Saturday, January 27, 2018 was my first volunteer event for the new year, and I'm so glad I did it. Seeing all those kids' smiling faces was worth it. I think it's important to volunteer and/or give back. Presenting my work was fun, but this event was about the kids. Here's my recap below.
Last weekend, I attended the Vision Board Workshop in Namjemoy, Maryland sponsored by Beyond The Classroom (BTC) Inc. We had a full house of 30 kids! Some were even as young as four-years-old. They seemed excited to be there, and BTC's founder Lisa Ambers did a raffle for prizes (i.e. fast food, Starbucks, and Sky Zone) that the kids enjoyed. They all participated.
Lisa made every child present their board. Some of the kids were shy, whereas others loved being in the spotlight. Lisa explained that the kids should be proud of their work, so each of them talked about three things on their board. They were a good group.
I had the pleasure of sharing a table with a nine-year-old, who was so sweet. Her vision board is the one in blue, and she even added a few items to my green vision board pictured above. When it came time to present, I thought she did great. You can't see it in the picture, but she actually filled out her vision board front and back. She was really creative and so were the rest of the kids.
My presentation was simple. One thing I'm learning to do as I present is use acronyms to make it easier for the audience to remember. Because I was presenting to little kids, I chose to use the acronym ABC. A for "Act on your goal", B for "Be persistent", and C for "Celebrate". I briefly broke down each point in two minutes, and I think I managed to keep their attention. Whew!
As the event went on, other presenters arrived. I got to discuss my product with them, but this wasn't a vendor event. I was just glad to volunteer. The event went well, and I hope to work with BTC in the future.
To find out more about Beyond The Classroom Inc., visit their website here.
Due to my upcoming project, I may not be blogging for a week or two, so I’ve put together a post about my entire experience at Life Journeys Writer's Guild (LJWG) “Nuts & Bolts” as a holdover. I hope you enjoy and remember to keep going! Your day is today :-)
Saturday, January 20, 2018 was a good day. It was a day of firsts and stepping out of my comfort zone. LJWG’s “Nuts & Bolts” Season Opener was later that afternoon, and I wanted to be ready. Not only was I attending the workshop, but the LJWG selected my work for a performance.
I remember on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 when the group founder Yvonne called me. She asked for my permission to have actors coming “From the Page to the Stage” do a dramatic reading done of my book Zoya, and I told her I was fine with that. She told me I was the first person she called, and there would be two more authors selected. I felt appreciative, honored, and most of all thankful.
Fast forward to Saturday, I was trying to prepare myself while also listening to my mom’s motherly advice. It never fails that when I have an event she always texted me the day of with things I should do for the event. This time she recommended I go to the MAC counter and contact some people who had bought my book in the past that lived in the area, so they could come to my event. I was a bit hesitant, but I decided to go through with what she said. I know my mom means well, and it’s just always been a matter of taking her advice and doing it in a way that makes me comfortable.
The young lady at MAC was very nice. She gave me a match foundation, where she put foundation on my face that matched my skin tone, and I learned she’s an avid reader. She expressed an interest in my book, and I was able to give her my business card. Then, I went to Ulta for some simple beauty products (i.e. lip gloss and make up remover).
I faced my fears and let some people know about my event. I have this thing where I get uncomfortable, asking people to come to my events when it’s short notice. I always feel like I’m inconveniencing the person. I believe it’s because I’m a creature of habit, and it takes a lot for me to be spontaneous. Still, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and let people know about my event, giving them the decision about whether they could make it. It felt good.
My brother and my dad came to support me at the event, which was unexpected. I enjoyed their company, and my brother and I won at both the raffle and grammar quiz contest at the event. Not to mention, the food was good, too. After the guest speakers, Deputy Editor Sarah from the Southern Maryland Independent (pictured above) and a videographer, I was finally ready for the main event.
Actresses Sonia and Denise (pictured above) did a phenomenal job re-enacting a scene from my book Zoya. They did a cold reading, and at the end they gave advice to authors on how they can improve their work with feedback and re-enactment. I attached the video below.
Overall, I had a good time. At the end, all the LJWG members, including me, did a toast to a productive new year. I thank God for the opportunity, and I won’t stop now.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...It’s crazy to think “The Shining” came out nearly 40 years ago. Without spoiling the movie, I’ll say writer’s block is a nightmare. It’s as if you’re stuck on that one sentence, and it won’t go anywhere. Although writer’s block is inevitable, you can control how you deal with it.
To combat writer’s block, the first recommendation I would make is to take a break. Sometimes, I think our ideas get jumbled together, and it can be difficult to get the words out. I say take a breather, sleep on it, and try again another day. Also, if you don’t have a deadline, then there’s no rush either.
The second recommendation I would make is seeking inspiration elsewhere. Gillie Haynes, who was the guest speaker at the quarterly conference I attended for Life Journeys Writer’s Guild last fall, discussed the benefits of taking a step back and how she discovered additional hobbies that made her a profit. For example, she’s a teacher and author, but when she had trouble writing, she started cooking. She realized that her cooking could be a side business and now she does that, too.
Writer’s block isn’t the end of the world. I go through it, but it eventually passes. You just have to fill the time.
If you want to learn more about Gillie Haynes check out her website and book here.
Also, I've attached a handy dandy chart to shake off writer's block from Jane Friedman's Tumblr.
So, you’re working on a project, and someone asks, “How’s it going?” Do you panic? Do you wish you made more progress? Or are you comfortable with where you stand?
When people ask me this question, I typically tell them that writing is going fine. I keep it simple. Some writing days are more productive than others. The main thing I learned is you have to carve out time to write.
Create a schedule. The saying goes “people make time for what’s important,” so if writing is important, make the time. It can be tough to prioritize, but you have to try. It could be something as simple as recording yourself talking about a part of your story or making a quick note somewhere (i.e. on your phone, paper, computer, etc.). Pretty soon, you might fall into a routine. Even if it’s just a sentence or two, the words add up. Then, you’ll have a story.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I planned to volunteer at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, Virginia with Shannon and the rest of my friends at Hoops & High Heels Inc. They coordinated an event with the Potomac Conservancy to clean up the area under the bridge. I was ready to go, but the Potomac Conservancy canceled on us. I'm sure Hoops & High Heels still would've had the event rain or shine, but at least they were able to move it to a different date. We'll just have to wait until March.
To honor and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, people volunteer and join activities in their community. It's good to contribute. So, as most of us take the day off, let's also remember to make MLK Day a day on (for service).
To find out more about Hoops & High Heels Inc., you can visit their website here.
Happy MLK Day!
Throwback Thursday! Today’s music is fine, but I still listen to throwbacks, too. I’m a 90’s baby, and I believe the music in that era was timeless. That’s why when I saw the new Bruno Mars video “Finesse” I really liked it. “Finesse” is my favorite song on his album, and he nailed the New Jack Swing sound. Thinking about 90’s music can bring you back to a different time in history, and it can influence your writing as well.Recently, I decided to do some freewriting with a story that took place in the 90’s. I mentioned the term Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), but then I had to check myself. FOMO primarily deals with smartphones, and smartphones weren’t even out in the 90’s. I had to scratch that idea, and write something different. It just shows that if you’re writing something in the past you must check facts.
If you’re writing historical fiction, I’ve provided a few tips below.
Read books that deal with historical fiction.
Do your research.
Visit the library or check links for creative writing. I’ve provided a link for historical fiction writing here.
I hope this information helps your “steelo” (lol) if you’re planning on writing something historical, and here are two 90’s inspired music videos just because they sound good.
Sources, Creative Writing Now, YouTube - Finesse, Love in the 90z
Happy Monday! “Everyone’s a critic.” That’s how the saying goes. People are always going to have something to say whether it’s good or bad. You can take it or leave it. I read somewhere about these two things. You can’t let people’s compliments get to your head and you can’t let people’s criticism get to your heart. I believe criticism works the same way when it comes to writing.
I was fortunate that when I started writing I had a support system to encourage me, but not everyone has that. Last spring when I took a writing class at College of Southern Maryland (CSM), one of my classmates was an older woman, who I’ll refer to as Ms. J. Ms. J knew she wanted to write, but she was afraid of what her peers would say. The instructor Dwayne Ross and I had to tell her, “Ms. J, you just have to do it.”
Back then, I wasn’t sure if she took our advice, but now I feel like she did listen. Recently, I ran into her at one of the “Nuts & Bolts” writing workshops I attended as a member of the Life Journeys Writer’s Guild. Ms. J was there to start writing, and I was so happy to see her. It just goes to show that whenever you have to put yourself out there regardless of what people say.
Also, if you’re in the area would like to sign up for a writing class, CSM has the “Write Your Story” course coming up in March. Dwayne Ross is a great instructor as I’m a former student. Also, he has informative writing events in the community. You can register here.
Click the “Writers’ World” tab toward the bottom of the page, and you can enroll in the class there.
"Chibi (ちび or チビ) is a Japanese slang word describing something short (a thing, an animal or a person)" (Wikipedia). You ever wonder what you'd look like as an anime character? I never did until I recently started watching anime again via Netflix. I used to watch anime when I was younger, but I fell off once I got into high school. Now, I watch it leisurely, and that's when I got the idea to have someone draw a chibi version of me. I thought it'd be fun and give my brand a youthful look. Plus, it's super kawaii, or super cute!
Getting my drawing done, also brings me to my main point, which is fiverr.com. I learned about this website through my "Write Your Story" course I took last spring, and I still use it. There are thousands of buyers and sellers that can provide a service for your business at any price. It's a very useful link that I highly recommend. Visit fiverr.com. If you want more information about the artist I got to draw chibi me, I've posted the person's info below.
AND if you all know of any anime shows I should check out (that won't give my computer a virus) feel free to mention them in the comments section. I'm looking for some new ones while I wait on "7 Deadly Sins" to return.
Fiverr Username: Kurianamio
Product: I will draw whatever you want in cute anime version (link here)
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know it’s been a while since I've posted anything. I’ve been laying low, but I also have some tricks up my sleeve. I’m so excited for this year. I can’t wait to share my ideas and I hope to inspire you in the process. I just want people to know that it’s possible to write your story. What better way to let them know, then to show them, right? My goal is to write a blog or two a week with helpful tips. This year I plan to do that, but I have a question. What’s stopping you from writing your story? Maybe it’s family, friends, work, or a combination of all three. I think it’s important that we make goals, and try to stick with them.
When I talk to event goers, the main thing I always hear is, “I want to write a book.” I always tell people you can write a book. You just have to do it, which is easier said than done. If you want to write your story, start now. Start brainstorming, jotting notes, or talking to people that can help. It may seem like you may not have much written down at first, but as the time progresses, you may find that you have a whole story. The most important thing is that you’re writing something. Everyone has to start somewhere. I know I did, and I’m still learning. You just have to try. So far now, "beloved", as Iyanla Vanzant would say, I leave you with this quote :-)