Guest Post: I’m going to slit my wrists if you don’t publish me…

… Well not really. Hmm, scratch that, I’m only kinda telling the truth.

The fact is I have had my moments, you know the type, the devastating (albeit occasionally histrionic) outbursts of “it’s not fair! Why me? What have I ever done to anyone? Who was I in a past life? Hitler!” Okay, so maybe that last one is just me. However, I have spoken to enough writers to know that emotions of desolate desperation at never being read (at least by enough people) or known are ones that attack many of us at some point in our turbulent creative journeys.

I have been writing from a very young age, seriously trying to get some sort of recognition for the past seven years or so (on an off and on basis in all honesty) and have given up on my attempts at many intervals during my writing “career”.

The countless knockbacks classily framed in those “sincere” rejection letters that have so obviously been meticulously crafted for me personally [come on publishing/literary agents, at least change the font and colour when you cut (and may I add creatively misspell) and paste my name assuring me there is someone out there with whom my story is going to click eventually, I just need to find that needle in the haystack] were enough for me on an individual basis to throw in the towel once and for all.

I would just stop, there would be no calm before the storm or voodoo inspired smoke signs before the eventual demise of my pen (or keyboard), I would seriously just get up one morning and that would be it. No more writing, no more creation, nothing. Nada. Blank space full stop.

When I look back on those times when my imagination would be firmly tucked away in the abyss that occupied the supposed artistic section of my cranium, I wonder if I was truly fine not writing. I have been innovating places, people, stories, worlds, everything and anything really that my brain can possibly conjure up for so long now, I don’t really know how not to do it.

It was only when my extremely insightful father asked me one day, “Why do you write?” that I truly reflected on the reason.

“Why do I write?” I asked myself aloud one day. I mean before all the drama and the hypocritically enamoured materialism set in, why was I writing at six? It wasn’t for the publishers. God knows I never really wrote anything to be read, I just wrote because I had to, because it made me happy, because it kept me sane and safe in a world I still, till this day, often struggle to comprehend.

Screw the publishers, I thought. Kick the literary agents to the kerb, I mentally screamed. I will write because I don’t know how not to. Not for the money, or the elusive and often fallible “fame” associated with compiling a bestseller, but solely because I can’t not write.

When I would open up the dam I had forcefully deployed to block all the creativity within me and commence on my imperfect path to writing heaven, my mind would seriously punish me by not allowing me to sleep for weeks, often months. It was like opening up a realm of wonder, full of untapped imagination that was just waiting impatiently to pounce, rip apart any sort of entrapping realism I was attempting to band aid on.

The reality is it is much more torturous for me not to write than it is to. Sure, the chances of being read by anyone really is meagrely slim, but those few and far between who do, make me so much more grateful. Who knows if I’ll ever be “famous”, but accepting my fate as a writer (successful or not) makes me that much more content to do what I don’t just love to do, but in unbridled reality, have to do.

Last time I checked, breathing isn’t an option, it’s survival and I don’t need the act to be recorded on television or anything. Similarly, writing for me is living.

So, what does writing mean to you? Truly?

MP Sharma

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The Interview (poem)

3d colour boxes with text - interview, word

The Interview

Wake up early
Lie awake
Get showered
And on your way

Dressed to impress
Nerves under control
Up until
Your arrival

You rehearse some answers
And calm your racing heart
And talk yourself up
In the mirror of your car

Then you’re ready
With nothing more to do
Except conquer
This interview

Photo Credit

Things we do Rather Than Write

I wrote a post a little while back detailing the very specific reasons I struggled to find time to sit down and write. This post will be more general.

So you’re a writer, right? But you often find yourself scrambling to find something else to do other than write. Why? Because we’re a weird bunch and writing is so much more difficult than non-writers realize. But I’ll save what I think about the lack of respect writers get for another day. But back to the here and now. Let’s talk about some of the things we throw ourselves into to get out of writing.

Reading

This is probably the easiest and most obvious on the list. I mean, we’re all readers too. And we were all reading long before we’d ever put down a single word of our own writing on paper. Maybe you just picked up your favorite author’s newest release and it’s just too good to step away from. That’s not so bad, unless you’re forcing yourself to read because you’re trying your absolute best not to get any writing done. Still, I think this is one of the few valid reasons we can come up with not to write.

Social Life

Hmm. I mean, I guess. It’s Friday night and your favorite person just texted you to go out and do this or that. You think about ignoring the text because you’re not really in the mood until you realize that if you don’t do something that your manuscript will be staring you in the face the whole time you’re home. Either get the death stare from your writing or go out and perhaps have an okay time. We’ll likely go for the social festivities more times than not. Except for me, I don’t ever go out. And I still don’t write as often as I’d like. Go figure.

School Work

I’ve come to realize that there are A LOT of college students who are also writers. I could probably name five or ten off the top of my head right now. But let’s be real, when do you EVER put school work over something else? You don’t. Remember I was a college kid too not very long ago. And guess what I did for every paper I wrote my last two years of school? I wrote them the night before. So don’t sit there and act like you’re all about getting your school work done early so you don’t have to worry about it come the due date, you’re not fooling anyone.

Employment

This is another of those valid reasons that many writers face. I honestly don’t know how people go to work for eight hours and then go home and get any kind of writing done. I work six hour days every Saturday and Sunday and I am dead in bed as soon as I walk in the door, You’ve seen the internet Vines or memes of the kids getting home from school and literally dropping their bodies onto their bed. Yeah, well that’s me after work. So all of you full-time workers who also manage to write, well I salute you. And I want your secrets.

TV/Social Media

I’m raising my hand for this one. Because I’m the worst when it comes to both of these things. You all may remember that I watch way too much TV. AND 24 just came back yesterday! OH MY GOODNESS THE FIRST EPISODE WAS SO GOOD. But anyway, if you’re a TV junkie like myself, then you’ve likely convinced yourself a time or ten that you’ll write after you watch the latest episode of your favorite show sitting there on your DVR awaiting playback. But then the episode is so good that you can’t possibly think of anything else for the next 24 hours after watching. It’s bad.

And then we have social media. Maybe some of my older readers aren’t as fond of this particular excuse as some of my younger readers. I have to admit that I am on WordPress or Twitter all day long. It’s horrible. I used to hate Twitter. But then I started talking to other writers and bloggers on there and now I like it okay. And WordPress, well it’s hard to have other bloggers coming back if they’re commenting and interacting on my posts and get no response from me. I mean, come on. I said I’m on Twitter all the time, and I am, but my blog is a thousand times more important to me. I don’t think y’all realize how much I love this thing. I’m naming my first born Pressly. See what I did there? Just kidding, that’d be a little looney.

Okay, so there you have a few of the things we do as writers in order to get out of writing. What do you think of my little list? Is there something you find yourself doing that is not listed? Tell me.

Why do You Write?

Photo Credit: weidert.com

There are so many reasons a person can decide to start writing. Do you do it because your favorite author happens to be one of the few who makes millions from their writing? Have you known since you were young that you wanted to be a writer and now you’re pursuing your dream? Did one of your college professors pull you aside and tell you that you had a real future in writing? Did you read a bad book and decide that you could do better? Or maybe you don’t see yourself as a writer at all and are simply trying something new, because how hard could it be, right? I’d say that any reason one can come up with to start writing is valid, even those oblivious individuals who think it’s so easy that anyone can do it. These are the people who make it about two paragraphs in and stop and declare, “Writing is easy, I just haven’t got the time right now.”

My response to this question is fairly simple. I write because it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing for quite some time now. I believe I’m able to write fairly well. And I have many stories I wish to share with my readers. That’s really about it.

So I ask you, why do you write?

Spring Break for the Book Lover

Photo Credit: Fork Shoals School

Down here in the lone star state Spring Break has officially begun. This is the first time since 1997 that I’m not in school during the holiday week. I’m not complaining. But I know others in my age group (18-22) who are still in college and will be celebrating the week off from school. There will be countless parties to attend, too much alcohol consumed, trips to other parts of the country, and who knows what else. I’m not discussing the traditional Spring Break for the typical twenty-something, I’m talking about Spring Break for the book lover!

Browse

Do you typically get your books from Amazon? Or Barnes and Noble? Or Books-A-Million? Or maybe on your iPad or Kobo device? I don’t care where you get your books from. I don’t. But tell me what better for you to do than browse for some new books starting right now and getting through them before you have to return to school? There is not a thing better. So if you’re a book lover, and I’m betting that you are, then get your mouse clicking or get to your local bookstore and find you some books to read this week!

Read

By now you’ve done your browsing and buying, right? Better have! Now find your regular reading spot and get started! There’s no point in getting your hands on some fresh books to have them sitting there in your ‘to-be-read’ pile. Honestly, that makes me angry when I see blog posts about having stacks and stacks of books ‘to-be-read.’ I mean, come on. So don’t be one of those guys. Get your new books out of the bag or the trusty Amazon box and get started reading. Now.

Write

Do you happen to be a writer too? Perfect. You’ve left your manuscript sitting there on your computer screen far too long. That ends right here, right now. I’ll acknowledge that most writers are probably done with school with regular jobs and don’t get off of work this week, BUT I’ll also tell you that you’ve done made all the excuses to not get back to writing that you can possibly come up with. Open the file. Take a deep breath. Write. It’s that easy. You may not have the week off from school like all the kids, but you need a kickstart to get back to your writing, and this is it. After all, no agent ever agreed to represent a manuscript that never made its way out of the ‘first draft’ stage, right? Right. Now write.

If you reach Thursday and you’ve read four books, written ten chapters in that great manuscript of yours, and you find yourself wondering what to do…then start from the top and REPEAT!