Plath was one of the original “confessional poets,” and her poetry, at first, was not well received. Her poetry, however, spoke to many. Much love for the Plath!
Plath was one of the original “confessional poets,” and her poetry, at first, was not well received. Her poetry, however, spoke to many. Much love for the Plath!
There’s a theory that we don’t fear failure, we fear success.
A researcher gave graduating students an impromptu essay prompt: “After finding out Joe/Jane aced their medical exams for graduation, he/she …..”
It’s reported that the vast majority of students set up a scenario in which Joe or Jane went out and partied, got in some sort of trouble, an accident, arrested, or in some cases just gave up and “decided to do something else with their lives.”
The researchers decided this was not an indication of the fear of failure, because they’d set up a scenario in which the person(Joe/Jane) had already succeeded, yet the students then wrecked the plan. Therefore, they surmised it a fear of success.
This possible fear of success comes from anxiety, which is rampant in society today. People stay where they are comfortable, where they are familiar, and their habits serve them. Moving on to the next level, success, will bring about different challenges, and the fear of the unknown wins out.
It occurs to me that this happens to writers. People write, and write, and write, but then don’t submit. Is it really the rejection they fear? or is it the success? Think of all the anxiety that comes with the next level of publishing. You’ll be expected to do well, to do it again. And, what else might change?
What do you think? What do you fear?
Scientists have discovered some foods are better for creativity than others. Some of those foods, Avocados, Coconuts, and Almonds have a high fat content but with what is often referred to “healthy fats”, which creates feelings of happiness and the desire to act.
I do notice that my flow is much better when I keep a healthier diet, and I do eat these types of foods pretty regularly.
Do you notice any difference in your creative juices depending on what you eat? If you never paid attention before, try it. Let me know if you sense a difference.
I’ve begun procrasti-writing.
That’s where you write, check social media, write, check email, write, look at the book sitting next to you, write, take your dogs outside. Writers know what I’m talking about.
I’m usually pretty good about sitting my butt in the chair and staring at a blank screen until the power to make words appear overcomes me.
Writing is somewhere between a mystical experience and an un-tameable superpower.
Not really – it’s just hard work.
Maybe it’s the holidays, or the construction, or the baby-waiting game, but I am fighting inner-distraction at all angles.
I’ve also searched for church conversions on google. Don’t ask me why – it’s procrasti-writing. And Google is there allowing me to search anything my heart desires.
Remember the good old days, no internet, television turned to white noise at 2am, had to walk ten miles in the snow, uphill, both ways, then read books for actual research? And now, we sit at home, go no where, search google and amazon for random distractions, while not writing.
Ways to overcome procrasti-writing?
Use yoga techniques: When your attention strays, acknowledge it (close your browser), and come back to your breathing (which for a writer is writing).
Acknowledging that this Wednesday Writer Blog is a Thursday Procrasti-writing distraction, I leave you now to go back to my book.
Much love, readers and writers.
I hate when men write
soft poetry about their ex’s.
It’s easier to read the hate
than to let your mind wonder
“what went wrong?”
It’s easier to hear, I don’t love
than to hear I love you, but…
and the thousand buts
that say you just didn’t add up.
I mean she…
back to the poet with the soft poetry
and the lost wife.
He writes it, not to her,
but for himself,
to remind himself
of what he let go,
the additions he didn’t add in
when he was subtracting
all she didn’t have.
All the things he didn’t have
all the while he’s telling himself
he was right
to let her go
when he did
because things would have gotten worse
had they not parted before the math was done.
At least this way he can ruminate,
look back fondly and say,
we parted as friends,
I departed quietly to search for something more,
she just got hurt.
*originally published in the Northridge Review 2002.
This was written long ago, while I was finishing graduate school. I think it’s still so relatable. One person is always ready to go before the other. One person walks away, the other crawls. (But don’t worry – the one who crawls gets up, becomes stronger, and thrives!)
Much love, readers.
Two are Better Than One; Tips for a Successful Co-Author Partnership
When you meet the one, it all falls into place. You no longer have to carry the burden alone. The workload is shared, you encourage each other through the tough times and celebrate successes together. With the right partner, co-authoring can be an incredible experience that fuses the synergy and talents of two writers into creating one cohesive book.
About a year ago, I was talking with my writing friend Chuck. One of us (I don’t remember who) brought up the idea of writing something together. We both got excited and started discussing what we should write. He typically writes fantasy novels and I write nonfiction, short fiction and children’s books. Even our writing styles were (and still are) worlds apart, but that didn’t stop us. We both felt this could work. Not because of what we had written in the past, but because of us. Or personalities, work ethic and most of all our ability to trust one another to get the job done right.
We took a strategic approach when choosing a genre to write and researched the top selling creating cohesive self-published books. According to Author Earnings, in 2017 romance had the second highest number of ebooks sold, right below literature & Fiction. We also learned that romance readers go through books like potato chips, self-published authors in this genre do well and series sell better than single titles. It wasn’t long before we decided to commit to a three-book romantic comedy series, under the pen name, C.K. Wiles, to see what would happen.
We fell easily into a system that works for us. Chuck and I would brainstorm the story idea together, which is a fun, creative part of the process. Chuck then creates a detailed outline of the story that we then go over together to make sure everything is there. He then takes off and starts writing. After he gets a few chapters completed, he begins sending them to me. I then go through to add more emotion, fill in any holes in the storyline and tighten the writing. Once he has sent me everything, I send the edited chapters back to him so he can make final adjustments and we talk through any areas that need more work. We both read it through one more time before sending the finished manuscript to a copy editor.
While our writing system made the process smooth, we found many components that make a co-author partnership successful.
Know Your Strengths
Each writer brings his/her own strengths to each book project. Figure those out early and embrace them. This is less about making sure tasks are equally divided and more about working with your strengths to ensure you publish the best book possible. Chuck is a fast fiction writer and not a fan of developmental editing. I am a slow fiction writer, but I love taking a rough draft of a manuscript and molding it into a great story. This works well for us and we can typically get a book finished in a little over two months. When it comes to the publishing aspects, I take the lead on that since I have experience in that area. We hire out the covers and copy editing, but I am able to format the books (print and ebook) and upload them into the various platforms.
Trust Each Other
Find someone who you respect as a writer and are confident in their skills. Chuck and I knew each other for years and provided feedback and critiques on each other’s work. I value his opinion and suggestions with my writing, so I knew before forming this partnership that I could work with him and vice-versa. When it comes to co-authoring, this trust is crucial. You have to be confident that you and partner have the same goals and visions for the book. Then allow each other the freedom to make changes and adjustments to produce the best book possible. There will be times when you disagree, and that’s ok. Talk through them and come up with a solution you can both live with.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
When you are working with a co-author, you have to let go of your ego. The whole goal is to create a book you are both proud of and you are happy to have your name (or pen name) associated with it. Chuck and I have different writing styles, but with our co-authored books, our writing melds together to create a new, unique voice. It is not about, “this is mine” and “that is yours,” it is seeing it as “ours.” If we got caught up in claiming different parts as our own or not being willing to work as a team to create the best book possible, we wouldn’t get anything finished.
Because of our effective partnership, we achieved our goal of publishing three books in our Curtain Call series. We have enjoyed our co-author experience so much, we are moving forward together with other writing projects as we work to market our series and get those books into the hands of readers. Co-authoring can be amazing with the right person. If this is something that interests you, take the time to find another writer you trust, one whose strengths and weaknesses compliment yours and one who is ok checking egos at the door. Then you will enjoy a synonymous relationship where you can create literary art as one.
BONUS: As a thank you, click here for a free digital copy of, Showtime Rendezvous.
Kerrie Flanagan is an accomplished freelance writer with over 20 years’ experience. She is thrilled to be writing romantic comedies with her favorite writing partner, Chuck Harrelson. Together, under the pen-name, C.K. Wiles, they are the authors of Showtime Rendezvous, Stage Bound and Bared Secret. In addition, Kerrie is the author of, Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing and 8 other books published under her imprint, Hot Chocolate Press.
You can listen to this episode of the Stark Reflections Podcast where Chuck and Kerrie talk more about their co-author experiences.
I don’t like the word “can’t.”
I don’t like people telling me I can’t do something. I’ve experienced some person or another throughout my whole life telling me I can’t do this or I can’t do that. For too many years, I believed them.
Now, it just annoys me.
I made a goal to write six short stories in a month. Someone, another writer, said, “You can’t do that.” Their point: writing must organically develop from inspiration, forcing it unnaturally would create work which was unpublishable.
Three of those six stories have already been published. Can’t? HA!
I spend time on photography, just because I like it. Unasked, another person inserted their opinion: “You can’t do that!” They had the idea that a person can only be good at one creative pursuit and I shouldn’t waste my time on another. I took up photography for the pure joy of capturing visual beauty, but I’ve had a number of photographs published now too!
Why are people so wrapped up in “can’t”?
Some people judge themselves based on how they know you. When you change or move forward or do something they never thought you would or could, it changes how they see you and, therefore, how they see themselves.
Others have limited views of what they can accomplish and, therefore, what anyone can accomplish, so they believe their guiding you away from an upcoming failure.
Whatever their reasons, never let anyone keep you from spreading your wings, doing what you want, need, must do to achieve what you want.
Writers must be brave. Depart from the naysayers and live your fullest life. Travel. Love. Experience. Write. Try something new.
Do not listen to the “can’t”!
Chatting with my students, I reminded them I didn’t have google nor a cell phone and, if I needed to look up information, I had to walk to the library and figure out the card catalogue. (Of course, I added the obligatory “walk ten miles in the snow up hill both ways”).
One said, “Wow, you must have been so bored.”
I smiled a moment, thinking back. “Actually, I wasn’t.”
While I’m sure there were times I spent an afternoon whining about boredom, we learned to do things to entertain ourselves. And, well, mostly mine was writing.
I don’t think I’d be a writer today if I had a cell phone, a computer, and google. I think I would be, like many people today, too distracted to focus on creating other worlds and investigating the motivations of people/characters.
I worry my students are too distracted to become the best people they can be or do the best work they can do.
I’m not a troglodyte by any means; however, will we ever be as productive as we can be if we don’t learn to look too quickly for outside entertainment instead of within ourselves to be creative?
I guess I’m saying, boredom can be good for you. Daydreaming, thinking, and spending an afternoon lounging without distraction can be helpful to a writer. We need to allow our minds wander sometimes, see where they go; keep your mind from distraction, turn off the tele, the cell, the computer, and be inhibited by the lack – your mind will rebel and it will begin to create.
In a writer’s group, I asked a specific person how one would use a certain program. They responded with, “I’d be glad to show you; my rates are very reasonable.”
I was shocked into silence. I asked a simple question, and they wanted to charge me for their answer?
But, then again, they have the right to earn a living by selling their knowledge.
How often have I given my knowledge for free? I could charge, I thought, for all the information and skills I’ve accumulated over the years.
But – wait a minute – writers really don’t make that much money, and we’re all struggling in the same boat of trying to get our books, articles, short stories, or other out there to larger audiences.
Think of being on a life-raft and you are the one who has the clean water, or maybe the secret to cleaning the water, would you really sell it to another passenger? Some people would.
There’s a story from a Gladwell book about how post-its came about. (To simplify:) One worker in the paper department bumped into someone from their glue department, they both talked about what they were working on and the problems there were having. If only we could…. and boom – two collaborators came up with an idea worked together to bring that to fruition by sharing their expertise and invented something we all use (and made billions for 3M!). Companies like 3M, Apple, Google, and others now use that theory to come up with new ideas, products, and solutions for every day problems!
When we all work together, we all become better humans. I want to share my ideas and experiences and share other writer’s with you, other ideas with everyone who desires to listen.
I have a job; I have many jobs. I’m not about to take advantage of others who are students in life or in writing and try to make a buck from them. I’d rather share my knowledge. I’d rather help my fellow passengers on this journey.
Thanks to all who have shared their knowledge with me. Thank you to those writers who give of themselves and their resources to make a better writing community.
When we work together, we can all benefit.
Sometimes, I wish I was the driver of the Karma truck. But, I suppose, being a writer is better. Still have the problem of sitting too long, but we get to exact revenge too. The best kind of revenge – in print.
Many years ago, sharing some big life altering event with a friend, she responded, “I guess these things happen to you because you’re a writer.”
Of course, life awry, I didn’t think this is the best response a friend could give – but, then again, maybe it was. Because it’s true.
What writer hasn’t written the demise of someone who’s wronged them?
We writers have a way of writing life into our fiction. We work out our demons, our personal challenges, and by putting it out there in our fiction (or even in our creative nonfiction), we do one better than reap revenge, we are relieved and we are relatable to others who have gone through similar situations or similar emotional upheavals.
Recently, my life became vexed by a certain set of people and circumstances which caused great stress and loss (how’s that for vague?); and true to form, one of my writer friends said, “sounds like a great book!”
It damn well does.
But, first, I had to roll my eyes and throw back my head. I just wanted some sympathy, some empathy. But she gave me more than that – she gave me purpose, building from ashes, and a way for me to transmit sympathy to another by relating to a scenario which many of us have experienced. (I know, still too vague.)
However, the tragedy still fresh and the skin still tender, I’ve written on outline and will start on the book when the callous scars over and the sensitivity has dulled.