HAPPY NEW YEAR!
hnhlapo on Letter To My Future Wife jkeeneshort on Letter To My Future Wife Ninja’s And Mi… on I’ve Forgotten How To…
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Writing is a trip.
A trip to heaven or a trip to hell is solely dependent on the mood you find yourself in at any particular moment. I’ve been cranking out words for the past week so I can start with submissions to the various publishing houses I feel would suit my book best. The requirements are stringent and so it’s not just been fiction I’ve been writing about. I’ve had to write out a 300 – 500 word synopsis, the target market I think my book speaks to and a blurb about myself. Trust me, it’s been WORDS this entire week.
As a new fiction writer, I joined different writing spaces hoping to learn as much as I could from seasoned writers and/or authors (yes, there is a difference) so I wouldn’t necessarily go through the same pitfalls that they had faced, and also to pick up a tip or seven. This was me trying to be diligent.
What happened was me finding out bright and early that all the authors that I’d followed and made ‘friends’ with played by different rules because in as much as we were all writers, the countries we were in did not follow the same set. This was a huge womp, womp, wooomp. The great things though is that although the rules were not the same, the writers curses and regular heebeejeebeez are. The three that I learnt the quickest were:
To write well, you need to read a sh!t load
And not just any book. You need to read books that are in the genre you’re writing in. Trust me when I say I thought this was a myth. I mean, my story is different right? Right, however there are certain things that make up a genre and if all the boxes are not ticked then it may leave your book in no-mans-land and publishers don’t believe in books being Switzerland. The other thing is that it helps a lot with honing in on your own style. You get to discern what you like and don’t like quicker and editing your work becomes simpl-er. Ps: Editing your work is never simple. It’s excruciating to have to delete a chapter or a paragraph because it no longer fits into the overall theme of the book. Those words become your babies! Never-the-less, it’s a struggle almost every writer goes through and I’m not going to kill myself just to make a point. Still, it’s still new and strange to me,this refueling with words so that I may produce more.
Writers have a LOT of insecurity regarding their work
There are pages upon pages upon pages on just this point. There are whole blogs/websites/workshops/seminars/podcasts/instagrams/twitter-pages on this single topic. Believe me people, the threat is real. And I feel and have felt and will in the future feel it again. I have the same problem with my songs and this blog, so what really makes me think I won’t have it with my novel? No really, I’m asking myself. This insecurity is so deep though. It can have me procrastinating for days on end because what I thought was superb 24 hours ago has me feeling all sorts of typa. When the writers I follow say write anyway, I should better listen because I’ve literally gone weeks without touching my manuscript due to paralysis from deeming myself unworthy. As I kick that bull to the curb – today.
Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, bae, sleep, music, the home channel WILL waste your time
No two ways about it! Writing everyday is like that thing you wanna do, but is so hard to start to do and yet you feel so good after doing it. Some people call that gym. You need to make time for writing. It needs to become your top priority otherwise a whole day can evaporate with you being on the phone having woken up at 5am to write, ready with pen and paper or laptop and all. If you need to tell bae to call back after an hour or three, then make that happen. Bae is with a writer, we’re weird, they should understand.
I spent the entire day reading today and then wrote about a thousand brilliant words towards my novel. I hardly spoke to anyone. It was a very productive day.
May the writing gods continue to be with me tomorrow.
If you haven’t seen this video, do yourself a favour and click on the link. I love it! I honestly think it needed the ‘shock’ factor to make you take note and listen. Brilliantly delivered.
I want to speak to the person, particularly woman, who wants to carve her own way. You don’t have to identify as feminist. You don’t have to be a rebel. You don’t even have to have a type A personality or be a loud mouth. What you do have to be though is unashamedly, undoubtedly, with capital letters: BOLD.
Societal pressures aside, women tend to conform to ridiculous ideals readily. What’s even worse I think is the expectation for us to conform. According to ‘the rules’, we should all be clones of each other. Reminds me of Chimamanda Ngozi’s line on Beyonce’s Flawless which says “You can aim to be successful, but not too much otherwise you will threaten the man”. If you’ve been in my presence when this part plays you’ll immedidiately notice how I shriek with laughter. Every.Single.Time. What type of man is this that is threatened by my brilliance? Certainly not one I would want.
No. This is not a male bashing fest. It’s a female empowering one. The two can co-exist. Read that last sentence again for good measure. I love men. I love them more when they aren’t touching my body. Men are great! That being said, I am very MUCH here for women. And not just sexually. And with this, I arrive to my point…
Women could be more courageous in the pursuing of their wants. I watch a lot of women in real life and from afar, and they always seem to have a cloud of guilt following them. They feel guilty for wanting time away from children or partners or family or work. They feel guilty for saying no to loved ones, to society’s dogmatic expectations. They feel guilty for shining brightly. They feel guilty for saying yes to themselves first. And this, this misery is the norm. How dare you be different! How dare you make your own choices independent of what someone else thinks or will say? Who died and made you King?
But, why must someone die though?
You were born to rule. You were born to create the life you want. We can all be the Queen Elizabeth and the King Bey of our own lives. Throw the guilt away. Learn how to say ok. Learn that not all days are created equal and that on some days especially in the very beginning, the guilt will continue to ghost you. But lose that guilt you must!
Guilt is a courage stealer and I don’t know about you but to live in this life, you need all the courage you can summon up. This life is for the brave. So show up. Stop making excuses. Stop saying I’m sorry. Do that now. I can’t stress that enough especially for us women. You cannot be bold and apologetic. The two are allergic to each other.
Yes. People will rebel against your movement of ‘Courage 24/7’. Expect that. If they aren’t then you’re doing it wrong. Know that for all the times you said sorry and gave in, you taught somebody that this is who you are and that that is what they should expect from you. Take responsibility for that. Forgive yourself and start over. You have new responsibilities now. You have the responsibility to say YES to yourself without guilting yourself into submission. You have the responsibility to make sure that those who you let enter your life are on the same wave length as you are. My mom has always said to me that it’s rare for someone to pull you up if they are beneath you. It sounds crass even as I say it, but let me tell you, it’s as true as cookies. Try feeding an infant when they don’t want to eat. Same concept. Those you are closest to reflect who you are. Don’t fool yourself and think you’re different. I did and it was a long lesson especially because I was dealing with people who were content with who they were. Good for them. Not so much for me. Crowd mentality is never a good thing. You should always hear your own voice above everyone else’s. What do you think? What do you want? How do you feel? And then follow it.
Peer pressure, societal pressure, political pressure. These are our lives. Be bold enough to realise your particular set of stripes and then go ahead and flaunt them. We were not made on a conveyor belt somewhere above the clouds.
A while back I wrote a post about my forgetting how to dream. It may not sound as frightful as I’d written it to be however as an entrepreneur and as a person who believes thoroughly in living my best life its imperative to keep my dreams vivid and in full view. Losing touch of my dreams means I have nothing to strive for and work towards and not having that means no motivation to get up daily and pursue, push and press on. Hell on earth comes in various forms and one of them is tottering every day without a grand vision. Something worthwhile to you that’ll be a reward for all your hard work. It is important and necessary to dream.
I’m glad to say that I am back from the place where dreams go to die and I’m clutching my technicolor buoyant dreams like balloons in my hand. I will not let them fly away so easily next time. But now that I have them firmly in my grasp again, I am very quickly realising why it was so easy to let them go in the first place. At every turn there seems so be waiting a ninja with lightning fast kung fu moves all aiming at popping my precious dreams!
I’m not even talking about the tiny pin that’s usually efficient enough to get the job done. Uh-uh, I’m talking nuclear war heads launched from behind ‘caring words’, phangas that could be mistaken for smiles and the ever looming sound of the clock. Tick bloody tock. Just the other day I heard a feint tick-tock coming out of a loved ones mouth and lucky for me ( because of years of training from constant questions of what I was doing with my life, when I’d be getting married – to a man, children, a ‘real’ job) I reached out towards the ticking clock and told it that the ticking it heard was not for me, but for itself. That seemed to do the trick.
Clocks People love to mirror their fears onto you. Case in point, an entrepreneur will never ask another entrepreneur when they’ll be getting a ‘real’ job because they understand that their passion which also happens to be their job is very real. But a person who is unhappily sitting at their desk with fears on one shoulder and resentment on the other will be the first to ask you when you’ll be doing _______. It’s not because they care, no, its because your doing what you love is rubbing them up the wrong way, reminding them that they aren’t. You’re a mirror, reflecting what they should be doing back to them and so they counter your shine with their fears.
I’ve found that it works like a charm for those who ask me about time and children and job and and and is to ask them about theirs. I love watching them cringe. Too busy in my business to take care of their own. It’s the classic switcheroo. Try it next time someone asks you a ‘when’ question. Or even a ‘what’ and a ‘why’ question. Then come back here and tell me all about it.
High Fives You…
India Aries song SoulBird Rise begins and ends with the words: I believe in open doors.
It’s taken me a year of having that album and listening to it often to understand what those words truly mean. I’ve always considered myself a person who has an open door policy and yet open doors and the open door policy are not the same thing. A policy is a statement of intent which is implemented by procedure or protocol. That’s just fancy for saying you’re going to do something and then drawing out steps to help you do what you said you would. So in relation to the open door policy, in my head I have a little scenario of gathering everyone up (or in the 21st century, sending an email 😉 ) and telling them very sincerely that I am here whenever they should need me, for anything, and then literally leaving the door of my office, house, igloo open. The open door policy for me speaks to communication and mutualism. Its beneficial to both parties on a superficial level. What do you need? I can cater to that need. By the way this is what I need from you type of situation.
But what of self?
It’s this last bit that I have been struggling with a lot. I am by nature a very possessive person. I am possessive with myself as well as with those I love. I struggled with sharing so much so that it depleted my friendship with a woman I adored for 7 years (although this was not the only reason for the end of our bond). Having worked on my ability to let my loved ones have freedom, my remaining struggle has been the possession I have over myself. I’m that type that literally disappears. I have made my life so private that I can pull away from existence and go missing for months on end. This is a problem when you are a promising singer with people who are actually interested in your career. It’s sad now looking at my disappearing acts (mostly caused by pain) and seeing how I used to pride myself with how I could disappear and how nobody would know where I was. It’s sad because it says that I am unreliable. As a friend, as an artist, as a person.
I don’t want to be that person anymore and so I’ve promised myself to stop the foolery and to start letting go of the reigns. My dream open doors are the kind that let you in and out, freely, just like India sings about. I’m beginning to understand that open doors are less about me and more about the relationship itself. It’s about the interaction and the giving of self and also the freedom of letting someone come in and go out. On their terms. Being possessive has no place in open doors.
On Tuesday I opened up my world and 61 people jumped in in a matter of minutes. These wonderful people are interested in watching me grow and maybe even growing with me. I am so humbled. I’m dealing with the highs and lows of letting people close and also reeling from the possibility that they may find me extremely boring and unlike my page. I don’t know what to share and what should still be private…I went from 0 to hotpink in a glittering jiffy and its all slightly overwhelming still BUT I’m going to trust the process.
Open doors are not about what I need. They are about what I can give. Regardless of who’s coming in. The ebb and flow of persons coming in and out is natural and doesn’t affect me and my sense of self because I’m coming to realise; its not about me.
I believe in open doors.