“Oh I don’t know where it is, Jane. You put the body there last time.”
Challenge: Tell a story in one short dialogue chunkette.
“Oh I don’t know where it is, Jane. You put the body there last time.”
Challenge: Tell a story in one short dialogue chunkette.
I’ve been debating releasing a collection of erotic poetry I’ve been adding to for the past…nine years? And as I’ve been thinking about it I wondered..do you guys buy poetry? I do on occasion, but more and more I have begun to wonder if poetry only sells if you are lucky enough to end up in the New York Times. Plenty of other writers have had success as poets, and poetry publishers.
Nikki Grimes,whose published 50 books over the course of 30 years, had a pretty honest perspective about selling poetry that I find very realistic:
To be fair, if you are a poet, it is highly unlikely that you will become wealthy working in this genre, no matter how well you hone your craft. That much is true. But chances are, you already know that. I would wager that most writers, keen on this particular genre, aren’t looking to make a killing in the marketplace. They simply have a penchant for the lyrical line, and a passion for metaphor. Like me, they pen poetry because they, quite frankly, can’t help themselves. Poetry is in them. It’s part of their DNA. Poets don’t value their work in terms of fiscal weight, and that’s where we differ from agents and editors.
No one alive should ever expect to break bank via publishing. It’s just not how it goes, but you can be comfortable. Besides poetry is about the feeling, the intent, and inspiring others to feel and see in new exciting ways. But here is the catcher. I am a poet who likes to have food and ,ya know, live.
As I’ve researched poetry publishing it is becoming clear that it’s a gamble, no one knows either way how it could go, but ya know what? Don’t act like you’ll make money. Act like you’ll do what you love. That’s…hard to do sometimes.
Still the world would be lesser for a lack of poetry than an overabundance. Poetry, like music, can do things in a line that thousand page novels fail to do in 400 pages not because those 400 pages are ineffective, but because the minimalist nature of a poem can do things in ways novels simply can’t do. In that way poetry offers an exceptional learning opportunity for writers of all kinds…which I will detail in my next post. For now let me say that poetry is incredibly important for writers to read and comprehend. You don’t have to like all poetry, but reading a diversity of poetry can sharpen your skills at conveying feeling, producing imagery, and understanding line structure.
I am proud to say I write great dialogue because I read and wrote poetry starting from 10 years old. Actually maybe even younger I remember reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at some point with my mother’s help. How did poetry help me write dialogue? A good insult should be as sharp as a good poem and just as heavy with the punctuation. A proclamation of love that, I believe, has the most effect can be as simple as one line when you craft to context well. Poetry has done a lot of me as a writer, as a human being, and I know I’m not alone.
So why do we let it go so under appreciated? Why do people hesitate to spend $5 on a book of poetry that could effect them as deeply as 400 pages? Times are tough for many people. Yet even still there is so much we could do if we embraced poets more.
No one should ever expect to get rich off of writing. If you read those “I made a Bajillion $$$ Writing Ebooks” articles and believed them I’m sorry. There’s a reason a ton of those articles reference Stephen King or J.K Rowling, and not hundreds and hundreds of other writers. There’s a million of us. Yes, some are better than others, but this field must be about passion. Whether you write to market or no you must display some kind of passion because $$$$ doesn’t just fall into your lap; because you may write 30 good books before ever making $500; because so many authors haven’t been “discovered” until after their deaths. Writing is a cold hard mistress, and I’d say poetry holds a steel tipped whip.
But we can make it softer.
If we consume each other. If we’re willing to take that risk and buy a random book of poetry, if we’re willing to say our emotional and mental labors are worth something.
We have to create and contribute to the market as both buyers and writers. We have to recommend books and poets to build excitement and appreciation for poetry.
Check out my two releases:
Writing can be a very good distraction from life. That can also be a bit of a problem, but right now I find it to be rather enjoyable. When you write it allows you to step away from yourself even if you’re right about you. Your just surrendering to the moment and the act of creating something wonderful. There is nothing more awesome than the exchange of ideas and we’re lucky to live in an age where we can do it from virtually anytime or anywhere. Since about 2pm I’ve been reading different articles on writing and marketing on different blogs. It’s been very enlightening and I’ve realized that writing is a source of power when used correctly. Regardless of what you write you begin to step away and just go for your thoughts and getting them down on paper or screen. You manage to keep yourself going. Lately I’ve been struggling with my life. I’m not unique. I won’t claim I anything is special about me. I’m smart. I’m talented. And unfortunately that isn’t enough. It doesn’t matter how hard I work or for how long. Sometimes life just doesn’t go in your favor or how you plan. That’s not sad. It is just life, and our goal is to take a step towards what we want with every single day. I got rejected from two literature magizines and the Bitch Media internship I applied for, but does that mean I am bad at what I do? Not at all. What it means is those things didn’t come through. Nothing’s changed and I just have to keep trying. I write. I spend hours on reading marketing, reading in general, and then I spend at least three hours a day writing.
It is a great distraction.
I create worlds and build characters. I make epic action scenes and intensely romantic works that make me smile, and I hope you smile one day. I’ve accomplished a lot in the last two months. Suffer too Good and Dirty Honey were written and published. I have a few older stories I’m slowly working through. I’ve edited stuff for another author. I’ve been trying to engage more with the world around me and that makes a difference. Depression doesn’t always care, but all of that means something in holding back the tide. I just wish I had a few more bucks in my pocket, but don’t we all.
A lot of times I hesitate in posting these reflections because so often people look at millennials and call us complainers because we should just swallow everything and pretend things are fine. But truthfully I guess I don’t care. If I’m being wholly honest I only care to preserve my image. Yet I will say here I do feel like I’m standing in a realm of possibilities without any chance of getting to move towards any of them. College debt, lack of job prospects, my current job not actually letting me work, and my floundering sales do a lot to damage my sense of self both as a person and a writer. Worse they make me feel unstable. Sometimes I wonder if I should just call it quits. Not because this is hard, but because I don’t know how long I can live with the state of things because I don’t know if anything I’m doing is worth a damn. No one really does know until someone else tells them, and they say the definition of sanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, which sucks because writing is a repeatable practice. The best writers can do is try and recognize that we could be the next Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, or Arthur Miller but never get our break. BUT we could. Any day now someone can swoop in and pick up your book, click your blog, or hear about your journey….and turn you into the next big thing. Someone could find value in all that you do, and that can revolutionize your entire life.
I hope for being seen, read, and loved. Any writer who tells you they don’t want that is a damned liar and you can tell them I said that. We write to connect if not with others than ourselves. The irony of that is that is what makes writing such a great distraction. Regardless of whether I get my big break or make some cash to pay for my studies I will always hold a pen in my hand. So I work on building my character, my life, and my world into a better place and me into a better self. Writing allows me to think both in and outside myself. It allows me a distraction from the crippling doubt and the depression that makes me wish I wasn’t going to wake up tomorrow. When I can’t sleep from the thoughts in my head I distract myself with stories and writing. The worst nights and days are the ones where that doesn’t work, but luckily those are few and far between. In today’s world every person has to be there best advocate, their best friend, their kindest listener, and in world of creatives their strongest mentor. More than all of that we have to be willing to distract ourselves with our writing because that keeps us going. It pushes us to evaluate, to debate, to think critically, and hopefully come to understand our best assets.
As time goes on I hope to find my place in the world. I don’t want to be rich. I just don’t want to stay poor. I don’t want to be happy. I just want to be content. Until I am able to get to a place where those things I want come true all I can do is write and pray for the best. We all must push forward….the problem is knowing where forward is and how to get there. That’s what no one ever tells you.
Can you believe in yourself while acknowledging your limitations? I think a lot of people assert that you cannot when the reality is, so long as we are fair and compassionate to ourselves, we truly can. We often forget to be kind to ourselves because we notice our flaws more than we ever realize. We must accept critique with grace, but remember to never let those critiques define us or undermine our self-confidence. No one is perfect, and we must not only recognize that, but accept it as part of our reality as we grow as people. It is hard, but the effort is worth it.
I am really interested to hear what people are writing about these days?
What type of writing? What genre? What themes? What message? What stories?
Let’s get together and #support each other by sharing what our current projects are?
I’m waiting excitedly!
As much as we love getting lost in the world of book romance and the fairytale life, there’s also nothing like a true committed real life romance. There are so many views on romance. Do you remember being younger writing in your diaries about everything you wanted in a partner? You would write out all […]
I found the perspective of this blog really fascinating, and I think as a romance writer I feel like this is real romance. I love grand sweeping stories, but these smaller events and mundane things are what make or break a relationship. We can pretend the jealous Ex or the family gets in the way 90% of the time…but 98% of the time it is how we live day to day, it is how we grow, and it is how we respond to our partners’ growth that determines how our romances unfold. In life and in writing this is something to keep in mind,
From the time we are born we are told to do our best even if we’re born into terrible circumstances our societies say, do your best. However their is a real genuine fear of failure and, more than that, a fear that what we write may be mocked. Those are two different things. We can think of one or two successful loved books that are mocked. Success is scary and writing adds an overwhelming amount of vulnerability. Whether your characters have nothing to do with you and they live on worlds that orbit stars beyond our comprehension you expose yourself by creating those things. You’ve spent so much of your life hearing you have to do your best. For younger writers we often hear that we have to do our best, and when we say its too much pressure we get called whiny. Either way we learn to fear failure.
When you were a child did you fear coloring outside the lines? Did you fear the way the pens and crayons seemed to defy your hand? Sometimes perhaps, but more often than not you enjoyed freedom to create. Somewhere a lot of people lose that to fear.
I found my own cure for fear. I know this will sound simple and crappy. I know its cliche. However once you actually believe this you see that this attitude is marvelous. It can’t conquer every fear, but it is a start. It can get you to pick up a pen. Here it comes:
If you never put a word to paper you will never create what you want. You will have already failed. If you create something then you never fail. It may not be what you wanted, or intended. It may be bad. It may be excellent. How will you know? You can’t until you begin. You can take your time. You can stretch out a project in fear. Lord knows I do. However so long as you try you are pushing yourself to the next level. Some days I can’t write a paragraph. So then I write words by hand. Fun fact writing by hand stimulates your brain more than typing in a different way(I’ll do an article on this soon), so by engaging with words in a different way I can begin to provoke thought. Written. Typed. Just quick words that pass through my mind. Sometimes they become simple poems because when you stop saying “I can’t write” or “I am afraid” and just write without pretense things get interesting. It feels like, and this is vulgar but true, like you’re brain was constipated, but now its relaxed and passed a little something even if it isn’t what it really needs to. That a bit freeing. That is a good start.
Our fears are natural, learned, and many. All we can do is our best at addressing them…sometimes it just means ignoring them as best we can.
I know you are a good writer. I know you can write. You aren’t a failure. You have plenty of reasons to be afraid and yet those reasons don’t outweigh the thousands of reasons you should be brave. Be brave. I hope I helped you a little. I hope maybe you will think about my words and not just assume they’re crappy nonsense. I truly mean every word. I hope that comes through. You deserve to be brave and move through fear. And…you can despite how it feels.