Staring at this computer screen I want to throw it across the room. The cursor blinking at me, accusingly, while writer’s block has me mentally paralyzed. Images flicker. Characters show glimpses of themselves but not enough to flesh out anything solid. It’s like they are taunting me. Laughing at my ability to capture them on paper.
I walk away from my laptop in frustration and turn on the television. Mindlessly flipping through channels, I stop at a home improvement show. One of those home fix and flip shows. At the first commercial break I shut the television off in irritation. Why can’t I write? What is blocking me from grabbing this story and putting it on paper?
Sitting back at my laptop, I stare again at the blinking cursor. Snatches of the argument I had earlier that morning surface in my mind. Defending my choices in life is tiring. Realizing that the time, money, effort and dedication I invested into my current relationship has not yielded the results that were advertised has left a bitter emotional residue. I’ve seen many quotes on Pinterest about life, one in particular, that if you don’t fail then you haven’t tried.
I get it. You have to fail a few times in order to get it right. I get it. I don’t like it. Relationships are not supposed to be a constant battle. Describing characters on a page should not be a battle either. Don’t they want their stories told? Glimpses. Flashes. But nothing concrete. Irritation. Anger. Frustration. Feelings of throwing out any idea of writing and turning to something, anything mundane but regular. But I know I won’t survive the mundane. I suffocate with monotonous routines. I hate feeling like I’m suffocating. I guess this is my caterpillar phase of life. My chrysalis is forming and I feel like I am suffocating under the current circumstances.
And my cursor continues to blink at me. Another glimpse of character. A whisper. This time a name: Virginia Slim. Who is Virginia Slim? What does Virginia Slim want? Where is Virginia Slim? When is Virginia Slim? Why the name Virginia Slim? Another glimpse. Sophistication. Business attire. Heels. Brown skin. So I know Virginia Slim is a woman. A business woman. A woman of color.
Okay, now we have something. Who is she? Where is she from? What does she want? What is her occupation? What are her goals? What is her motivation? I know her story will have some bumps in it because she is a woman of color. Who are her parents? What do they do for a living? What stories do they have to tell? Does she have siblings? Does she have close friends? Does she have any pets? Significant other(s)?
If she can show herself to me more solidly I can flesh out her story. Just from this it feels like an interesting one. Maybe NaNoWriMo will be up my alley this year after all. Stay tuned for updates on Virginia Slim. My cursor is still blinking but it’s not accusing me (much) any longer…
I just finished reading Mini Habits For Resilience by Tom Meitner on my way to my day job. He breaks down little ways we can develop a stronger resilience in our daily lives. I came across Tom’s book accidentally while searching for free books I could download for my children. (In case you are new to reading my words I am a word nerd, book nerd, however you’d like to describe it – I love books).
In life we tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else, especially when we fail to reach a goal we’ve set for ourselves. This book shed light on the truth of how set backs can effect our view of ourselves and our abilities. Tom also offered ways to build resilience so setbacks aren’t as devastating to our sense of ability and accomplishment.
I think everyone should read at least one self-help book a year to improve in an area of life you may feel needs sprucing up…
Too many times I have encountered individuals who behave as though only they have a right to exist on this planet. As big as this rock is… really? I can’t say I’m surprised with 45 fueling the flames. But I was inspired by the words I’ve been reading on here tonight. I wrote this poem, Black Without Apology, as an in your face call out to those who are closed-minded about anyone who is different:
Does my skin offend you?
Has my DNA mocked you?
Has my resilience taunted your very existence, pushing you to hate me?
Does my intelligence frighten
the very idea of your
subsistence on the degradation of my genetic make-up?
I guess nightmares and dreamscapes of terror
encourage you to intake artificial courage
to defile the image of my being
solely because you can’t bear
your child-mind of feeling inferior,
that gestating seed of uncertainty
that gnaws at your immorality
while you justify your (lack of) humanity
to your brotherhood of nonsensical brethren…
But I digress…
Your inability to come to terms with your ideas of the world
You ever have one of those days where you want to check out of adulthood and go back to childhood? Today was one of those days for me. But I started thinking about what I could do differently, given the chance to advise my younger self. So I created this of seven things I would tell my younger self.
Trust your gut. Your instinct will keep you alive because it’s the universe sending you signals. Trust the vibe the universe sends your way. Your gut instinct will direct you to (or away from) anything meant to help (or harm) you.
Laugh often. Laughter is healthy. Your laugh is unique to you, when you relax and be yourself.
You ARE beautiful. Hurt people hurt people. You can’t stop them from hurting, only they can decide when they’ve been hurt enough. Don’t allow anyone to dampen your shine.
Being intelligent is good. Having a love for learning and wanting more knowledge is not a bad thing to be punished for. Wanting to understand the world around you is the most beautiful thing. Keep learning.
Don’t give up. For anything that sparks your soul and gives you joy, hold on to it!
Get plenty of rest. You can’t enjoy life if you’re exhausted. Let tomorrow’s worries care for themselves… I’ve read that somewhere and it makes sense.
When you discover your true love, hold on with all of your might. It’s not often that people connect on multiple levels in a synchrony that mimics a musical dance, so when you do – make the most memories for as long as you can…
If you could go back and advise your younger self, what would you say?
Anyone who knows me (and I mean REALLY knows me), knows that I LOVE a good book. I am a book nerd wrapped in a gorgeous face, lol! On my show, On Why Yet’s Watch, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing an author from my hometown of Philadelphia, Sharai Robbin. Sharai is the author of the novel, Candace Reign, which was picked up by Simon & Schuster in 2015.
Sharai is an inspirational woman all by herself even before you get to her writing. Sitting and talking with her about her passion for crafting her words into book form was divine! I am at a loss for words to describe the interview. All I can say is you would have to listen for yourself and come to your own conclusion. We need more individuals who are looking to improve and inspire the current generations’ preparing to come of age so that they in turn can improve and inspire those that come behind them. That will create a better world for us ALL!
This month has been crazy. I heard stories of how intense this month is when you accept the challenge of writing 50,000 words in thirty days but… WOW! I have read so many posts on facebook and twitter about writing challenges and writing stumps as well as people who had a running faucet of story line so they completed the challenge within the first two weeks.
I am in awe of them all. A women in the NaNo group on Facebook just started the challenge a week ago and already hit 50,000 words! I’m not upset though. I didn’t reached 50,000 words but I participated in the challenge and wrote more words in thirty days than I thought was possible. I finished with 22,877 words and my record word count for one day is 3,520!
I am not upset at all. I did what I set out to do and that was to participate in the challenge. I am realistic about my home life and that presents many challenges in and of itself but I still found some time to get my ideas on paper. I met some interesting characters on this journey. With this being my first year, I have set my bar high for next year! NaNoWriMo 2016 I’m waiting for you!
“Even if your hands are shaking. And your faith is broken. Even as your eyes are closing. Do it with a heart wide open. Say what you need to say…”
I try. As best as I can and when I believe it counts. Life is about the little moments that take our breathe away and collectively become big moments that wow and inspire. I love the little moments. Many times my hands were shaking. Many times my faith has been broken. But each time my heart has been wide open and I took that leap. When it comes to using that to fuel my characters I stumble because some of those tender moments are mine. Just for me and I feel selfish keeping them to myself but those moments are precious and priceless. I want to share but at the same time I don’t and that is where I am stuck.
How do you keep your characters separate from yourself and still keep them authentic and true?
“Take out every wasted honor. Every little past frustration. Take out every so called problem. Better put ’em in quotations. Say what you need to say…”
“Walking like a one man army. Fighting with the shadows in your head…”
The first week of NaNoWriMo is completed and I hit the 10,000 word mark a couple of days ago. Some writers in the chat groups are toasting their 50,000 word completion and marching onward to 100,000 words. I say congratulations to them! I don’t know how they accomplished it that fast but I am happy for them. Meanwhile my characters are doing the do-si-do in my mind at night while I am trying to sleep. And when I wake up to tend to my two toddlers (one in school and one at home) I am super exhausted.
But in true NaNo fashion (although this is my first one) I am trudging onward. My characters had a drama filled tale to tell and who am I to deny them? Participating in NaNoWriMo has definitely introduced me to a lot of interesting writers. And the fun part is we are all eager to help each other out.
Okay a brief breakdown of what’s going on with my NIP (novel in progress):
“Hey baby. How are you?”
“Paul I’m not your baby and what do you want?”
“I just want to know if you were busy. I want to come see you.”
“I am busy and no you cannot come see me. Why don’t you go see Joanne, Jennifer, Shanta, Ms. Smith, Cindy, Mellie or Rebecca? Take your pick.”
“Don’t be like that. I miss you. I need to see you. Rocky NEEDS to see you.” Rocky is what Paul named his penis when he wanted sex.
“No Paul. Call Jana from Hawaii. Why don’t you call your ex-wife? Oops, my bad – your legally separated wife you lying sack of shit. I told you I am done with you and your games. Go find someone else to play with and I don’t miss Rocky. Who names their dick Rocky anyway?” That last part made Mia burst out laughing.
“Yo, who is that laughing? Don’t make me come over there.”
“I’m about to hang up on you. And FYI: stop mimicking the porno movies you watch. You’re not learning anything.”
“Don’t be cold like that. Let me taste you.”
Marissa and Mia spent the rest of the night laughing at men and their schemes to get laid.
Mia is hilarious but doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life but is secretly jealous of her best friend, Marissa. Marissa admires Mia’s free spirit and openness to trusting people and situations. There are quite a few twists and turns coming in the next 20,000 words. I just haven’t written them yet. With Marissa’s ex-boyfriend, Paul, she broke up with him for cheating on her and lying to her. What do you think should happen to Paul? Post in the comments below. Thanks!
It is the second day of NaNoWriMo and I am feeling pumped. The panic is in the back of my mind trying to sneak to the front but as long as I keep typing and the story keeps unfolding, I’ll be okay. Yesterday I cranked out 2180 words, today 1521. Not bad. As long as I can keep Marissa’s motivation going then I won’t have a problem.
Romantically, she’s in the single zone. Her friend Mia is in the college girl, I-don’t-care-as-long-as-the-sex-is-good mode. What am I going to do with these two? Marissa has a couple of skeletons rattling doorknobs but she isn’t paying attention and Mia has something to do with one of them. What do you think those skeletons should be? And how intense do you think Mia’s role in the skeletons should be? Let me know in the comments below.
I looked at the calendar this morning and felt fear trying to creep into the recesses of my mind where I try to keep my writing thoughts organized – at least until I can get them on paper before I forget. November 1st is in 2 days and I am afraid I am not ready yet. But I am determined to complete 50,000 words. This is my first attempt at the challenge and my primary goal is to write a complete story of fiction – romantic fiction. See being a poet, I don’t have to conform to word counts and grammar or even spelling rules should I choose not to. It’s the beauty of free form poetry. The raw emotion of it is what I love. But at the same time I want to improve and grow my writing and in order to accomplish that I need to expand my writing horizons.
So, although I am delving into the realm of fiction writing I am staying in the realm of romance and steamy suggestion. Romantic urban fiction. Go figure. I love a good romance and I am currently reading The Cougarette Series with a few other romance books waiting patiently for me on my laptop. I pray I do the
romance urban fiction genre justice.
From time to time I may post a section of what I am working on here so please feel free to make suggestions and leave comments. If you like (or don’t like) what you read anywhere else here leave a comment and let me know. I love feedback!