Encouragement Pages-01/20/2021: Dealing With Criticism

There is a dangerous in committing all criticism to heart. There is also danger in listening to all criticism. The goal of criticism is to critique, yes. But, let that be all it does: CRITIQUE.

Let it be motivating to examine your own work, to improve it and even to have you become stronger in it.

Let the critics do what they will. You do what you must: WRITE.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Book In A Year- Month 1 The Apprehension: Let’s Get Started

Let me off you this bit of encouragement: you have already done the hardest thing. The hardest thing that you have done, or will do, for this endeavor is start.

You started! At this point, accept the nerves that will come with this. Accept that the map is not completely laid, the ideas will stutter, and there may even be some days that you think you cannot do this. With you not believing you can’t go on or write another word–when the fear and apprehension try to take hold–do this: breathe.

As hard as it is, I want you to breathe. I want you to remember the thoughts you want to write are yours; the story is yours; the space is yours; you are still in control! Bear in mind the words of James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed unless it is faced.”

This is the fear you must face, and face down–this unknown. You must embrace this unsteadiness–it will pass. It will pass as you continue on. You can do it. Keep going.

Encouragement Pages-01/01/2021

Good Morning! This the first day of the new year and this year will be the focus of writing your book. No matter how long you have waited to write it, to matter how scared you have been to start it! This is safe space to get encouragement to write the story you want–like you want! Consider this your friendly reminder that your book isn’t going to write itself–and you must write it.

Good luck!

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Plant A Treasure Chest-Part 2

In Part 1, we talked about establishing a treasure chest, and what all goes into that. Now, we will discuss why those things are important–why that work was necessary! The work is necessary for organizing your thoughts, and keeping you on track for the project you desire. You have the space and time to do all you want–if you make space for it! The forethought and planning allows you to make space in your imagination for what you want–think of it as prepaying rent. In ‘prepaying’ it, you have decided to make the project you are working on not only a priority, but tangible! It is easier to write something that you have seen, than something that is still nebulous in your mind. All the research, images, and freewriting (even music!) helps to give shape to what was only an idea! But this is the purpose by which treasure chests are made–they are investments! They are a safe way to protect your jewels:  your ideas.  I am a believer that what you believe in, you will pay attention to and invest in. Open your treasure chests, dear ones. Fear not–you put time and effort into it. Since you did the work, reap the rewards of it–one word at a time.

Plant A Treasure Chest-Part 1

When I was a girl, I was fascinated by treasure chests. I was fascinated by how ornate they were, and what might be inside of them. Writers have treasure chests too! And the best part is we can create them, as well as fill them! So, the question remains this:  How does a writer create a treasure chest? This goes to the idea I spoke about on the podcast:  a draft-drawer.  A draft drawer if you remember is a digital file/physical file you keep all your writing in. However, in creating a treasure chest, you single out one piece of your writing that you are drawn to, but perhaps have not had time truly get back to. Your treasure chest allows you to build up and around this particular work. This could be pictures, sketches, even books with baby names! But the treasure chest is for your project, giving it space to grow and be there when you get to it! Every time that you add to it, you are making the decision as to the importance of this project–you are taking your story seriously. Meaning, you are taking your talent seriously. A treasure chest holds more than glittering items–they hold your future. Plan accordingly!

Encouragement Pages-12/16/2020

When you have established a routine for your writing, sometimes you will become inundated with ideas, concepts and thoughts about the work you are doing and want to do!

Now, you have to remember you can only do so much in 24-hour day! However, it is possible to write more than one work at a time–but you must understand this can only be done through planning. Catch the ideas that come randomly, especially if they appear more than once.

When you catch these ideas, you are honoring your time, your talent and the potential to continue writing even after this project is complete. Honor your talent and time–make it a habit.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Note: Watch for the podcast show “Two-In-One” on The Writers’ Block Podcast on December 17, 2020. Find us on Google Play, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Write It Down To Make It Happen!

There is no book that has been created that was not written, but there are many a book which has been lost because they were not written down. There is a wisdom in writing down your thoughts, even if you are unsure as to how the rest of the words will come about. Yet, they have to be written! Why would you cheat yourself out of your own creativity? Why would you decide to quit before you even start?

As a writer, you must decide what you want–do you want to wonder, or do you want to write? Do you want to create or do you want to fear creating? Both things cannot exist in the room of your imagination:  one will starve and die, and the other will blossom and grow! The simplest thing to do write down what is you want to create–even as simple as a title, a character name, or a place.

Don’t ignore those nudges to write down a piece of what your story requires! Be brave enough to catch the pieces as they come! Save them to your phone, text them to yourself or leave yourself a voice message! The crucial thing to remember is to not lose the pieces! These are pieces to what it is you desire to do. Do not neglect the pieces! It is due to and because of these pieces which make the worlds we create possible!

Catch the pieces, keep the pieces–start your worlds over again. I believe in you.

Theme For 2021: How To Write A Book In A Year

Writing is journey and writing a book at joyous (and ambitious endeavor)! And for the year of 2020, we are going to walk through writing a book. For 12 months, I am going to make it practical, accessible to write a book. These 12 themes will go from the apprehension to start a book, constructing a draft and starting the task towards (gasp!) publishing! Here are the topics:

January 2021: The Apprehension

February: Starting The Process

March: Maintaining Focus

April: The Importance Of Research

May: Traditional Books Vs. Ebooks

June: The Power Of The Draft

July: The Power Of A Re-Write

August: What Does It Mean To Rewrite?

September: At Peace With The Final Draft

October: The Fear Of “Too Much”

November: The Smooth Out

December: Pushing To Publish

These topics will be done in the format you all are used to here–every Tuesday, buffeted by the Encouragement Pages you love! I even have a plan for June 2021 (Psst: WRITING CONTEST!)! I look forward to this, dear ones. And so should you. Let’s get it: let’s write these books. I already believe in you!

The Power Of Planning

Now after the pace of NaNoWriMo, I’m sure that planning is the last thing that you desire to do. Yet, as a writer, this is what we do–often. Even when we don’t think about it! Planning is the thing that we do in order to make writing easier, stronger and less stressful! Planning is not a nebulous thing though, it requires tools and investment. Yes, investment. Planning takes many forms as well! This can be in the form of outlining, free writing and even a file to store research info! What I want to remind you of is this:  talent is not enough. Talent, no matter how great, still requires discipline and a map. Planning, no matter how minute, will give you a map! This map is needed to create what you need to write as you so desire. It allows you to use wisdom with a most valued commodity–time. If you decide to continue a project, or even begin one, and to adhere to deadline, you need a plan. Time is not always on a writer’s side, so you need to make it bend to your will–by pen and plan.

Study Your Craft: Take A Workshop!

I am a fan of workshops! They are a place of resources, networking and brainstorming. They are places where you can study, as well as participate. Think of workshops as a type of recess for your brain! Why is it recess? Well, recess is a time to play or exercise–workshops give that! They are places to allow you to learn, ask questions, get critique and network! How will you ever know what you are good at–or how to improve it!–if you never share what you are doing!

The greater thing about workshops is they are constructed to suit the needs of writers. Yes, there are the more traditional workshops that are scheduled according to the desire of a facilitator. Then, there are those workshops which are modeled more after an on-going group. Here, writers are given a safe space to be mentored, become mentors and to even receive guidance to be the writer they desire to become.

While the success of a workshop is subjective, it must be emphasized that success is determined by what you are willing to contribute to it.

Are you willing to ask questions?

Are you willing to admit that you don’t know everything?

Are you willing to try new things?

Are you willing to participate as well as be lead?

Are you willing to write–and even write beyond your comfort zone?

If you answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, then a workshop (either traditional or in a group setting) is just the tool you need to become the writer you dream of being. Find your tribe! Find your people and invest in your talent. After your find your people, make them read your stuff.