Being Vulnerable in your Writing

sometimes–this is a good thing

Photo from Pixabay

There is a fine line in writing between being vulnerable, open, honest and being over-exposed. We walk this line, a tightrope of credibility with a chasm of wide-mouthed readership, an ocean of clappers below us, waiting to give us feedback.

What if that feedback is in thought? The thought that our writing is merely self-serving? We cannot take advantage of the generosity of our readers by making it “all out us.”

We have to remember that our readers want us to be honest.

They want to know who we are.

But they want to read things that will touch their hearts or change their minds. They want to learn something valuable to add to their day, to their life.

They want to be moved.

So how do we walk this line of vulnerability without appearing to be so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget the needs and wants of our readers?

There are continuing education classes to take in writing, art, music. I think by finding our talent and expressing it, we learn more about what it is to human. Such expression can be deeply illuminating and satisfying. — Jean P. Moore, author of Tilda’s Promise

Honing our Craft

To honor our reader in our writing we must improve our craft, by whatever means possible. Being the best we can be is the most crucial element of writing — one that will take you, and your reader along with you, to the next level of relationship.

And that is what writing is — a relationship between your thoughts and your reader’s life.


Educational opportunity —

Shaunta Grimes, and Zach J. Payne are offering summer courses to support writers on their journey, teach tried-and-true methods of success, and to grow writers in their craft. Head over to their Ninja Writer’s Academy to learn more about this. Spaces are limited and there is a cost. Shannon Ashley has also been teaming up with Shaunta to offer videos as well — sign up for Shaunta’s email to get the information. You don’t want to miss out on the free workshops!

Workshops – Ninja Writers Academy
Edit descriptionwww.ninjawriters.org


Here is an article about honing your craft that offers 16 ways to become a better writer. Immerse yourself in readings like this, take a writer’s workshop, step up your editing game. The tightrope gets more balanced and you will be able to open up new levels of emotional connectedness with your reader within the context of credibility.

16 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
Writing is intimidating to a lot of people, particularly those who don’t write for a living or on a regular basis. But…www.wordstream.com

Taking your reading to next level is crucial. Readers know good writing when they see it. If you open up about your life, express a personal opinion, and reveal deep layers of your inner creative spirit — but do so with poor writing, you can rest assured that your reader will take their minds, their loyalty, and their claps elsewhere. As they should.

Now, for the big reveal. Your heart.

Just how open should you be? Where do you draw the line? I have recently touched on this subject and the highlights show that my perspective on this matter is shared.

Writer Tell-All
sometimes full-disclosure is painful to do medium.com

The perspective resonated with readers:

There are no rules in writing. And there are no closets to hide in when it comes to “over-sharing.”

Where do you draw the line? For me, I draw the line at exposing my family members’ and friends’ stories in a way that is disrespectful of their privacy.

But for myself — all bets are off.

I haven’t always felt this way but as I strive more and more to live in my truth, it becomes harder to not disclose the difficult, the embarrassing, the truly raw and personal. — Christina Ward, from “Writer Tell-All”

Set your limits. Know what they are and stay true to that purpose. Your self-honoring tactics will not come across to your reader as selfishness, but a strength of character to be admired. Readers ultimately want to read writing by writers that they look up to, respect, admire, and they will demonstrate loyalty to that relationship. Honor their efforts by having discipline in your writing.

A writer needs three things: experience, observation and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. — William Faulkner

Vulnerability

Now that you have focused on creating the quality of work that garners respect and readership, set the standard for yourself for the dusty closet corners you are or are not willing to sweep into your writing — it is time to open up with honesty, to allow your voice to shine throughout your work.

Tell that difficult story — the one that brings you to tears. Share them with your reader one tear at a time until your readers cry with you. This is a beautiful place to share the relationship, celebrate the connection that your openness creates. The chasm closing — some of your readers will join you on the tightrope and share those moments with you.

Vulnerability on the Page: Mining Your Own Dark Corners
Vulnerability. Does this topic make your stomach turn, all you nonfiction writers, poets, and yeah, even you fiction…www.thereviewreview.net

They will empathize, but they will also remember you. And they will want to know the next parts of the story — your story, because they are now not just emotionally invested in an experience they read about, but they are emotionally invested in YOU.

Credibility. Relationship. Loyalty.

Share your intimate thoughts. Your intimate moments. Your deepest ambitions and dreams. Your reader knows these! They have their own! If you touch that place of human nature within other people, your writing builds bridges across the ocean of claps, of readership, of the “bouncer” who doesn’t stick around long enough for you to connect — get them to stay, to read, to join your journey.

As shallow as this seems, it is the claps, the return readers, your tribe that you write for. Increasing that tribe increases your reachability.

Make their journey worthwhile.

Allowing your reader to get to know your heart will lead to a more lucrative experience for you on your writing journey. Reaching your words out to grab the hearts of others — this is truly priceless. After all, we want to make a difference.

You can’t do that by being closed-up, stale, distant. We all want to be memorable.

Readers want to be moved. I’ll say that again because it bears repeating. Think on that with every article that you write. With every poem you construct. With every letter you type. They want to be moved.

So move them.

Selling Your Writing for Pennies

Starting somewhere hurts the heart a little bit

Let’s face it; Writers do NOT get paid their worth.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/cash-coins-money-pattern-259165/

In light of my current health situation, I have not been working for the past few years. I rely on peddling craft items occasionally, and mostly on selling myself as a writer…for pennies.

But we have to start somewhere. Getting a freelance writing career off the ground is a bit like rolling a giant boulder uphill, while wearing roller skates.

I joined Upwork. Yes, I know there is some controversy over that. I have seen other writers condemn the site, saying that it lowers the bar–regarding the PAY that writer’s receive–and makes things worse for writers across the board.

But–as I sit here, back aching like fire, pain in three of my back teeth causing my jaw to swell (which is causing a nerve problem in my face), and out my opened front door what do I see? CORN FIELDS. Trees. Rural life. I search all kinds of jobs for writers in my area…either a great big NOTHING, or a scam, or it pays 10.00 or less an hour.

At least Upworks has JOBS. SO, I bit my pride and joined. You have to have reviews to get the “good jobs” that might actually pay me enough to get my tooth pulled, get my car fixed that’s been hovering in the “check engine” zone for two years, or pay at least A payment toward my debt mountain.

My first job will pay me $7.00. Seven Hundred Pennies. But, at the end of that job I will get a review. Then take a higher paying job…another review…then a higher paying job. After some work, it will pay off.

Another site I am working on is Medium. I invite you to check this site out, join for $5.00 a month if you love reading quality articles, and follow me here: @fnfwriter

Medium pays writers when readers : clap” for the articles. The more claps, the more pay. My first week on medium I made $0.09. The second week $0.79. The third week $3.39. And this, my fourth week $ 8.32. So, with only 64 followers thus far, and a few publications that accept me as a writer, this number will continue to climb with my popularity.

And get this: my POETRY posts get more claps than my articles!

This is exciting! If you are interested, medium may be a fun place to post some of your best writing and get paid for doing so…just make sure that you join the Medium Partner Program, and get in with some good publications that have lots of followers. Submit to them to get in with them as a writer and you will be on your way! MAYBE pennies will turn into quarters…then dollars.

A third way my writing is starting to pay off is by writing for my local paper: Observer News Enterprise. who has given me a weekly column that pays me …get this…$0.00 dollars. Yes, nothing. But it gets my name “out there” and if they ask me to do an article or if an article I write gets front page, there’s a pay of $25.00.

You can bet when those checks come in, I am doing a freak-show happy dance at my mailbox.

I AM ALSO SUBMITTING POETRY TO A HOST OF LITERARY MAGAZINES AND CONTESTS–THESE TAKE MONTHS TO REPLY–BUT MY FINGERS ARE AS CROSSED AS THEY CAN GET. THIS WOULD BE THE ULTIMATE PAYOUT FOR ME, EVEN IF IT DOESN’T PAY CASH.

MY ULTIMATE GOAL IN ALL OF THIS IS: TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A POET AND HAVE A LOYAL FOLLOWING WHEN MY BOOK GETS PUBLISHED–AND IT WILL GET PUBLISHED!

WHY am I writing this article? Because perhaps you are out there hustling your writing, the same as I am. I want to encourage you not to give up. And to take pennies ONLY TO GET STARTED. Then use that resource as a reference, a STEPPING STONE. The ultimate goal should be to get paid your worth. While you work for pennies, hone your skills, learn all you can, and collect as many references as you can that will speak to your value as a writer.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/54113632998896044/

Give it all you got…I invite you to share your story, and by all means share your link so others may support you in your venture. Best of luck to you!

(My book is in self-edit phase of the first draft…wish me luck!!)

Writing a Book IS WORK

It’s not for the faint of heart or the weak of resolve

My father always told me:

To be a success you either need to do something no one else wants to do, or do something everyone else wants to do and do it better than everyone else.


–My Dad

Yikes. Take one look at the picture above and literally everyone gets a fuzzy, heart-happy, nostalgic, dreamers-dream of sitting at a wooden desk at a clickety-click typewriter with a simmering cup of hot coffee sitting next to them, and long leisurely days of plinking out a finely-crafted novel.

OK so not literally everyone, but damned close to it.

Well, as I have just finished plinking out my first draft of my first novel, let me tell you, the nostalgia is malarkey. You may quote me on that.


The nostalgia is malarkey


–Me.

Let me tell you what it is…

*It is a lot of saying to your family, “I am working.”
*It is being harassed 24/7 by the characters living, talking, acting out various scenarios–in your head.
*It is late nights and back aches. Neck aches and headaches.
*It is stressing over whether or not you can tell the story that will honor the characters.
*It is worry that your audience will not love the characters as much as you do.

*It is hoping your readers will be just that–READERS.

*It is a LOT of typing. A LOT.
*It is a LOT of research…and sometimes of VERY weird things. God help, I hope my laptop never gets confiscated.
*It is a dedication you can only tap from within.
*It is a daily commitment, even if you feel tapped out.
*It is EXHILARATING.
*It can give you quite the God-complex.
*It is an honor to tell the story of characters you love.
*It is isolating and somewhat lonely.
*It is an emotional journey.
*It will make you question every aspect of your intelligence, your talent, and your skill.
*It will teach you new things
*You do it knowing the chances are HIGH that you will never be published.

And it is worth every every second.


When I was a child I knew 2 things: I loved nature and all the awesome things in it. And, I wanted to WRITE SOMETHING.
Today: I love nature and all the awesome things in it. And, I want to WRITE SOMETHING.


–Christina Ward


So to those of you who share my dream of becoming a published author, I encourage you to consider this: are you a creator/collector of ideas but lack the stick-it-to-itiveness to follow through on the very hard work of fleshing out, editing and publishing a novel? Hire a ghost writer. Your ideas may have great merit and are still of value even if you’ve started writing 10 times and just can’t get to the finish line. If you are truly committed to the writing process, and love every step your novel takes, even if that wasn’t the plan,

…then GO FOR IT.

Don’t let the dust settle on your dreams. Brush away the cobwebs and the fear, the insecurities and the excuses, and….. apply hope like a verb.


–Christina Ward (Author of a book that WILL be coming to a store near you.)
–stay tuned…





Want to Write a Novel but Can’t Stay Motivated? Here are Some Tips

I am not going to sugar-coat it; that first novel can kick your tail. But it doesn’t have to be so incredibly daunting that the great idea for a novel that you dreamed up one foggy afternoon six years ago, can’t be brought to fruition. The idea is there. Perhaps the characters have been mingling, getting to know each other, playing out various ways of interacting…but it’s all between your ears. So how do you get them out of your head and into print? Don’t they at least deserve that? Here is some practical, useful advice to get that overwhelming rough draft completed.

TIP ONE

Determine as best you can which genre your novel will be, and research how many words that genre typically would be. This seems obvious, but there are several sub-genres or your novel could fall within that gray area of “is this literary or mainstream fiction?” You will want to do this because A. It will affect the language you use, your target audience, how much description or what “atmosphere” you choose to develop while writing your novel. And B. It will give you an idea of how long your novel would optimally be. Knowing the length of the novel gives you keener sense of what pace to take your writing, when to add in crucial elements to your plot, and where the arc of your story should be. It is easier to break your novel into sections of words than starting and adding to the pile with each word you type. Make a timeline of word counts and plot the main parts of your novel…this is an excellent visual of knowing where you are going. Having a plan you can change is better than no plan at all!

Remember…you can do this, just let “one foot in front of the other” aka “one word at a time” apply to your attitude and mental approach, not to your overall plan to completion. A race is won, yes by this method…but what if you don’t have a route?

TIP TWO

Choose a program and/or method. Some love Word, some write on napkins, but consider the way you write and your personality. I like a structured program so I go with Scrivener and could NOT write my novel without it. Research a few different options and see what will work best for you. Take time to learn the program, get the “For Dummies,” or like up some favorites of resources on your browser. Just have the tools you need at the ready. This will eliminate a huge roadblock that many first time novelists trip so hard over they can’t hear their characters for the stars in their eyes. Don’t be distracted by formatting and structure so much that you aren’t able to write.

TIP THREE

Your first draft is a “just get it written” draft. So DO NOT overthink so much that you take the comma out, put the comma back, take it out again. This draft is about getting the content out of your head and onto the screen. You will do several reads-through and edits. Don’t get too tied up in correcting plot holes or spelling or fleshing out your characters perfectly because you will be doing this as you go through your edit(s.) Your goal is plot and making sure the webbing of the book is in place. That structure is crucial to having a novel that can stand up on it’s own.

TIP FOUR

Set a REALISTIC writing goal for yourself.

Do not pay a single bit of attention to the writing goals of others…set a goal for yourself that is fairly easily attainable. Writing every day is best, especially if you have trouble staying motivated. if motivation is no problem for you, but the obsessive spirit in you makes you write for six hours straight at a time with complete disregard to your hygiene and important responsibilities, then perhaps your writing goal is a reminder to pace yourself, avoid burnout, and avoid the terrible neck aches or eye strain that accompany your all-nighters. You know yourself and what you need to stay motivated. Make a plan to stick to, but make your goals reachable.

TIP FIVE

Prepare the troops. You are going to need supportive people around you to keep you motivated, but also to pick up the slack in other areas of your life so that you can stay focused on your writing. If you have planned to write certain hours of the day, you will need to be able to thwart potential distractions such as Facebook messages or texts and phone calls. Is your mom your best cheerleader? Then talk to her about your plans and use her support as a way to keep motivated. You need to isolate yourself to a certain degree to finish your work and to do this you will need people to be understanding. Have a small team of people you can count on to help you through. These people are not to be confused with beta readers. These folks are your support staff, your cheerleaders, your emotional supporters. They are also not your therapists, but the people that help out with the laundry to give you more time to work. The people that fix you a coffee or who respect your need to hole-up for a few hours a day, undisturbed. Perhaps they are the ones who are willing to kick in more financial support if you are working fewer hours outside of the home. Prepare your troops because the battle is a fierce emotional one and you may need back up on the homefront to make it to the victorious first draft finish line. Let your support people know what your commitments are so they can honor those. In my home it is a s simple as “I’m working.” My family has been very supportive and helpful when they hear me say those powerful words.

TIP SIX

Let go of some things that are distractions. Turn off Netflix. Put your phone on silent while you work. Opt for simpler dinners or smaller goals in other areas of your life so that you have the time you need to work. Facebook and Twitter can wait on a social level while you disengage, unless, of course, you are researching for your novel. Find a place that you can work that helps you to stay focused and puts you in the best headspace for energy flow and creativity.

TIP SEVEN

Simply put — you can do this. Confidence is key. Novel-writing is not your therapist. While you put your heart into your writing, your writing is not your therapy. It does not define you as a person, although it is an extension of you. You exist independently, confidently, wholly as an individual with or without this novel being finished. It is a personal goal. A journey you take. Not a way to work out your internal struggles. Use therapy if you need to do that and let your novel be the story of your characters. You are their catalyst, not the other way around.

JUST DO IT.

CAN DO IT.

WILL DO IT.

Put your goals into writing. Write yourself sticky notes of daily goals or motivations. Map out your plan, share it with your cheerleaders, and get to work. The finish line awaits. If you have other tips to share with regards to fleshing out that first draft, I invite you to share them here with others that may need them. I wish you the best on your journey!

How To Help You Write Beautiful Poems – Learn 2 Poems Styles

 

White Ceramic Teacup With Saucer Near Two Books Above Gray Floral Textile

Let’s talk syzygy. (Ok so I learned a new word today and couldn’t resist adding it in…)


noun, plural syz·y·gies.

1. Astronomy . an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet: Syzygy in the sun-earth-moon system occurs at the time of full moon and new moon.
2. Classical Prosody . a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.
3. any two related things, either alike or opposite.

We will consider the third definition of syzygy. I have for you a couple of poem equations that may lead you to your next big poem. Are you up to the challenge?
Two examples will help to explain.
The first example, I call parallel poetry writing. You will take an example of :
1. an inanimate object or a train of thought
and add
2. an action
to equal your poem.
The item in #1 will be the actual topic of your poem but you will borrow imagery and descriptive words from the action you have chosen. 
For the parallel version of this poetry challenge, the two things you have chosen will be similar in some way so that the comparison isn’t too forced, uncomfortable, confusing, or stark. Here is my example of a poem that I wrote using this method:
thoughts of a child + swinging on a swing = Yesterdays
Now for the second example, I call juxtaposed poetry writing. You will, again, take an example of:
1. an inanimate object or a train of thought
and add
2. an action
to equal your poem.
The item in #1 will be the actual topic of your poem but you will borrow imagery and descriptive words from the action you have chosen. 
Only this time, the two things will have very little, if anything, in common. Here is my example of a poem I wrote using this method:
thoughts on being a poet + the cleaning of a fish (butchering) = The Poet Cleaning ~ (a poem about being a poet/writer)
Now, anyone want to give it a try? Choose either of the above methods and write your poem. Post it on your blog with a pingback to this blog post, or email it to me @ fiddleheadsnfloss@gmail.com with your publishing name, a link to your Twitter or your blog for me to do a pingback for you and I will blog some of my favorites.
Now go…go and be a poet 🙂