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!

Doing The Groundwork: Why Workshops Are Necessary

To date, I have spoken at length about what it means to attend a writing retreat. I understand, though, not everyone is able to attend on of these. I mean it is a pandemic on top of everything else! But, there is a high chance, dear Oracle, budding/indie writer that you can attend a workshop! And here are some reasons why you should:

1. Cost. Depending on the length of the workshop, topic and genre, it may be entirely more affordable and feasible to attend a workshop than a retreat. If you can spend $100 on an hour workshop than $300 on a retreat–where you may sleep rather than write!–spend less money.

2. Location. It’s the pandemic! Not a lot of people are traveling for these types of artistic ventures. But, there may be a writers’ workshop that you can be apart of that meets locally or virtually! There as a writer’s workshop that I used to attend that was hosted by my girl Amanda Wells that met once a month! In her space, she offered snacks, gave a space to write and a place to just decompress to write! And it was free! Look for these types of supportive places in your city. Social media is a great place to look (Facebook, especially!).

3. Learning and Networking. Sometimes writing can feel as if you are atop a mountain with no way to get to the village below. Workshops foster writing in community! Workshops encourage writers to bounce ideas off one another, gather support and even become aware of those that write the same genre as you do!

Don’t dismiss the opportunity to build out your writing network! You would will never know whom you might need, whom might need you and what opportunities may be garnered because you were at the right place at the right time.

#HappyWriting!

Retreat Or…Retreat?

 I am both a fan and suspicious of writing retreats. I believe in the right context these types of investments are invaluable. As a writer, you must understand that is only one component of your hobby or career. The mechanics and development of your skills as a writer are totally dependent on your willingness to take them both seriously. This can be something as simple as learning a word a day to build your vocabulary, or following your favorite writing/writer-focused podcast (shameless plug for THE WRITERS’ BLOCK on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify! Check for the red and black logo!). But,  the cool think about retreats are they provide a way to build your writing community as well! These groups and collectives can be your secret weapons to keep you motivated to write! The best thing about workshops is how they can be so specific! There is a retreat or a workshop for any and every part of writing! For every genre, every struggle, every hang-up, and every resource! There is a retreat! Don’t discount the importance of your writing community! Being a writer does not make you omniscient to all things writing related–or impervious to criticism! The reason I am and can be suspicious of writing retreats is because they can be money grabs, and or totally unhelpful! If you spend your hard earned money on something that will help you, there is an expectation that you will get a desired outcome! There are some facilitators of these workshops or retreats whom have no idea how to facilitate them! Or prepared to answer any questions! Cardinal rule of searching out workshops and retreats is to do your research on the facilitator! Email them and ask questions! You are a writer as well as a consumer! Don’t be caught in a space where you have invested time, energy and money and come out worse for wear. Be careful, my oracles. Be wise. Be careful. Invest wisely in the development of your craft and career. The responsibility of the development of your craft is up to you.

Encouragement Pages-10/2/2020

I want you to understand that you are in charge of your imagination. You tell it what to do, where you want to go, and what you need the story to say!

You are the writer. You control this world, because you created it.

Create in confidence and write in power.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-06/17/2020

What are you waiting for?

There is a need within you to write, so why on Earth are you ignoring it? You have worlds within you waiting to be shown and explored!

Be brave and explore them…one word at a time.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

The Power Of A Brainstorm

Brainstorm.

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.

You will never regret that.