books are in Booksamillion and in tons of libraries.
Mark your calendars!
From the success of the Fall 2018 Writing Workshop, there are two workshops planned for the early part of 2019! The first will be in January! The second in late April. will be a Spring session planned for January 2019! The cost for registration is $25, and will cover the cost of your materials, as well as a copy of the book Bend Blank Pages, Volume 1.
Payment must be remitted before January 10th, as the January workshop will be January 12.
The venue accommodates 30 people comfortably. You can register for the workshop by emailing your name to email@example.com, as well as through Eventbrite by clicking here.
There will be some surprises as well as some giveaways!
For more information about Shekinah Glory Writing Services, follow us on Facebook!
[image from Px.here]
(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.
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]
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.
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.
I won’t lie to you…writing is hard.
Writing can make you question your sanity, any talent and your grasp of any language!
However, I implore you to remember why you do what you do, and how well you do it. This is what I call, ‘The Why’.
Among all the noise, distractions and deterrents on the planet, only you know why it is you do what you do. Only you know why you write. Remember that, above all else, no matter how great or small the project, remember The Why. Moreover, remember your why.
The Why is powered by a great many things, from a great many resources. Remember what it is that has pushed to you to create. What drives you to language? What inspires you? What have you started which you are consumed or driven to finish?
Only you can determine this.
Nikki Giovanni says you know you’re a writer because you keep writing. Toni Morrison said the reason she wrote, and finished, The Bluest Eye was because she wanted to read it. Ernest Hemingway said to write is pretty easy: just sit at a typewriter and bleed.
If you have not found The Why or Your Why, don’t fret. You have time. This concept is two-fold:
- This is the overall motivation for any writer. This is the drive, the force, the fuel that allow us to create, and conquer realms of creativity. This is the force which compels you to declare you are a writer.
- This is or can be any specific motivation for a project or story. This can have varying degrees and depth. This may be the motivation to finish a work, a poem or a even a novel.
The Why or Your Why are portions of your tool kits also! Don’t be afraid to examine them. Don’t be afraid to examine the motivation of why it is you do what you do as you do.
Be confident. The first reader of every work is you–The Why can only, will only help you achieve and do better.
Jennifer P. Harris
Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services
[Image from Google]
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?
Ignore this screaming ideas in your head?
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]
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.
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]
According to the Second Oxford dictionary, there are 171, 476 words in the English language. Those words are made up of only 26 letters. It is, will be, the desire to manipulate these letters–bending them to will and imagination, this is the game, beloveds. This is the challenge, this is the game, this is the discipline.
In committing to writing, the manipulating the world with words and letters, it cannot be overstated that the focus writing involves is unlike anything else. In sitting down with paper, pen or computer, you agree to allow your imagination to unfold and flow until its cessation. Until its cessation. There is a laser-like need had be writers to know how it all ends. To know what the characters, the line, the scene–the words–we have to know what it all means, how it will sound and how to bend it towards our will.
Writing, the curious alchemy, is a muscle. In developing this muscle, or any muscle, requires time and focus. The strength of that muscle, even its stamina, comes from its use. Maya Angelou said that you can’t use up creativity! However, no talent is strengthened or stretched without discipline–that enhanced focus to improving a situation or circumstance.
Honor this talent you have, this propensity to create worlds and their inhabitants! Embrace the journey writing offers you, what the talent gives back to you, and how far you may stretch out in it. Don’t fear the page, or idea.
Here are three tips to help:
Make it. Create it. Make use of it. Writers are bound and unbound by it. There must be a time you take daily to write, work on writing, or exercise that same imagination. Writers are creators and creatures of habit–and for that reason, there is never enough time.
There is a soothing in hewing out a place in your own space dedicated to what you love to do. Whether that be your bed, floor desk or couch. Stephen King recommends doing the same thing in On Writing. In King’s wisdom, when you cultivate the space, you are more apt to create more, or desire to create.
There is a power which happens to you when you know the writing is good, when you know you have wielded the wind with the alphabet. The more that comes from you, the more which will come out of you. Some writers and other mystics call it the flow. This creative energy that is palpable and able to be harnessed to unfurl all your imagination holds! Don’t fear that…embrace it, use it.
Discipline is not a curse word. It’s firepower!
Jennifer P. Harris
Editor/Founder–Shekinah Glory Writing Services
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