Posts Tagged ‘writing’

…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:

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Ever get so frustrated because you want to create something but once you start, all the pieces you put together (art, eriting, song, photo, or whatever your art love is), feels like it’s not good enough? Like it’s shit? No? Me neither.

I thought once I was published I’d be happy but while searching for that publishing credit, my true happiness was found in telling stories. But that doesn’t pay the bills. That, and wallowing in some of life’s muddy, mosquito-infested water with the green bubbly slime floating on top of it. Besides, who wants to swim in slime? And what does any of this mean or stand for? Who knows? I’m just here to tell stories and be a tortured soul.

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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…

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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. 😜

“The first draft of everything is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway

I like this quote. A lot. Probably too much.

I try to remember it when writing. Would I have said it the same way? Probably. Especially since I feel that way about most of my first drafts. Many of them require extensive revisions, updates, re-reads, fine tuning and some are even thrown out – granted, accidentally sometimes, because I have a bad habit of writing on anything I can find when I have an idea – post it note, envelope that bills and other mail come in (why else do they mail those things,  anyway?), napkins, etc.

Granted, I share idea and a some poetry drafts with someone who loves me in spite of my crazy moods and thoughts, because in poetry, some of my first drafts flow and exude emotion. With everything else? I refuse to share a first draft. Why? Ego protection. And because the draft is shit.

Below is a link to an interesting list from the Thought Catalog which contains “21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips from Great Authors” written by Cody Delistraty. Be sure to check out the advice in #21. It’s super helpful! 🙂

 21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips…

What are some of your tips or helpful articles of advice?

Sometimes, okay, a lot of times I don’t like to admit that I have fears, worries and in many ways, I’m fragile. Why? I’m an artist. Yes, sometimes I get super sensitive (or at least what passes as “sensitive” these days) but then at other times, I go into my inner Buddhist child-self and become the most chill of people (again, another assessment of my self from others). Why? Because when I put pieces of myself out there, I admit that it hurts a little when critics and others pick it apart and while I’m not on the scale of most writers to have large numbers of critics, I have read and heard stuff about my writing that stings. Why does it get to me? I guess I’m sensitive about my shit.

“…

I’m living life on my terms.

Writing gives me wings

and a platform upon which

I preach my truth.

Writing is safe

Writing lets me vent,

There’s no judgement on paper.

Words matter so take a seat and be quiet.

The mic’s on and I’m feeling inspired.”

(excerpt from a newer piece of mine: 2014)

 

On that sensitive note, I recently connected with the song, “Fragile” by Tech N9ne (feat. Kendrick Lamar, MAYDAY and Kendall Morgan) for some reason. No, not because of the genre, or artists themselves because I’m not huge fans of any of them, I just happen to like some of their stuff from time to time…but…the feel, beat and lyrics…I felt it when Tech N9ne said, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit”.

Check it out. What do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKs5OsT4dIY

Peace.