I’ve finished my Tana French detective series and didn’t want to go to bed without another book in hand. (Nevermind there are three on my bedside table).
I began browsing my bookshelf, which is semi-organized: books I’ve read and loved. Books I want to read. School books. Writing books. and, of course, Poe books
I also have something mixed in that would seem, at first glance, not to belong. Books on psychology, the law, philosophy. I assume many writer’s bookshelves are this way.
A writer needs a wide variety of knowledge.
I know we have google at our disposal; however, I find reading books about, for example, the Psychology of Marketing allows me to get an in depth look that a wikipage or a few short articles are not going to give me. This allows me to create a more realistic character or more thorough background to make the story more believable.
For West End, I needed to understand two things, the idea of an absent or unloving mother, and the different forms depression can take. Anxiety runs throughout my work from Of Strays and Exes to Life of Clouds – which features children affected in different ways by the disappearance of their father.
I’ve heard handymen say they are the jack of all trades. I think writers are akin to that. We need to learn many things in order to live many lives.
Billy Collins (poet) believes we must read to be influenced, and suggests young people mimic their favorite writers in order to develop their skills and to develop their own voice.
I think many young writers do this. It’s a natural form of development.
Other writers are afraid to read when they’re writing; they don’t want to be influenced. I think by the point you develop your own voice, you won’t so easily be influenced.
I think reading Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion was imperative for me to stumble across. I’d never attempted to intimate him – but he took my understanding of writing and voice to a whole new level. The storyline, the use of language, and the originality of his voice was unlike anything I’ve ever read and it blew my mind.
What reading Ondaatje did for me was to help launch my voice and style. I say this because at the time, I was mired in instructors and writers telling me no, no, no. They so strongly believed in their own way of doing things, they didn’t allow other writers to develop in other ways. It was limiting.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – read far and wide! Do not be afraid of being influenced – open yourself to learning something new!
What’s better than coffee? FREE COFFEE! Or coffee that someone else bought for you. And that’s what happened to me the other day. I ordered my coffee and the guy said – “On me – because you’re a great teacher!”
That coffee tasted better than any coffee I’d had of late.
So – for you – free reads.
Here’s a story of mine – originally printed in Avatar: All the Beautiful People.
And here’s some freebies from other authors: 23 Free Stories
If you’re a kindle subscriber, there are many more stories!
Creative blocks are brought on by various reasons.
Writers, poets, artists, musicians need to express themselves. Sometimes, something plugs our flow of creativity.
My friend and I have found release in other creative outlets. She took a watercolor painting class. She feared, at first, that she was taking away from her writing; however, what she found is that it opened her flow and she felt even more creative and was able to add even more to her usual creativity.
I take art and other classes on a regular basis. Most of the time their directly related to writing, but sometimes they are not – but they still feed my imagination and add depth to my writing.
The Healer’s Daughter will be released on May 15th in The Ear. This story came pouring out after a six week drawing class I took at a local museum/gallery. And… I feel like it’s one of my best, filled with color and meaning.
Shake something loose by trying another outlet. You may come back stronger and more creative than before.
The acceptance of being your own person, writing in your own style, not mimicking or falling in line.
I get a lot more rejections than I do acceptances, but I don’t dwell on the rejections.
There is an art to accepting or rejecting any work. And, although any acceptance is a happy occasion, a particular nice one such as this is always a joy to receive.
To update you on my publications of late –
Heaven’s Password is about a woman who finds herself in heaven, in a line reminiscent of the DMV, and is asked for a password. She’s not the most patient person and can’t remember ever setting up a password. Just like your bank account, you can’t get in without it! This was published in the The Survivor issue of P&G.
Bowie and the Basket Case is due out any day now from ID Press. When someone breaks into her house, Anna doesn’t readily find anything missing. But soon she realizes little things are disappearing and reappearing – is someone gas-lighting her?
The Healer’s Daughter was accepted by The Ear and will be out May 15th. Self explanatory title?
And finally, or so far, Voice of Eve has sent me the lovely acceptance above for my photography and three poems – as you’ve read – June 15th.
Thanks for reading, dear souls.
Wishing you much love and happiness.
Don’t read other words like a critic looking for the good, bad, and ugly. Read to discover what the author did well and how they did it.
This is reading like a writer, like a wordsmith.
Atwood says she will only review something if she likes it. She is not a critic and won’t write a bad review.
One of my friends told me he won’t even write a bad yelp review. He says, I praise those who deserve it, but it’s not my place to criticize.
I thought this was a great idea.
If you feel you must say something to alert other readers, then be honest and specific, but do add at least one good thing about the book, story, movie, service etc.