Stop Limiting Yourself as a Writer

Thanks to all who participated in the most recent poll (How do you really view your writing?).  The majority of you chose “as a passion/reason for being;” with equal number selecting “as a service to others” and “as a hobby.”

For me, I’ve been teetering between “as a passion/reason for being” and “as a service for others.”   So then I thought, why can’t I choose both?

Why does writing has to be labeled so narrowly?  Restricted?

I think that it can be any one of these above depending on your goal, or where you are currently in your life.

Writers shouldn’t have to confine themselves in order to fit in a mold set by others.  Our creativity needs to be kept free, unrestrained, in order to be the most productive.  Especially for the first draft.

Don’t you agree?

 

 

 

*Are you an unpublished writer?   Do you need feedback on a story?  Click here for more information.  This offer ends today!  

 

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The Dreamer In Every Writer (Need Feedback?)

writing feedback

 

“A dreamer will not stop having that dream until it has been fulfilled” -J. Wilson

    Some time ago, I wrote a few posts on the dreamer in all of us.  At times, we even sabotage ourselves so that a particular dream doesn’t come to fruition.

    Other times, though, life just gets in the way; and we find ourselves with choices that we wished we didn’t have to make.  Dreams get put on hold, or given up altogether as we are forced to go down a different path from the one we dreamed about and hoped for.

    Years pass as do various cycles of ups and downs that come with each lifetime; but, your dream still waits for you…yearning for that moment when you decide to return to it.  By this point, you’re wondering if you still got “it.”   Is the muse still with you?  Can you still put into words those images and voices that have been locked up in your mind for so long?

“There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback – seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance.” -Rachel Griffiths
    Dreams deserve second chances.
    Don’t they???
    So, you sit down in the chair, and pen a story.  One that’s been pestering you for ages.  Done.  Finished.
    Now, what?
    You need a reader.  Some one to give feedback on your story.
    *Gulp*
    Take a deep breath, dear writer.  I like to give this feedback.
    Interested? 
Here are my prerequisites:
    1. You’re still unpublished
    2. You’re 21 years old or older
    3. Story is fiction, and is 2,500 words or less
    The feedback I’ll provide will be mainly for the content of your story (how does the story flow, are there any plot holes, are the characters interesting enough, and so on).
    Still with me?
    Awesome!
     Using the Contact form below, or if you prefer, the comment section at the end of this post:
    1. Tell me what prompted you to return to your dream
    2. A brief description of the story you’d like feedback on
    This opportunity will remain open until March 31st.   Two winners will then be selected by no later than April 3rd. At that time I will contact the winners for their stories.

Writing and Mental Health

mental health

* Journal of Life-“A piece of fiction from Carrie Ann Golden; written as journal entries of a young lady struggling with mental illness/family.” –GFT Press

I wrote a short fiction for GFT Press which was published late last week.  I took various experiences from my past, and wrote them into this particular story of a young woman.  It doesn’t work for everyone, but writing can be used as a therapeutic tool while working through life challenges.

What about you?  Has writing helped you through various dark and troubling times in your life?

The Power of Spoken Words

I have a confession that I need to make:

I haven’t read a book in well over a year.

Am I proud of this fact?

Heck no!

Do I have a valid excuse for this?

Perhaps.

How can a writer be a true “writer” without reading books?

Probably still a writer, but not a very good one.

What I have been doing is reading lots of online magazine/news articles, and blog posts.

Would these count as productive reading?

I believe so; especially if one of my goals is to be a citizen journalist.  Oh, and a blogger as well.

But

I still consider myself a short-story writer, and a poet.  I also desire to complete a novel. Here’s where I run into difficulties.  With my waning vision, it’s a growing challenge to read books.  For some reason, I don’t have as much problem reading online than I do on paper.  It’s the lack of the right lighting.  The words seem to waver in print and after a few pages, my eyes are too exhausted to continue.

Out of frustration, I stopped reading books altogether.

As a result, I felt like I was short-changing myself and my readers.

Then I read a post on a particular blog aptly titled- Like to write but don’t like to read? Help is here.  After reading this, I was filled with hope and excitement.  The author, Lisa, talks about two types of writers: reader-writer, and writer-writer.  One writer reads lots and lots of books; while the other one does not.  Lisa considers herself to be a writer-writer. Her reason?

“I love words but have trouble reading them.”

What did she do?  She began to listen to audiobooks.

    “I find that hearing the words read aloud and visualizing them in my mind actually helps me to     find new ways to put my own thoughts together.”

So, I’m going to experiment with audiobooks on my own.  I recently discovered (and have signed up for) a program called Talking Books where audio books are provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

Talking Books

In the near future, I will provide my own feedback on this.  Stay tuned!

What about you?  Do you think audiobooks can benefit writers?

 

Further readings:

Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading?

Are Audiobooks the Key to Better Writing?

5 Reasons Why Writers Should Listen to Audiobooks

 

Are There Too Many Books Out There?

too many books

I posted a poll to both here and on Twitter to garner how many thought if there were too many writers and not enough readers.  Majority of those who responded (around 74%) believed that there were more than enough readers for all the books now out there.

Okay, let’s delve a bit deeper and look at some of the statistics that I’ve managed to find.

According to one article, in 2013 at least 28 million books were published in English.  It looks like this included both traditional and self-published “print” titles.  The article went on to state that in 2003 the number of books in print were only around one million titles.  Kind of put things in perspective on just how much things have exploded since the early 2000’s.

I pulled up the Worldometers’ site, its clocking the world population at around 7.4 billion.  North America has 360 million, Europe at 738 million, Africa 1.2 billion; but Asia takes the crown at well over 4.4 billion.

Of the 7.4 billion, nearly 1 billion are illiterate.

Another sobering number to look at is that at least 3 billion of the world population lives in poverty; many of these may not have access to books because of the condition they live in.

This still leaves a good chunk of people as readers, right?

How many of the remaining population actually spends the time reading books in all honesty?  With people working more hours each week, and with various technology distractions, the number of people reading seems to be on the decline.

It seems that the challenge facing writers these days is trying to get people to read their work.  With so many published titles out there (and mind you, these numbers do not include digital ones), how does a writer go about doing that?

Any thoughts?

 

 

Amazon’s terms of service won’t apply in the event of a zombie apocalypse

*I have a thing for zombies, and found this article particularly interesting!

 

 

It seems as though Amazon may really believe we are at risk of am impending zombie apocalypse.

Source: Amazon’s terms of service won’t apply in the event of a zombie apocalypse

Community Journalism and Local News (Part Two)

At first glance it seems these two should be practically the same, right?

Not really.

In a nut shell:

Local news cover broad, mainstream events that occur within a region, state, nation, and the world.

Community Journalism takes a more narrow, specific approach.  It focuses on a specific geographic locale (a town or a suburb), or a community of interest or practice, or even a community of fans.  Community Journalism is manged by the community (most are not-for-profit) and not by a commercial entity.  Its main goal is to bring a particular community together by providing relevant content for that community.

Want to learn more?

Community Journalism (Wikipedia)

Community Journalism: State of the News Media

Introduction to Community Journalism Special Issue (Rural Research & Policy)

Journey As a Writer and a Blogger (Part Two)

As you may have noticed through my recent posts, I seem to be struggling with self-identity as well as wondering what role(s) I should take on as a writer/blogger since I left the work place permanently over a year ago.

Below are some of the posts I’m referring to:

Are you a blogger or a writer? (Poll)

Journey as a writer and a blogger

Quotes about writing and blogging

One of the by-products of being home full-time (and as a person who can not drive so am pretty much house-bound) is that I tend to over-analyze things.  More times than not, this is counter-productive.

Well, for me it is.

Many of my readers have told me that blogging/writing actually work well together.  Yes, you can be both a writer and a blogger.

I’m now starting to understand what they mean.

There are those who write horror or science fiction books/stories, and then turn around and blog about things that relate to their work (such as movie or book reviews, various topics within the particular genre, etc.).

Those in the nonfiction realm would publish a memoir or essays based on personal experiences would in turn blog about topics that relate to these (mental health issues, cancer or other life-threatening diseases, victims of sexual abuse, etc.).

On and on the list of examples could go; but, I hope you get the point.

I suppose the underlying theme of all this is find your “brand” as a writer, and then build your blog(s) around that “brand.”

This is starting to sound like a marketing or business scheme…but, I guess when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, yeah, I think that what it’s about.   It’s about sharing what you are as a writer, and your work, with your audience.  Hence, that’s where blogging comes in.

Well, that’s how I’m starting to perceive blogging to be.  Perhaps I could be wrong.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Choose Your Path (Part Two)

crossroad6

“I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”- (Robert Frost) The Road Not Taken

The above quote is the one I can relate to the most-at this point in my life.

I’m looking to others who have tread on before me as examples and for inspiration as I struggle to build confidence in myself as a writer; as a scribe who’s on a journey that could be considered spiritual in nature; as a journalist who’s risking much to share painful experiences, and bare thoughts and feelings to those willing to listen.

There will always be those who refuse to accept you for who you are, and for the things you stand for.   These same people will be the first to criticize and ridicule you as a writer, and a person.  And yeah, that hurts…a lot.

These are the times when I’d turn to the creative-minded individuals who’s gone on before me for strength and wisdom; to know that I am not alone in this battle is always a wonderful comfort, and to glean the motivation needed to keep traveling the path I’m on.

Someday, I hope to be strong and courageous enough to branch off, and blaze a new path for others to follow.