Encouragement Pages-06/16/2021–Reconciling The Writer (2/3)

Reconciling the Writer continues.

The question: If you are afraid, what are you afraid to say?

This is important because if you cannot pinpoint what you are afraid of, then it will be come a fear. It will muzzle you and stymie you!

A stymied writer is a writer whom isn’t writing.

These things are not to be taken lightly, and have to be confronted for the strengthening of your talent.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

BOOK IN A YEAR SERIES-MONTH 6: The Power Of A Draft

“It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be written.” -JBHarris

What I think is so disheartening about the writing process is that it can feel so daunting! What you have in your head and what may come out of it doesn’t always look the most polished, sane or pretty.

But that is the point of a rough draft–it’s rough! It’s not meant to be clean. It is meant to be written. Think of it as going through a forest with a machete. Your job is to cut a path. And keep cutting the path towards the other side of the forest–by any means necessary.

Remember that the most crucial thing is to get what you have what is in your head out of it.

No more. No less.

The most important thing about a draft is that once it is written–it can be changed! It can be lengthened, shortened and made a series with the right motivations. In essence, this is the poignant thing to remember when beginning a draft–fiction or non-fiction!

I know it’s messy. I know it is scary. I know it feels impossible, soul-crushing and challenges your imagination–but write anyway. The next step is the revision. This is where Neil Gaiman says where you look like you knew what you were doing the whole time.

BOOK IN A YEAR SERIES-MONTH 6: The Power Of A Draft

“All first drafts are sh!t.” -Ernest Hemingway

What I need all you writers to understand is there is nothing wrong with a messy, dirty first draft. This is a part of the process–the underbelly as it were. It is the underbelly of writing that mines your intent.

Here is what that means.

The greatest power of a draft is intent–the driving force behind your writing. Your first draft flushes out (read: mines–like digging for precious gems) your idea in its most raw form.

It’s hard.

It’s confusing.

It’s maddening.

But it is not impossible. What bares remembering and repeating is the shortest story and the longest story, are still written letter by letter, word by word. Do no despise the small beginnings, the false starts, the double-backing and the imposter syndrome.

Commit to the next word, the next sentence, next paragraph and next paragraphs and the next pages. Be ruthless with the work–and take no prisoners. Take all words captive.

You can do it!

Encouragement Pages-06/07/2021

Let’s talk about this word: WRITER

What I have noticed in the work I do in mentoring and coaching is people shy away from this title of writer. It seems weighty, scary and completely alien, applicable to more famous people.

That title of writer is for anyone brave enough to put pen to paper or light to screen. You are a writer.

You. Are. A. Writer.

So…write.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

The I In You Series-INTELLIGENCE

Character development:  How are you going to develop them?

Just like you must have an idea for the structure of you story, the same goes for your characters, their settings and even the scenarios they find themselves in. The key thing to remember is watch out for troupes what will limit the growth of your characters; stereotypes that will stunt other characters and not give them depth; if you are writing cross-culturally (a white writer writing Black character for example), make sure that you have invested time and effort into seeking out someone from that culture/ethnicity/background to read your work!

Why? Blind spots.

 

You don’t want a work to be offensive to other people when it does not have to be! Having someone read for cultural sensitivity will allow for feedback in a safe space where you can ask questions, get feedback and revise as needed! Your characters are brought to life your imagination—and that imagination may represent a real person. Write wisely.

Note: For sensitivity read-throughs, contact Anette King through her site, The Blurb Diva.

Writer Spotlight-Nigel Jennings

N. Jennings was unable to participate in the podcast in May. Yet, we are grateful for his thoughts. The author interview for Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes can be found here and the book here.

How did you all support each other through this process?

I would say, by just listening. Most of the situations shared in the book were difficult to discuss. Primarily because of the embarrassing, unbelievable nature of them. Having people who understand, and are not judgmental, or condescending about these experiences made it more comfortable to discuss them without reservation.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing for me was accepting these words as true. These were stories we shared dozens of times amongst each other, but to see them in print, made things a little more real than I realized. Often people can compartmentalize their trauma and not let it affect them. But in writing, it is harder to separate yourself from your words.

Who are your favorite authors? 

Kentaro Miura.

What was the best part of doing this book collaboration? Would you be willing to do it again?

Sharing the experiences with people who understand. If it was any other couple of people, I didn’t share a rapport with, it would be a lot more friction. As it stood the hardest part about collaboration was picking a font. So yes, I would be willing to work with wonderful ladies again. And might even be currently working with them on a follow up.

Don’t Believe Your Writing Eyes reads like a memoir. What other book genre do you want to write?

I am currently working on a book of poetry.

Did you practice self-care with the writing of this book? 

For me writing is self-care. So, the process itself was very cathartic.

Was there a catharsis at the end of this book?

I would say the catharsis is the book. Being able to read along and see these stories recanted allows people to relate in a way that other text can’t replicate. Being able to identify with one of the characters, but not having to suspend disbelief in order to achieve genuine investment. The catharsis comes with knowing that if you are on this journey, you are not alone. There are others out there facing similar struggles and trying to overcome them. And really, that realization that we are all in this together is more cathartic than finishing the book. 

In retrospect, would you have changed anything about the writing process of this book?

I would change the formatting process, honestly. It was the most headache we had trying to get it right. That and the editing. Both of which were tedious and troublesome.

At the end of this book how did you celebrate?

We were like, “We are done!” and clapped our hands. I exhaled.