No writing journey is, should be, is a planned to be linear! Time is relative in the life of a writer. It, too, is a tool. It needs to be something you do because you love to do it, or because you have a plethora of things to say! Either way, you are writing BECAUSE you have something to say.
Self-rejection as an artist can be cyclic, triggered by situations and our own mental health! Recognizing what contributes to your writing journey (or lack of one), is imperative to your success as a writer! This journey will be demanding. It will be challenging. It will be rewarding and satisfying as you take the time to cultivate it!
Be gentle with yourself.
Be accountable to yourself.
Remember you write for yourself first. Don’t deprive you, of YOU.
Hopes and wishes do not fill pages, Oracles. Wishes are what we write down in order to fulfill them. Writing is equal parts talent and decision. Put both of those together today, right now and fill pages.
There is a magic to revisiting what you have created. There are some of us whom do this work, practice this craft, know that not everything can be written, and not everything can be seen either. But you have to know that what you have on you head–it will eventually find its way out of it.
There is this concept of a draft-drawer I heard Anne Rice speak about during one of her Facebook Live sessions. She said that she doesn’t toss work away–she saves it! She saves it because it may be needed for something else.
It may be backstory for something else; the original idea can be reworked (Christopher Rice said he remembered the novel we know as The Witching Hour being a totally different permutation before the finished work); the work can be used to be a subplot–but nothing needs to be thrown away! The map to the work you need to write–is in your hands.
The drafts are maps! No good explorer or adventurer throws away their map! Writing is one of those careers where mapping, where recording is one of the ways by which the work is completed. And the work must be completed!
Do not be afraid of the work ahead, Oracles. Do not be afraid of what you must do, must get out of you, and what you are excited about! Writing is hard enough! There are some work you will do which will require a map–don’t sell yourself short.
I love a good brainstorm! This is when all your creative energies surface together and crash into your imagination. It allows you to test your imagination’s limits–and stretch it in ways you had not thought about before.
A brainstorm is a writer’s best friend.
With any storm, they seem to come out of nowhere, and are more powerful than thought. You must remember that you wield the wind and rains which come in these storms. They should never overwhelm you, startle you or through you off balance!
Brainstorming is different from “The Flow” because the source is different. Brainstorming is internal while “The Flow” is external. Brainstorms come out of the blue, while “The Flow” has to be experienced, tapped into even. It’s a current more, while a brainstorm is a circuit. Embrace that and channel it.
Through this month, I have done all I can in this space to remind you of the power you have and can harness to go in the world and create. I hope you do so. -JBHarris
Think if your newest project like a candle. With that image, remember this. For a candle to do all that it must, it must realize that it is a candle: not a door, window or can opener. It is a candle. So, light it. Let me explain how.
The Spark. This is the beginning of the work, this is where you start to write. This is where the ‘new thing’ has taken shape. You have garnered up enough moxie to write. Regardless of genre, regardless of length of story, you are writing, you are beginning. You are beginning! For this, it might seem the most impossible–but the scariest is always right before you begin. The spark–your spark–is the beginning.
The Fire. Oh! This is when you have embarked on the journey to write. And continue writing! This is where the power of time and imagination converge to allow you to create universes, people, theories and anything your mind demands! The beautiful thing about all this? Fire can be channeled! You can push it as hard, as fast, and as deep as you want to! Write while the motivation is there! Write while the iron is hot! Write when you cannot contain the words, so they can spill onto the page! Write to contain the fire! The fire is what you control.
The Light. This is what happens when the work is done. When you have completed your draft, and you can take a deep breath. You now have proof of what you have carried on the inside of your imagination in a physical form. You will be holding the thing which you thought was on only a dream. You can see it. You can print it. You can submit it. And for that, this is a reason to be proud. Light is the evidence a fire is burning.
You, my dearest Oracles, are the possessor of all these elements. You. No one else. As I leave you for this month of April, I remind you of the words of Audre Lorde.
I am fond of saying that every idea is a spark. From that ‘spark’ anything can be added to make a fire. That fire, that heat, that light–this is the what we chase, my Oracles. This fire is what we create and chase and feed! Don’t dismiss that.
I need you to under as a writer to remember one thing: you control the fire! You control what it burns, how hot it burns, how long it burns! You control this! Meaning: what do you need to start? What new thing are you shying away from due to the heat which would follow?
Those things need to be explored. They need to be examined. They need to be found! They need to be written about. Start a fire, my Oracles. Start it, and be warmed by it. From that warmth, set the world ablaze!