The Walls, Fears & Jumping Out Of Planes

Writers don’t have skeleton’s in their closets–they have them in their desks.

I try and make a habit of looking through my Draft-Drawer once a season, normally this happens with the speed of Fall and Winter. Then, I have time–I think–to sit and reflect on what I didn’t do when it was warmer and life was more demanding. From that vantage point, I always think such explorations are fun, not traumatic.

However, it is rare I come across an idea that shocks me–I mean it did come from my own imagination…how crazy could the idea be? But there have been times (quite recently here) where I will come across a work I abandoned–because I was simply too scared to finish it.

Yes–scared to finish it. There was a wall. I was scared, and the thought of finishing that work felt like jumping out of a plane. With that acknowledgement, I dissected that feeling. Consider this your wrecking ball.

The Wall. Oh my! How familiar is this feeling? When you find a work you once poured yourself into–and lose it, only to find it again? It is like finding a lost child. You are relieved, you are happy and you are irritated (read: angry) if was ever lost!

Yet, you want to put it back. You want to unsee what you saw. You don’t want to remind yourself of what you gave up on. There is a mental wall erected! You can feel it more than you can see it. Do not run from this feeling. This is the start of breaking the wall. Baldwin himself said that nothing can be changed unless it is faced. Face the wall. No flinching. Flinching leads to fear.

The Fear. What is the thing (there is always a thing!) that is stopping you from picking it back up? This is the feeling you get when you think about finishing that project. That procrastination. That hesitation and excuses. That feeling of ‘I would rather clean toilets than write this’. That fear is a paralytic rather than a rocket fuel. Once you identify what it is–write through it. This means –yes!–write scared. Once you work the fear, it goes away. The more you right, the less it will scare you. But you have to write.

Jumping Out The Plane. Simply put? Finish it. What you have found, what drew your eye and attention, finish it! Let the characters find their exit, their punishment, reward or happily ever after. Writing is an extreme sport sometimes–so get to it! The free fall is crazy, because you don’t know where you will land. Your imagination is the rip cord and parachute. You can do it! You can finish it! Jump!

There is a power to breaking that wall, fellow Oracles. There is a power in confronting the fear, dear ones. Get your parachute (your work in progress or incomplete draft), and jump out the plane.

The world is waiting on you.

Encouragement Pages-01/29/2020

Self-rejection is a slow poison.

It is a poison whose apothecary is familiar. Whom is familiar with their victims as well as their enemies.

But what happens when they are one and the same?

Every time you reject a story, a portion of your imagination vanishes. Every time you scrap a story because you’re scared to write it, more of you vanishes.

Rage against the dying of the light.

Poison is for those dying or marked for death.

Writing is a source of life.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-01/27/2020

Writing is a strange alchemy.

This pulling something out of your head to a seeing world is still mystical. Still a wonder. Never be so cocky to think writing is “easy.”

There are some who wish the gift would come back—only to be greeted with barren imaginations…and tears.

Humility is some times the best coin of the realm.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-01/24/2020

Be gentle with yourself today.

The work in progress is called this for a reason. The progress in this work can be incremental—but do it. No matter how small or insignificant.

Do the work.

Happy, loud or sad, but do it.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-01/22/2020

Shameless plug to remind you to read.

Writers are readers, inquisitive about the world around them so they can create another. If you’re stuck in process of creating an WIP and become discouraged, take a break. Fill up that blank time with a book.

Sometimes the words of others, stir our own.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-11/18/2019-The Wisdom Of James Arthur Baldwin (1)

I am a fan of James Baldwin. And adamant follower of his gift, life and teachings. From that well of wealthy knowledge, I remind you as a writer, just as Baldwin would:

Do you work.

Your writing is your work. It is your job as a waking recorder of the world, to report what you see.

Do it crying, flinching or screaming. But do it.

That is your job…and no one can do it for you.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-08/09/2019-For The Novices

Today, I want you to do the scary thing: begin.

I want you to stop talking about your idea. I want you to stop ‘rolling it around in your head.’ I want you to stop talking about ‘what you will do when you get time.’ Today, begin.

Start.

Commence.

Trust yourself enough, if just today, give yourself permission to start. Give yourself the freedom to express what is in your head. Give yourself the respect of your own thoughts–and write them down.

Start, dear ones.

If you can think it up, you can write it down.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Shameless plug: If you need more help and encouragement, make sure you follow The Writer’s Block wherever you get your podcasts (Anchor, Spotify, Google Play, Apple Podcast). Start from the beginning, and then start your own. -JBH

Announcements & Encouragements

I have been a strong believer in the power of ink and paper.

And for that cause, twice a week I will be doing an Encouragement Page. These pages will be posted here with a corresponding link, to the video. And of course on the official Facebook page. Follow that space by clicking here.

These pages will be handwritten, and meant to be a support on your writing journey! You will be able to share these video and save them. Posting days for these pages will be Mondays and Thursdays.

Every writer needs a tribe, and encouragement to keep going. Consider this your oasis in your writing journey.

You can do it!

Bend The Pages.

-JBHarris

Silent Murder: Why You Must Kill Your Darlings

Image result for stephen king writing quotes

In Stephen King’s book, On Writing*, he makes mention of a secret tool of writing a novel–the tool was actually given by his wife, Tabitha. I believe that he was writing  his book Desperation. With Tabitha being his sounding board and beta reader, she made mention of a part of the story she wasn’t really concerned about because it took away from the main story. Stephen King calls this, ‘murder your darlings.’

The darling of a story is something of a side quest. The darling is something of the story that you add, it could be history, backstory or even perspective, which can almost take over a story–leading your reader down a path the original story was never supposed to have.

This happens often, more often than you may believe! However, as a writer, you must be ruthless when it comes to telling your story. It is you who guides the reader down the path you want them on. The darling of the story, unless you want to make this an object of a story later, you will have to kill–for the sake of the story.

In killing this darling, remember these keys:

  • Keep in mind the story you are writing (Genre, especially)
  • Plot (What is going on and where is everyone going?)
  • Conclusion (Where are we ending up?)

Remember, you are in control of the written worlds you create. In crafting a story, you must understand that it is you whom dictates the sway of your reader. Tell us where to go, what to do and where to go next. If all else fails, write a trilogy.

Happy writing!

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

*-On Writing is a book written by Stephen King in 1999. I rarely throw my entire weight behind a book, but this is one of those books. As a writer, this book is a reference material in my career, and an anchor as I continue writing. In writing, it is often lonely and frustrating–this book is a beautiful reminder of that; as well as the awesomeness being a writer holds.

[image from Google/Pintrest]

The Stutter: What Happens When the Words Don’t Sound Right?

There is a madness in writing that is not found in any other profession.

The profession by nature is madness! You take what is in your head, a thing unseen or unknown to other people, and translate it to words. This at times, in the effort of being honest, is hard.

It’s hard because thoughts are fluid, they are invisible, they exist only in the mind of the person that has them. Which is made crazier when you have to make these thoughts relevant to other people–who aren’t or will never be in your head.

What’s to do, right?

Give up?

Ignore this screaming ideas in your head?

No.

Write them down. Let the thoughts out. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense to you at present. Don’t worry about syntax, spelling and cohesion just yet.

The goal in times like this is to release the thought into words. This is how you overcome what I like to call the stutter.

The Stutter is what every writer experiences one time or another. It’s the feeling that doesn’t let what is in your head get to your hand. It’s not a crisis of confidence, it’s translating.

The cure? Writing!

You cure the stutter by writing! You free write, you write drafts, you edit, but by no means do you surrender to the stutter. You take it hostage and make the stutter into story. You write it into submission!

Go forth and write…no more stuttering!

[image from Google]