Posts Tagged ‘writer’

…be sure you are not in fact, surrounded by assholes or people who don’t “get you”. 

This reminder has lived with me for some time, but surfaced and stuck as my internal mantra when my self-doubt and angst as a writer was at its peak, and even now when these feelings come up again as they often do, and mostly because the voices in my head wouldn’t shut the hell up. I guess the years of procrastination had caught up with me. 

In the earlier days, I would cautiously share my poetry with a few friends and loved ones, hoping they’d provide constructive criticism to encourage and help me grow as a poet. I envisioned feedback that would me to at least feel comfortable performing at an open mic poetry event, or growth that would help me become a better writer who could begin  submitting to magazines, papers, and journals. I trusted these people with the dungeons and dagons that tormented me and kept me awake at night; with the demons that danced in my head during my working daylight hours, and boy, was that was a huge mistake! 

To be fair, these weren’t mean people. They were friends and loved ones with their own fears, self-doubt, and in several cases, saw themselves through my writing but didn’t like the reflections. 

As much as I promised and swore myself to secrecy on particulars, or behaviors, apparently I had opened some Pandora type box on thoughts that go bump in the night. But honestly, I wasn’t going to stop observing life around me so I was at an impasse. I felt confident that no one’s life was being ripped off, mimicked, or exploited so I had to trust my gut and my writing. The result? Loss of friendship and loss of trust in sharing my early drafts with others. But I decided that what I had to say had to come out in some form or fashion and this was the only form that I felt was right for me. I hope my friends would understand.

Today, it’s still gut wrenching and sometimes physically painful to send a draft for feedback. In some instances, I preferred paying a stranger to edit and provide feedback but since editing funds weren’t as easily available in my earlier years, I was limited. Now, I definitely recommend it. 

So what’s the outcome of all of this? Well, as some may know, my poetry’s been published a few times and I’m still slugging away, submitting to journals and papers and magazines…and dealing with the rejections and celebrating the small, occasional wins. So hang in there, writers! (This sentence is just as much for me as anyone else!)

Oh, and I’m much more selective when sharing my deepest, darkest thoughts. Constructive criticism still feels icky and uncomfortable but it helps. By making better choices about who I ask for feedback, I’m at least sure the comments are about my writing and not other people’s issues. I had to be sure that I’m not surrounded by assholes or by people who couldn’t see past themselves, their life experiences.

Somewhere along the way, I’m getting better at learning  to love myself a little more, learning to just write more and more freely, and, I’d dare say, to have faith that the stories in my head will touch or reach the right person.

If you need some quick inspiration:

words have weight

I’m a native English speaker. Who’s originally from an Island in the Caribbean so the English terms and dialect with which I am familiar stem from several areas – formally from a British school system for many  formative years, and informally from a mixed bag of Caribbean slang and terms with a heavy dose of influence from living for many years on the East Coast in the U.S. The accent? Well, it’s been described as a a crazy mixture of  several states within the U.S. and when I’m tired (or a little drunk), an accent from my homeland. All of this leads to why at times, language is this crazy barrier to my understanding of cliches, colloquialism, slang, etc. You see, it’s not that I don’t understand the words because I do. It’s because when certain words are strung together in a phrase that I don’t understand, my mind tries to pick them apart separately and then insert the meaning.  I can’t even begin to imagine what non-english speakers go through with the multiple translations in their heads and in their understanding when they move to the U.S.!

I also realize that while some people, even those who are close to me, confuse me and in turn, I am sure I confuse them! Even though we’ve communicated with each other for years and for hours on end, there’s almost always some confusion. Granted, at times I’m probably just decoding at a slower pace, like when I’m tired or not paying attention so I won’t blame that on language in general. That’s just me catching on and relaying slower than I should.

However, there are times when I really need a solid answer maybe akin to a “yes” or a “no” and when it comes in the form of a colloquialism or a cliche or worse yet, slang, I’m totally lost and sometimes, heartbroken. Thoughts race in sentences like, “I thought we were past this”, or “What did I do wrong?”, or “Maybe something has changed?”, and so on. Then there’s context but that’s a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother day.

Yes, I realise that not every sentence or statement or question is going to be cut and dry or consist only of plain language for all to understand as language itself is a beautiful beast that can be oh so subjective. But when it’s an important life decision, whether it be a binding agreement or contract, or a relationship related issue, I really need it to be clear cut and understandable. To do this, I try to repeat in the plainest english terms I can think of, what I believe is being said or conveyed. Not because I think the other person is slow or dumb. In fact it’s the opposite. I realise I’m being the ignorant one and so to avoid entering into a binding agreement or losing a loved one over something that wasn’t even an issue to begin with, I have to break down my barriers. The problem is that unless the person knows me somewhat well, they may sometimes think I’m being a condescending ass. So I try to remind that I’m not trying to be an ass, I’m just trying to ensure I understand and that I’m confused by a particular phrase, etc. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they may wonder how the hell we got along all these years, but hey, here we are…

Words have meaning and these meanings change as language changes. Confusing words and lack of grammar at times, can cause interesting and not so entertaining mishaps, heartache and alarm. So as I continue to learn and grow with language, slang, colloquialisms, etc., and I’ll continue to keep an open mind. Because, well, words mean something and sometimes, they mean nothing, and then at other times, they mean everything.

 

Simple Definition of colloquial

  • : used when people are speaking in an informal way

  • : using an informal style

Full Definition of colloquial

  1. 1:  of or relating to conversation :  conversational

  2. 2a :  used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation; also :  unacceptably informal b :  using conversational style

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

words have power

human Christina Perri

As I was listening to the song, “Human” by Christina Perri: https://youtu.be/r5yaoMjaAmE, I realized that on some days I feel like a superhero who can do anything like these guys below…

superhero

Then, on many, many days (more than the days above, anyway), I feel like this tangled, knotted up ball of weird fur:

Animal from Muppets. All Credit to Jim Henson and Co.

Animal from Muppets. All Credit to Jim Henson and Co.

Yeah, maybe being a writer is in my bone marrow and soul.

Writer-Woes Credit to Espressoandpencakes

Credit to espressoandpencakes.com

image

Any other writers out there have the following series of events occur (not necessarily in this order)?

1. Submit entries to magazines and literary journals, etc. and feel super proud of the accomplishment.

This is when you just know that your kickass essays, poetry, and short stories will grab the editor’s eye. He or she will be so blown away by your style, wit and story telling capability that you’ll be accepted for publishing.

2. Become extremely optimistic about being accepted in the writing world.

This is where you plan on updating your bio to reflect your newly accepted submissions. You’ll also start thinking calling everyone you know to tell them your work has been accepted for publishing but then realize you’ll have to them actually talk to them after the initial announcement, so you decide you’ll text them instead.

3. Begin feeling nothing but absolute fear and dread in the pit of your belly about being rejected.

This is where you check the submissions webpages like a junkie. When that doesn’t work as quickly as you’d like, you learn all of the computer shortcuts to refresh a webpage and them execute them repeatedly hoping to see the submission status change from, “In progress” to “Accepted” after about the fifteenth refreshed page appears. Then, when the status doesn’t change, you realize that this is potentially (yet another!) rejection and you now begin feeling a bout of belly bubble angst aka diarrhea coming on!

No?

Yeah, me neither…

image

All credit and photo rights to Peanuts®

I blog and share for me. My thoughts, opinions and comments are mine alone. When I meet friends who are funny, crazy and downright wonderful, I’m thrilled!

If my comments, anger, poetry, or words sound like they’re directed at you, they’re not…usually. I share thoughts to build meaningful conversation and to enjoy this short life with awesome people who share the same sentiments. I don’t have time to be contrary. Please live safely and love each other. Oh, and if you can stop being so sensitive, critical, and assholey, that’s be nice too.

Disclsimer: I write. Our non private conversations may end up on a page. Thank you for still sharing with me. Thank you for loving me anyway. 😜

I can’t be all things to everyone
Not even to self.
Despair entrenched in bone, in skin,
Fear and self deprecation become kin.
You are the beginning of my ending.

Copyrighted 2015
All Rights Reserved

Neil Gaiman's Website Home Page

Neil Gaiman’s Website Home Page

Neil Gaiman is an author. Not just any author, he’s the author of a couple of my favorite books, Anansi Boys, Coraline and a few other memorable stories. While web surfing articles about writing, as I often do when I’m procrastinating on my writing, I came across this list of “Good Writing Practices” from Nail Gaiman as shared in an article in The Guardian. I’m sharing because I really like this list!.

Neil Gaiman’s list of writing rules (From The Guardian)

1 Write.

2 Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3 Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4 Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5 Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6 Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7 Laugh at your own jokes.

8 The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

References:

All credit in this list goes to The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

Neil Gaiman’s Website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/