I write best when…

I’m a member of the Facebook Poetry Society.

Recently, I found a post entitled, ‘I write best when…’ It was fascinating, to say the least, and at last check 146 people had replied, including ‘yours truly’.

Some posts said such things as;

I write best when…

  • I am angry, upset and frustrated
  • drunk
  • emotional
  • alone

I wrote that I write best when I am “inspired.” And then I added;

“usually last thing at night before I go to sleep or first thing in the morning when I wake up.”

In both cases, it tends to occur when I’m in bed. I wonder why that is?

The funny thing is, writing doesn’t seem to be a 9 to 5 profession. The fact most of us are required to support our writing with another job that pays the bills could have an effect on that. And this is backed up by those people who replied to the Facebook Poetry Society’s post. The one’s I quoted responded at:-

6.34pm

10.33pm

10.37pm, and

5.43am

So why do we write? I bet I’d get all sorts of answers from those writers on WordPress. And that is only to be expected. There are as many varieties of writing styles as there would be answers. Some, like me, delve into poetry. Some writers prefer biographies, military history, romance novels, horror, science fiction, the list goes on.

The beauty is we can all get together in writing groups and share each other’s experiences. We can join groups on Facebook and be introduced to other writers, or even via Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr and so on.

I’ve never been a social media ‘mogul’. Yet, after writing ‘Prism – an anthology’ (http://www.zeus-publications.com/prism%20-%20an%20anthology.htm) and having it published, I was told;

“you must be on social media.”

So, I ‘took the plunge’ and joined Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. And, lo and behold, Facebook has led me to a friend from university I hadn’t spoken to in twenty-five years. Imagine! I never for one moment thought I would make contact with her again, but I am so pleased that I did. We haven’t met, as she lives in Sydney and I’m on the Gold Coast, but our infrequent chats via Messenger have added a little something to my life. Almost like it has connected the present with the past.

Yet it doesn’t stop there. Facebook has also introduced me to a friend of mine from school days. I went through school with this man from Year 7 to Year 12 and now we have made contact once more. We share similar political views and it has been through a group on Facebook that I found his name. Once again, connecting the present with the past.

My university pal directed me to a friend of hers, now one of my Facebook friends. We chatted the other day about writing, the passion involved, and how she would write stories in the back of her notebook while in class at school such was her attachment to the written word. It seems her future story was already written for her before she’d even started the manuscript.

She is a screenwriter now, a very difficult form of writing, to be sure.

All this proves is that our ‘obsession’ if you like is clearly not a 9-5 obsession but a passion that lasts all day, all week, all of our wonderfully creative life.

It also proves that what I had previously disregarded as ‘trivial’, social media, is now the main way I connect with other writers.

You can too – you probably already do! And by doing so we’re making a vast planet smaller with every new contact from New York, Sydney, London, Lagos and beyond.

My first time

It happened. I’d heard people talk about it, in writing groups and elsewhere, but had never felt the emotion that overtakes when it happens to you.

The other day, a friend of mine rang me up and said; “Guess what? Your book isn’t in the book-store.”

“Of course not,” I replied. Patience, dear friend, patience.

“No, you don’t understand. I asked if they had it and they told me it had been sold.”

“Well are they going to get some more in?” I finally retorted.

But the feeling inside was one of wanting to jump out of my skin. My book? Sold? Like…wow!

I heard a story recently from another writer who told me that she went into a book-store not for one minute expecting to find her very own book on the bookshelves. But that’s exactly what happened. She picked it up, took it to the man behind the counter, and said;

“This is my book.”

And he replied;

“Not until you pay for it.”

There are many more stories very similar I could pass on, but the essence of the story is that no matter how many books you have published, the feeling of seeing your book on the shelves of a book-store will never fade.

It’s the passion we feel in actually writing the book that contributes to the sentiment we feel in seeing it bought. The process is a hard one, as I know only too well. But if it wasn’t hard, then why would we bother? And the old line never falters that hard work never hurt anyone. Besides, the harder it is, the better we feel.

So my first time is over. There’ll be a second – and a third. But I only wish I could have seen the expression on my face when my buddy called to tell me the good news. I guess the strength of feeling contributes to the quality of the manuscript. If we didn’t feel strongly we wouldn’t try hard. And if we didn’t try hard our chances of succeeding would be slim indeed.

If you wish to purchase my first publication, click here:-

http://www.zeus-publications.com/prism%20-%20an%20anthology.htm

NB: If outside of Australia, ‘Prism’ is available at all good on-line bookstores.

Writing groups

If you’re a writer one thing you ought to do is join as many writer’s groups as you have the time for. Mostly they meet once a month, so if you fit three or four into your busy schedule then it might be helpful in so many different ways.

For a start, they are all different, with different formats, agendas, and members. Some are non-critical, in other words, are based on the power of positive thinking. ‘That was great’, they’ll say, even if it may not have been your best work. And there’s room for that.

Others will assess your work, if you’re game enough to allow that to happen. Without having others assess or critique your work how on earth are you to know if it’s any good? It seems to be a vital part of the process, a role that is needed so you know whether your manuscript is ripe for alteration or ready for submission.

And there are others who will call in a guest speaker each month to talk on various topics, from research to publishing, from submissions to poetic license.

All groups serve their purpose, and mixing and matching between groups is most likely going to give you a well-rounded outlook. Speaking in front of a crowd, listening to your work being assessed, and contributing in a room full of strangers can do nothing but general good to you as a person, writer and, hopefully (one day), published author.

So join writing groups where you live and you’ll likely find they will have nothing if not a positive influence on your road to publication.

Publishing – the struggle

Been through quite an experience of late. Publishing poetry is no easy business. What’s best? Getting your poetry into a magazine or having a publisher tell you; “Welcome to the family.”

I’m yet to decide.

As so many say, one is the quick way to being published, the other the slow and onerous way. Nothing is done because it is easy, it is done because we have a passion to do it. Because what we have is some kind of a talent to write. And can there be anything better than the written word? A picture, a painting, perhaps? For as some say, a picture paints a thousand words. But what would Shakespeare have said about that? He’d be turning over in his grave, wouldn’t he? And how do we explain the painting if not with words?

So, you see, this may not be a well-paid profession but it is a passionate one – and as we all know, great things come from true love.

And so I’ve made a decision – this site will no longer be about poetry, per se, but the road we take to having our poetry read. The many facets that go into our day-to-day activities.

I’ll be writing about my writing groups, my published book of poetry, and my experiences over past and coming months. I’ll be interested in your feedback and comments as we traverse this road together. And remember, the road may well be rocky, but, my oh my, is it worth travelling. For as the saying goes;

A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn

I saw that on a coffee mug once and have never forgotten it. And another reason the travels to success or failure are so worthy is this – we should always concentrate our efforts on our own success, rather than on other’s failures. And so I leave you with a quote from probably the greatest President America has ever had, Abraham Lincoln, who once said;

Let not he who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labour diligently to build one for himself

Happy travels!

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