Creatable Spaces: An Affirmation Deck for Writers

This is just a quick blog post to share with you a Kickstarter Campaign I came across this morning that I think you might enjoy.

Creatable Spaces is a Mindset Deck for Writers, created by Melissa Long.

This is a 45-card affirmation deck designed to give writers and creatives tools to help them keep their mental wellness intact and stay within a mindset that allows them to complete their project.

When I saw this Kickstarter campaign, I immediately backed it. I am so thrilled to see something like this out in the world, and I really hope that it comes to fruition.

This deck is comprised of five themes to target different aspects:

  • Creatable Confidence
  • Creatable Flow
  • Creatable Imagination
  • Creatable Mindset
  • Creatable Vision

I am not a person who generally goes for oracle decks or for affirmation decks, however as soon as I saw this, I knew it was an instant fit and a tool that so many writers need.

Creatable Spaces is a mindset deck for writers designed to help you navigate the ups and downs of creative life.  Whether you’re diving into your first novel or polishing up your fiftieth screenplay, this 45-card deck of affirmations will help you:

  • Think Better
  • Write Better
  • Be Better

Your Voice Matters. So do the stories you’re longing to tell. That’s why I designed Creatable Spaces.

Do yourself a favor and back this deck. While it’ll take a while before it arrives, it will be the delated winter gift you forgot you gave to yourself, and the writer in you will be thrilled.

Note:

I have zero, none, zip, nadda, no affiliation with this deck or with the creator of this deck, nor with Kickstarter. I am sharing this truly because I feel passionate and excited about what this project is and how it can help writers.

Happy Writing, friends!


Don’t forget! We are still accepting submissions for the Nightmares When I’m Cold writing competition and anthology. You can submit your story here or by clicking the button below. All proceeds from the competition go to supporting the Sentient Squid Scholarship provided by Writing the Other.

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Your Inner Writing Seasons

Happy Spring Equinox, Writers. And for those of you in the southern hemisphere, happy Autumn Equinox.

While I acknowledge that there are two beautiful changing of the seasons happening in two different parts of the world, I want to focus on the Spring.

When spring arrives, we are transitioning from the winter into the lighter, warmer months. Things are coming into bloom, and animals are waking up.

I feel the seasons strongly. I certainly am dormant in the winter, and awaken as the days lengthen. The sun and I are good friend in that way.

And yes, this has everything to do with writing.

A really great intimation revolves around the turning of the seasons, stating that nothing blooms all year round, and thus, we shouldn’t be expected to, either.

When it comes to writing, we all find our rhythm and groove. We go through cycles, sometimes in a phase of motivation and productivity, and other times of feeling completely drained. This is all perfectly find and natural. The earth turns through different seasons, and life goes dormant for a while. Likewise, the moon waxes and wanes, sometimes appearing in full darkness, and other times in full dark.

This is the way things are.

We live in a time where constant productivity is valued, encouraged, and even shamed if we’re not allowed to achieve that. As a result, we have people burning themselves out, and unable to focus on their passion and art, even though that might be the thing that lights them up.

Giving yourself permission to determine what your seasons are, what your internal cycle are, and when you’re at you’re brightest and when you need to rest can make or break your writing rhythm.

Some of you might be sensing a bit of a contradiction. After all, have I not been one to encourage practicing writing every single day?

And I still do.

Writing does not have to be perfection, nor does it have to be quality. It doesn’t even have to be on one project. It just has to be writing, the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard every day. This is also why I encourage journaling. It is still writing, which is still exercising that muscle. Even if it’s just a couple sentences a day that you plan to delete the following day, or throw away, it’s still something.

However, the key is that you learn to attune your writing habits to your own personal seasons. And your own personal season do not need to match the Earth’s seasons in your area. You find what work for you. Again, though, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to return to spring.

For those of you who are like me who rise and fall with the seasons and the sun, spring can be nourishing. Astrologically, we’ve just passed into Aries, which is the first sign of the Zodiac. It’s a sign of being present and being seen. It’s often compared to a newborn. A baby comes into this world and makes no apology for the space it takes up, or for the attention it demands or the needs that it has.

And this is the energy of Aries.

Aries and spring are new to the year, and flowers blossom and unapologetically take up space. Consider the weed that begin popping up everywhere, for example (I love weeds,  by the way). They know when it’s their time and they go for it.

As the earth rotates and orbit, the spring can bring fresh ideas, fresh energy, and new eyes. Use this time if you resonate with it. Spend time asking yourself if you need to move on to a new project, or if you need to look at an old or continued project with fresh, new eyes.

What doe you need to bring this energy into your creativity?

Your Homework

Spend some times evaluating your own personal seasons. Look back over the last year, or last few years (since we all know 2020 was like no other year), and ask yourself when you’ve been most energetic, or felt more challenge to keep up the pace you were on. What does that tell you about that time of year?

If you don’t know, I encourage you to get a planner or even your journal, and begin paying attention to your energy levels. You can look at it in terms of weather (are you more or less energetic when it’s cloudy out? Are you more introverted or extroverted? Etc.), the moon phase, the season, or even go so far as the planetary positions.

The other thing I want you to try to do is challenge yourself to start something new this week. It doesn’t have to be a big project, but start a short story, or a piece of flash fiction, or challenge yourself to write something you don’t normally write, which could be poetry or a YA piece. But do something new.

As you look over your new piece, be unapologetic about it. That means that you respect that it is something you created and can build from. It is neither good nor bad, it simply is, and it has potential, even if it’s just something you used as a tool to learn from. It is the foundation of something from which you can build.

Happy Writing, happy Spring, and happy New Beginnings!

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Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

The Unexpected Hiatus

Wow. We are nearly through January, and I have been nowhere to be seen for months.

After my move to Greece, I hit a lot of unexpected hiccups that prevented me from a lot of the set-up I had anticipated, including access to internet, being able to get on an actual phone plan that would allow me to have data for web connection, as well as a few other things.

The island I was on was pretty basic. And when the lockdown measures hit a week after we arrived, we found we weren’t able to access many of the services we needed. At one point, I slipped on a rock and smash my phone completely. Because of the lockdown measures, I couldn’t get it fixed or send for a new one, as these things were seen as non-essential. This is just an example.

As a result, I reserved the little connection I had for my wonderful and patient coaching clients. I am grateful to say that I have been able to continue working with them.

And as is the nature of the universe, more change has arrived on my part as I responded to a family emergency, which has landed me back in the US until further notice. While Greece was an adventure, it won’t be one I’ll likely be returning to. The UK, yes, at some point, but not Greece.

The good news from all of this is that I am now connected again. I have electricity. I have internet. I have a phone plan and a working phone. And while the family emergency is now less emergent, though still present, it is under control and everyone involved is optimistic.

I am grateful to be in the Pacific Northwest again. I am grateful to be able to serve you, my wonderful writing friends and community! And I am grateful to be stepping into the public as a coach again.

Thank you all so much for your patience with me and your support!

Why You Need to “How” to Successfully Write

Header: how vs. Why. Why you need to quote how unquote to successfully write. The why is just the beginning. Natural Writer Coaching

Something I really try to drive home is that you need to know why it is you’re writing. Not just why you’re writing your story, but why you’re writing in general. In fact, I can list plenty of posts where I reference how to dive into that, and why you need to find your why.

When you know why you want to write something, it’s easier to generate and ground yourself in taking the steps to get it done. When you why is strong enough, it’s going to carry you through the hard times.

This is just the first step.

The next step is to look at the how. When you know why you want to do something, then you need to work on how you’re going to execute it and cultivate the results you want. The results you want will also be down to how you define success, both as a writer, and for your particular project. Think of that success as your target as you aim your bow upward.

How vs. Why

In a post last week, I talked about how Toni Morrison would look beyond why a character was motivated to do something, but how they got into that position/mentality. How did that character develop that way?

How

The how is a combination of both the macro and the micro in a character or person’s life. It’s the environment in which something or someone developed. Your environment isn’t just present, but is compiled of your past as well. We carry the lessons from our experiences with us, as they create our views of the world and our beliefs. Our world views and beliefs are what inform our decisions and determine how we act upon something.

Consider what your environment consists of:

  • Your personal living space
  • Your personal space within your living space (bedroom, office, etc.)
  • Your neighborhood
  • Your family
  • Your town/city
  • Your State/county/providence
  • Your country
  • The places you choose to be in
  • Your education system
  • Your level of education
  • Your childhood home

This is just a start to your list of the various things that contribute to your environment. And all of these things are what give you a different flavor and view of life. All of these places and situations provide lessons from which you build your personality and understanding from. All of it contributes specifically to you.

When you’re looking to create a successful writing life, you need to understand your environment as well as yourself. When you know these things, then you can learn to work with them in order to develop good habits and practices to get you closer to your goal.

This is the importance of knowing your how. The how of you will help you answer the how to get to your writing goal.

Here’s a small example

I write ghostwrite books regularly. My goal is to get the book done and out of my hands in seven to ten days. My why is that it’s my job to do so. I’m hired to do it. That’s why I write these books on this deadline. Part of my how is to sit down and write the book. Because of my experiences in university, I’m able to sit down and write large quantities at a time.

However, another part of my how is my location. I need to be comfortable where I sit. When I’m not comfortable, I’ll find reasons to get distracted. And getting comfortable can be difficult because, again, a part of my environmental factors in life was an unsafe work environment which led to a back injury that can make sitting for long periods of time difficult.

I can’t sit on the couch because I get sleepy when I write there, despite it being nice for my back. I can’t sit too long at the desk because my back starts to ache.

So, part of my how when it comes to reaching my finished product is that I set timers. I have a treadmill by my desk, and I set my timer for 25 minutes. I write for 35 minutes, and when the timer goes off, I give myself five minutes to walk on the treadmill. When the five minutes are up, I go back to writing.

The break also helps to reset my brain when I do this, so I feel as though I’m coming back to my writing fresh.

So when someone asks me how I write so much in such little time, I tell them my regiment and I tell them about my time in university. Both of which contribute to my how.

How & You

So, when you’re trying to generate how to get through to the end of your project, you first need to know how you work best. You need to know what factors are tugging at you to reach for your phone, or to get up and wander to the fridge, or to decide your dog needs a walk for the tenth time that day.

Knowing yourself is the first step. Knowing your motivation is the first part of the first step, and knowing the factors that make you who you are, what makes you impatient, what makes you lose focus—all of those things are going to influence how you design your writing regiment.

Spend some time getting to know yourself. Really ask yourself how you work best, examine the problems you face, and from there, once you’ve identified them, then you can learn how to problem-solve around those issues.

Your Homework

Create a list of what you find distracts you from your writing. It could be fears, discomforts, noises, people, gadgets, etc.

Once you have your list, write down what it is that compels you to respond to those distractions. Some might be obvious, but others may not be as obvious.

Now, begin to troubleshoot around them. What can you do to ensure they don’t distract you? Are there practices you can put into action so that you in general don’t pick up your phone every five minutes? What about getting a cushion for your chair? What about writing before everyone wakes up or after they go to bed?

See what you can do to help you eliminate your distractions so you can then create an environment in which you write best in. This will help you develop your writing habits more easily, and get to your end goal.

If you want to discuss this further, book a call with me! you get a free 30-minute call with me to see if we can work together to get your project done.

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Sitting with Discomfort Pt 3: Knowing Your World Through What You Consume

This is the last day of the Sitting with Discomfort series. This week has been spent focusing on white privilege and learning to be discomfort in order to learn about yourself. This series was inspired by the wonderful women from ar-tic. If you are just arriving to this series, I highly suggest that you start by checking them out. This series is my own interpretation of their words and suggestions, and using their lessons as a starting point.

Likewise, at the end of this post, I list several resources for you to use as your own jumping off point if you need. I also suggest you go through those before you see what I have to say.

| ar-Tic |
| Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday |
| Learn Where to Donate |
| Take Anti-Racist Classes: Rachel Ricketts, Rachel Cargle, ar-tic |

post banner: natural writer coaching. Sitting with Discomfort. Exercises in White Responsibility in Writing. Part 3: Knowing your World Through What You Consume

During this week, I personally have found myself in a lot of challenging conversations. As an American living in North Yorkshire, I’ve found that most of the people around me tend to have more conservative viewpoints regarding the protests in the US, the protests that have spread to the UK, and even on the Corona Virus. Thus, I’ve had to attempt to stop some harmful language, get in discussions about the depth of the problem in the US and even in the UK.

When I began engaging in these conversations, I realized how little I knew. I knew from an emotional standpoint that racism is bad. I knew that there is a difference between prejudice and bias, and I knew the tip of the iceberg of why it’s all problematic in the US. I also knew that racism was a problem in the UK, despite what everyone here in the north was telling me.

Without specifically looking for racism in the UK, but just wanting to learn in general, I picked up several books via Audible (because, let’s face it, I’m obsessed with listening to books). Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala were my two randomly selected books that focused mostly on Briton than in the US. I learned a lot from these two books, and I highly recommend them.

I went on to Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch, which was particularly enlightening as well. This string of books was just the beginning. My entire world began to open up to things I was mildly aware of, though didn’t realize the complete depth of the issue.

Thus is my privilege. I didn’t “need” to understand it, because it wasn’t my problem.

Fiction-wise, I’ve studied Toni Morrison extensively (which is why I reference her so much). Her stories were an introduction to the deeply ingrained problematic attitudes of the American White world and the problems that Black Americans face in many areas.

The difference between reading fiction by BIPOC authors or non-fiction by BIPOC authors who are explicitly laying out the problems of the world depends in part how you take in information, but also how explicit an author is. It’s the difference between showing and telling. Personally, I can be told the facts, but I absorb information better when I “experience” it through story.

I began to look at the content I was consuming. I never really thought about it. In general, I had been consciously trying to make sure my book-reading was more diverse, but ultimately, that was all I was doing. It wasn’t until many, many voices on Blackout Tuesday called for BIPOC voices to be uplifted that I realized just how few BIPOC people I followed on Instagram, or that I listen to virtually no podcasts by BIPOC individuals.

So, keeping in mind the theme for this week’s posts, I began looking into it. Had I consciously done this? Did I have reasons (but really, excuses)?

I spent time challenging myself to really get to the heart of why it was that there weren’t enough diverse voices in my media consumption.

Earlier I mentioned my privilege that I didn’t “need” to learn about the depth of systematic/institutional racism. Part of this is because I have been able to live in my own little bubble because of the non-diverse media I consume. The result of this is that when atrocities like George Floyd’s death, like Eric Garner’s death, Tryvon Martin’s death, Tamir Rice’s death, and all the many, many others’ deaths are flashed across the headlines, I can be shocked. Because it’s “not my world.” But it is. I’m a citizen of this planet and of the Western world. It is my world, I just have had the privilege to not take it on as a personal problem because it’s not a part of the daily content consumption that I take in.

This is what I’ve learned, and it isn’t a comfortable feeling or realization that I’ve been able to turn my back on injustices. Especially when I consider myself to be on the side of social justice. This is the discomfort I’m learning to sit with so I can grow from it and be a better person and hopefully one day be considered an ally.

Your Homework

Spend some time considering the books you read. Make a list if you need to. Look at all of it. Do you find a common theme in them all? I don’t mean books that are specifically written by BIPOC authors, or books about race. I just men, in general, what are the commonalities you find between the books you read as a whole, looking deeper than the genre.

Now, what about your social media? This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Medium, Snapchat, etc. Who do you follow on which accounts, and why? What is the overall message you’re feeding to yourself when you choose to follow these accounts?

Finally, who do you follow in terms of blogs? Whose blogs are you reading and why? Is there a common theme?

It might be tempting to say, “Of course there’s a theme. I follow authors and content that has to do with writing,” for example. I challenge you to look deeper than that.

I’m a tarot reader and enthusiast. I read a lot of tarot-related content, and have done for years. But why? Surely you can only read the definition of the cards so many times. I’m not actually surrounding myself with tarot content for the definition of the tarot. The theme of my tarot-consuming content is to deepen my understanding and use of the tarot as a therapeutic tool both spiritually and psychologically. Thus, that is the deeper theme of my content consumption. I didn’t realize this until I took a step back and considered what I followed and why.

Now that you’ve looked at your content, ask yourself what you can do to go deeper with it, to delve into the realm of your discomfort that you’ve been working on over the last few days (hopefully), sit with it, and use it to grow into a better citizen and human being.

There is no judgement here, this isn’t about what I think of you. We are all on different points of our journey, and the purpose of this series is to promote self-examination of the self in order to grow. We have to grow if we want to be at the level we need to be in order to be supporters and of productive assistance to those who are struggling against injustice. Right now, those folx are BIPOC individuals, and folx in the LGBTQ+ community.

By looking at whose words and ideas we consume, we can better understand how much or little we let ourselves be involved in the problems outside our own personal bubbles. After you understand where you’re starting from, look at how you can do more, consume more of people who are “other” than you. Below I’ve given a list of resources, but I’ve expanded the fiction section to some books that I simply enjoyed who were by BIPOC authors. I read them for the pleasure of it, not for a purpose. Check them out, too.

The next and most important step, when you bring “other” voices into your realm, is to listen. Listen, listen, listen. Those who are struggling right now, those who are directly telling the world the problems they are facing are also directly telling white people what they need from them. At the end of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge explicitely says what she suggests white people do to be helpful.I’m not going to share what it is because I want you to explore the book, read it, and listen. Listen to what BIPOC folx are asking for. Do what they are asking you to do.

After watching Rebecca Davis MA, MSW’s video on Instagram (linked in the resources), which inspired this series, I asked her if she minded if I used her words to write this series. She was direct in saying exactly what she wanted and needed from me if I was to do this series.

I am not saying to go to your BIPOC friend, or to someone you don’t know on the internet and ask them what they want you to do, but instead just listen to what they say in general. Do your research, look at what BIPOC content creators are saying and asking for, and listen.

Finally, after listening, check in with yourself. How does what you heard make you feel? Is it uncomfortable? As ar-tic says, sit with it, feel it, know what it’s like, then delve deep into it. Why is it uncomfortable? Journal it out.

Happy writing.

Resources

Ar-tic

Ar-tic Instagram: @ar_tic_org

Ar-tic website: www.ar-tic.org

Websites/Trainings

Ar-tic trainingss:

WritingTheOther

Articles

Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
7 Casually Racist Things That White Authors Do” by Mya Nunnally
White as the Default” by Marissa Rei Sebastian
“Definition of Cultural Appropriation: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Avoid it,” by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.

Non-Fiction Books:

Why I am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou
Writing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
Race by Toni Morrison
Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
Killing Rage: Ending Racism, by bell hooks
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by bell hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Plantation Memories by Grada Kilomba

Fiction

Specifically Related Fiction

Recitatif by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Fiction Included for Enjoyment

Please note, just because this is listed under “enjoyment” doesn’t mean there is nothing to be learned from it. There is always a message to be learned from fiction. However, I’m saying that when I read them it was because I was simply picking up a piece of fiction to read, not with any specific purpose in mind.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whithead
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
American War by Omar El Akkad
Secret Odyssey by C. T. Rwizi
Escape to Candyland by Yong Takahashi
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Bloodchild and other Stories by Octavia E. Butler

Writing Excuses Related Episodes

15:12 Writing the Other—Being an Ally
14:31 Cultural Setting as Conflict
14:21 Writing the Other—Yes You Can!
14:12 Writing the Other—Latinx Representation
7.4 Writing the Other
6.15 Writing Other Cultures

Sitting With Discomfort Pt 2.5: Now is the Time for Writers

This series is geared toward white writers who are watching the protests, the riots, and have full knowledge and understanding of the systematic/institutional injustices in the US and UK. This series is for those who are trying to understand what’s going on in the world, and struggles to know just what to do with it, especially when it wants to seep into their writing.

I may or may not be getting this right. What I know is that if we want to do any good in the world, the work has to start with us. This series is aimed at starting at home, inside, with the self.

Post header reading quote this is precisely the time for artists and writers. Unquote. Toni Morrison. You are a writer. times of turmoil are your times to shine. now, let's make sure we do it responsibly. Natural Writer Coaching

Now Is the Time for Artist and Writers

Toni Morrison said,

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.”

Toni Morrison

She reminds us that in times of pain and injustice, it is our responsibility as writers and artists to record the history of the world, to show the experiences of the now, and to portray in such a way that we can garner understanding from the readers.

This is our time.

Toni Morrison photo and quote

What Does This Mean for You?

This week’s series has been in response the injustices of police brutality and of the injustices towards black people, indigenous people, Latinx people, Hispanic people, etc. There is nation-wide unrest in the US, and that unrest is spreading across the globe.

If you’re like me, you may be feeling the call to write about this. After all, we’re writers. But how you write about this and what you write about this does somewhat depend on who you are. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t, but if you’ve been paying attention at all through life, you may have noticed that we are far from a perfect world.

When I’m talking about writing, I mean writing with the intent to publish one day, or writing for creativity. What I don’t mean in this post is writing your personal thoughts in your journal. That’s for you. But if you’re writing with the intent of one-day sharing it with the world, then you need to focus on your own personal experience through all of this.

With the internet as it is, we all have a platform to on which to speak. But how we use that platform is important. Are we going to let other people stand on that platform or are we going to speak over them?

The most important thing we can do is listen to those who are fighting their personal injustices. They are telling us what they need from us, and we need to listen and honor and respect those needs.

Write, write, write—absolutely write! That’s what we’re all here for, right here, on this website. We’re here because we’re writers. But when you write, ask yourself whose voice you might be replacing when you do so.

Years ago, I wanted to use my writing voice to write about the injustices toward minority folx, and even wrote a story in which one of the lead characters was directly going through these experiences. When I read over it and over it, the experiences felt hollow, and like I was just faking it.

Because I was. Those weren’t my experiences to share or to tell. I couldn’t put myself in the shoes of someone who has experienced the world so completely differently than I had and write about it. Nor was it my right to do so—most importantly, it wasn’t my right to do so.

In the end, I re-wrote the story as a person who witnessed these things going on in the minority community. Because that’s what I could write about. I could write about my own frustrations, anger and confusion as an outsider looking in.

This gets complicated, really quickly—if we’re fiction writers, aren’t we supposed to write about situations we haven’t experienced? This post is not about this particular question. But a really helpful resource you can check out is Writing the Other, which is a website dedicate to helping writers responsibly write about experiences of characters who are “other,” whether it pertains to race, sexuality, disabilities, etc.

When I share Toni Morrison’s words that now is the time for artists and writers, I mean that now is the time for us to write our own experiences at this time. But most importantly, now is the time to listen to what other artists and writers are saying, and now is the time to support their work so that the world as a whole can come closer to understanding.

This advice does not come from me. This comes from listening and hearing what’s being asked. Morrison once wrote that she does not privilege the white person in her writing. That is, she’s not writing with the white person in mind, but she is writing for black people. And as a white person, I learn so much from listening to those stories, words, and messages. I can learn the experience better, and see where harm has been done, and I can learn not to act in that way.

Likewise, I can read articles, listen to talks, read books, watch documentaries, and learn how to be a supportive person during this time. And one of the things I often hear and read is that black voices need to be heard. Native voices need to be heard. Immigrant voices need to be heard. Queer voices need to be heard.

So when I pass this message along to listen and to support black art and writing, this isn’t my suggestion. This is what is literally being asked for. I’m just passing along the message.

I have a list of references and materials at the end of this post. They are a starting point and are a small and number of materials. I strongly suggest that if you’re like me, that you start with some or any of those. There was a lot more that I wanted to put on there, but tried to pick the most relevant things. If you have suggestions of essential reads, watches, or listens, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Your Homework

One of the suggested readings in the fiction section below is “Recitatif,” by Toni Morrison. It’s a short story about two girls who grew up somewhat together. The goal of this piece was to make it ambiguous as to which girl was white and which girl was black. It is meant to challenge your perception of experience.

Your homework is to try and get ahold of a copy of this story and read it.

Once you do, I want you to spend some time journaling about what you read, what you thought of the story. Did it challenge your perceptions? What did you think?

This is part one of your homework.

The next part is to look into the voices of those who need to be heard, read what they have to say, listen to what they have to say, and ask yourself what you can do to support this.

Thirdly, look at your own writing and ask yourself whose voices you are supporting and how.

Please note, this is not an accusation that anyone is doing anything wrong. All I’m suggesting is to take note of what you write about it, how you write about what, and how it helps or hinders.

Happy Writing.

Resources

Ar-tic

Ar-tic Instagram: @ar_tic_org

Ar-tic website: www.ar-tic.org

Websites/Trainings

Ar-tic trainingss:

WritingTheOther

Articles

Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
7 Casually Racist Things That White Authors Do” by Mya Nunnally
White as the Default” by Marissa Rei Sebastian
“Definition of Cultural Appropriation: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Avoid it,” by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.

Non-Fiction Books

Why I am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou
Writing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
Race by Toni Morrison
Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
Killing Rage: Ending Racism, by bell hooks
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by bell hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Plantation Memories by Grada Kilomba

Fiction

Recitatif” by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Writing Excuses Related Episodes

15:12 Writing the Other—Being an Ally
14:31 Cultural Setting as Conflict
14:21 Writing the Other—Yes You Can!
14:12 Writing the Other—Latinx Representation
7.4 Writing the Other
6.15 Writing Other Cultures

Instagram image that reads New Blog Post. Quote This is precisely the time when artists go to work. Unquote. Toni Morrison. You are a writer. now is the time to shine. here's how to do it responsibly. Natural Writer Coaching

Sitting with Discomfort Pt 2: Getting to Know You and Your How

Today’s post is to carry on from the last-ish post, the post in which I talked about ar-tic’s message to feel your discomfort. You can read the post here, and you can see the videos that sparked the inspiration for this blog series topic here.  I strongly encourage you to start with watching that video first before going on.

The journal prompts will be found in the homework section of this post, and like Part 1 of the Sitting with Discomfort Series, I’ll leave a list of resources for you to check out afterward. Again, I do encourage you to check them out first.

Today, as promised, will be journal prompts to help you get in touch with yourself, to help you understand what your discomforts are telling you. However, I first want to clarify how and why.

How vs. Why

When examining why we’re uncomfortable, we might struggle. Sometimes we just feel something, and we know that it doesn’t feel good, but we struggle to get to the bottom of it to answer why it is that we’re uncomfortable.

You might think that these two words are essentially the same.

A Frank Example

To explore this, let’s use the example of a perception that dogs are dangerous (for the record—I do not believe dogs are dangerous. As I write this, I have two dogs and live on a farm with ten other dogs other than my own. Also, this example is inspired by an event on the farm regarding a visitor and the dogs).

“How can Frank think dogs are dangerous?” can sound very similar in meaning to “Why does Frank think dogs are dangerous?”

Reason why: Frank thinks dogs are dangerous because one bit him.

Why addresses a more superficial level. Frank was bit by a dog, therefore, he believes that dogs have the potential to be dangerous, thus, dogs are dangerous.

But that isn’t really enough, is it? I, personally, have been bitten twice by a dog, and once drew blood. As I’ve mentioned, I do not think dogs are dangerous.

Frank’s How

Evil neighbor dog from Rocko’s Modern Life

The How might look something like this: Frank’s parents did not like animals, and thus, Frank never grew up with pets in the house. Because of this, he never learned how to be around animals. His mother was afraid of the neighbor dog which was big and barked at everything that got close to the property, so Frank was never introduced to that dog to discover that the dog was all bark and no bite. To top it off, Frank’s favorite childhood show was Rocko’s Modern Life, in which Rocko had a neighbor who had a vicious dog that would attack Rocko.

While in high school, Frank got a job as a newspaper boy, and would ride his bike throwing papers. Dogs would run at him barking as he passed by. Once, one got out and chased his bike, the way one would chase a car, which scared him. He crashed his bike, and the dog was about to reach him, but then the owner called the dog back.

While Frank was in college studying to become a nurse, he was in the park and witnessed a woman walking her dog. She fell over and didn’t get back up. Frank rushed to the woman to help, the dog saw him rushing at its fallen person and but Frank to protect the woman.

All of these things accumulated to make up the how of Frank’s belief that dogs are dangerous.

To me, this is the distinction. It’s a combination of experience and environment. Had his mother not been afraid of dogs and thus unintentionally instilled that into Frank, along with the reinforcement of the cartoon, Frank might not have had that foundation to build his assumption that dogs are dangerous.

Why is a motive. How is the reason the motive developed and is someway justified.

How This Is Applicable to Your Writing

While I hope that the reason you’re doing this work is to better understand yourself and the world around you, I know that as writers, you’ll want to know the benefits of this for your writing. So, here is your explanation.

You’ll hear me talk about understanding the villain or antagonist a lot, to the point where you could almost write that antagonist’s side of the story in a compassionate light. Those are the antagonists which challenge our thinking, and challenge our judgements of people. A beautiful job of this is done in Toni Morrison’s book, The Bluest Eye, in which  (HEADS UP—POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING AND DEFINITELY SPOILER ALERT) the backstory of Cholly, who impregnates his 11-year-old daughter. The backstory doesn’t make the vastly horrific act alright, but it gives understanding to it, which is conflicting to the reader. It shows how an act like this could have happened, and forces the reader to examine the how of the world that supported this, rather than the why regarding Cholly.

The focus of this week is looking at ourselves and asking how we got to be as we are, and how the world got to be as it is, rather than the why.

Your Homework

As mentioned, your homework are the journal-writing prompts. Spend time with these prompts and really work to be honest with yourself.

It’s best if you spend some time just generally writing for ten minutes or so before you start these questions. This will help get any of those nagging thoughts out of your head so you can focus on the questions rather than “What should I cook for dinner tonight? I need to remember to get toothpaste when I’m at the store later” etc.

You’re ready? Clear minded? Here they are.

  1. What topics of discussion make me uncomfortable?
  2. What are the reasons for that discomfort?
  3. What are the reasons for those reasons?

Dig deep. Think about the Frank example with dogs. The second question is addressing the why, but the third question is addressing the how. See if you can really dig deep into this.

It helps if you set a timer for at least ten minutes, preferably more, to spend on each question. If you have the ability, write out your answers by hand. You can connect better to yourself this way. If you can’t write by hand, try recording yourself talking. The key through doing this is not to stop writing/talking. Articulate through the length of the timer, and longer if you feel the call. If you don’t know what to write/say, then repeat “I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to say…” until you do.

The other thing I would like to invite you to do is check out the following resources. Try to make it your goal to read at least one book on the topic, as well as three articles. Look into some of the trainings. If doing any of this makes you uncomfortable, refer to questions 2 and 3 of the journal writing prompts.

Resources

Ar-tic

Ar-tic Instagram: @ar_tic_org

Ar-tic website: www.ar-tic.org

Websites/Trainings

Ar-tic trainingss:

WritingTheOther

Articles

Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
7 Casually Racist Things That White Authors Do” by Mya Nunnally
White as the Default” by Marissa Rei Sebastian
“Definition of Cultural Appropriation: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Avoid it,” by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.

Non-Fiction Books

Why I am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou
Writing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
Race by Toni Morrison
Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
Killing Rage: Ending Racism, by bell hooks
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by bell hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Plantation Memories by Grada Kilomba

Fiction

Recitatif by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Writing Excuses Related Episodes

15:12 Writing the Other—Being an Ally
14:31 Cultural Setting as Conflict
14:21 Writing the Other—Yes You Can!
14:12 Writing the Other—Latinx Representation
7.4 Writing the Other
6.15 Writing Other Cultures

Sitting With Discomfort – Talking About Deep Fear: Pt 1.5

This is a continuation of examining discomfort in difficult topics such as race. This is a half-step post between the first and second, in which I talk about general fears vs. deep fears, the kind that might prevent you from acting when it matters most.

This series is inspired by art-tic, but my interpretation of their message may differ from what they intended, and the homework at the end of this post is my own. I encourage you to check out the links in the resource section, starting with the ar-tic Instagram videos to get the full picture.

Banner: Let's talk about Fear. Now, let's talk about deep fears. First step to dissolve fear as acknowledging fear. All fear. Natural Writer Coaching

Let’s Talk About Fear in Writing

Fear is a real thing. There are a lot of versions of fear that we experience, whether they’re deep or superficial. They can be vague worries or concerns or they can be deep-rooted, such as what many people experiencing deep and constant injustices.

We’re afraid of starting to write, we might be afraid of finishing our project—because, what then? We might be afraid of failure or criticism, or we might be afraid of success.

These are all relatively easy fears to overcome. It’s my job to help you get through those fears when it comes to your creative projects.

Let’s Talk About Deep Fears

Here, I’ll explain with my own recent experience.

With the events going on around the world, I can’t sit and be quiet. Yet I have been afraid. I have been afraid to voice my concerns and voice my stance on the injustices going on. I’ve been afraid that I’ll say the wrong thing, or that even though I have the intention of being supportive, that I’ll take away from those who need their voices to be heard more than mine.

I’ve had situations in which I said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and I was so mortified that I nearly deleted my social media account at the time. I’ve endorsed a problematic piece of literature only to realize just how problematic it is, and nearly broke my rule of no book burning. We all make mistakes.

And these things have fueled my fear of speaking out and using my voice to be an ally, a co-conspirator in justice, however you want to phrase it.

Sure when it comes to my personal writing, I can be afraid of rejection (though rejection letters aren’t that bad), I can be afraid of a bad review or of someone saying that my writing in drivel. But those are injuries to the ego.

The deeper fear, the one that I experience about speaking out, about using my writing to share a message, that fear goes deeper than the ego. It revolves around doing harm. I’m afraid of doing harm.

This is why I’m writing this series this week. This is the reason why I’m pushing you guys as well as myself to really get to the depths of your fears and journal through them, to ask yourself where you are in all of this, what you can do, and what is the least harmful way you can do it. Who knows, you may even stumble on the answer as to how to transcend “least harmful” into “most helpful.” That’s the goal, right?

Again, Rebecca Davis MA, MSW truly inspired me this weekend when she encouraged white people to really sit with our discomfort. It opened my eyes to how I’d been prioritizing my actions and how I present myself to the world. Sure, this is making it about me, and I’m not the one being damaged by the injustices in the world. But if I can’t sit with my own discomfort, learn to move through it and overcome it, then how the hell can I help anyone else do it?

It starts with me.

Your Homework

Yesterday I gave an introduction as to what this week is going to be about, and gave you the homework of watching some videos—you did watch the videos at the very least, right?—and a lot of resources to check out, including articles, fiction and non-fiction books. By the way, if you have any more you’d like to add to the list, I would love to hear them.  

While tomorrow I’m going to challenge you to look at your discomforts, today I’m going ask you to make a thoughtful list of fears you have at the minute. Literally any fear. It could be of spiders, snakes, cooking with oil, flying (a personal fear of mine), etc., all the way to the deeper stuff, such as being afraid you won’t complete your magnum opus before you die.

Write down all of your fears. Really make sure you spend time thinking about this, feeling it through. Maybe even start it at the morning and think about it through the day, adding to it when you think of something new. I know that this can be more than uncomfortable for some of you, so make sure you’ve got methods of self-care at your disposal. If you need some comfort while you do this, check out some meditations. I’ll put a few links of calming music I like to listen to when I’m getting overwhelmed.

Don’t respond to your fears, don’t think about the causes of them, or go deep with them. But once you’ve created your list, perhaps at the end of the day, read through it. Give yourself a moment with each item of on the list and just sit with it for a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes with each item on the list, observing how it makes you feel to acknowledge it.

When you’ve gone through your list, spend some time journaling about your experience. How did it make you feel to acknowledge each of these fears? What did you think of the fears when you read them and sat with them?

Again, this isn’t a time to delve into the how and why. We’ll get into that in tomorrow’s post. But for now, you’re just observing how your mind and body react to these fears.

I would also like to note, that while ar-tic inspired the focus of this series, the homework assignments and journal prompts are mine. I strongly encourage you to check out the trainings that ar-tic provide, as well as the other resources that I have linked below.

Again, if you have more resources you would like me to add, please let me know and I will be more than happy to add them.

Happy writing!

Resources

Ar-tic

Ar-tic Instagram: @ar_tic_org

Ar-tic website: www.ar-tic.org

Websites/Trainings

Ar-tic trainingss:

WritingTheOther

Articles

Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
7 Casually Racist Things That White Authors Do” by Mya Nunnally
White as the Default” by Marissa Rei Sebastian
“Definition of Cultural Appropriation: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Avoid it,” by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.

Non-Fiction Books:

Why I am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou
Writing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
Race by Toni Morrison
Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
Killing Rage: Ending Racism, by bell hooks
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by bell hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Plantation Memories by Grada Kilomba

Fiction

Recitatif by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Writing Excuses Related Episodes

15:12 Writing the Other—Being an Ally
14:31 Cultural Setting as Conflict
14:21 Writing the Other—Yes You Can!
14:12 Writing the Other—Latinx Representation
7.4 Writing the Other
6.15 Writing Other Cultures

Instagram image: Let's Talk about Fear. Now, let's talk about deep fear. Step 1 to dissolve fear is acknowledging fear. All fear. New Blog Post. Natural Writer Coaching

Sitting With Discomfort: Exercises in White Responsibility in Writing–Pt 1: Exposure

This is an honest post. This is a personal post. But if you’re like me, it’s applicable to you.

Getting Real for a Minute

As you may or may not know, I’m an American living in the UK. As an American, I am very well aware of the racial and political issues that go on in my home country. What’s more, I’m a white American. Not even a hint of non-European descent in me.

Because of this, I don’t feel like I have the space to speak out about anything race-related. It isn’t my injustice. So, I just listen.

This was where my listening got me.

Sitting with the Discomfort

I follow an Instagram account called ar_tic_org, an organization who are working to “To decentralize whiteness as the focal point of healing,” with the central belief that “In order to decentralize whiteness and improve outcomes for all Americans, we believe it all starts with re-evaluating our values.”

I was watching a recent IGTV video by one of the co-founders of ar-tic, Rebecca Davis , MA, MSW, who said something that struck me very deeply. Specifically to white people, Davis asked us to sit with our discomfort. If we aren’t comfortable posting about these things, talking about these things, anything, we need to sit with that discomfort, and acknowledge that it’s there. We need to acknowledge what this discomfort is telling us.

Davis has a couple of other IGTV videos which are longer, and definitely worth watching. That was how I spent my Saturday morning: listening to what she had to say, thinking about it, digesting it, and trying to understand what I can do.

The idea of sitting with my discomfort really struck me and resonated with me.

Here’s What I learned

What makes me uncomfortable?

I’ve been wanting to talk about what’s going on in the US regarding race and police brutality for a while, but I held back. For the most part, I’m only on social media on my Natural Writer Coaching accounts. I thought that perhaps it would be unprofessional to do so, and that if I wanted to be welcoming to everyone, then I needed to stay out of it.

That has been gnawing at me. That was a form of discomfort in itself.

But then I asked myself how I felt about talking about racial injustice on these accounts—and my discomfort was greater than hiding behind the cause of “professionalism.”

It’s one thing if I do it on Facebook, on my personal account, where basically all my friends are on the same page and if there’s someone who wants to disagree, a discussion happens (thankfully, it rarely turned into anything terribly ugly). I’m not longer on FB these days, only IG and Twitter.

And the only time and reason I’m on either of these two social media platforms is for this business.

This is where my discomfort is.

When Rebecca from ar-tic said to sit with my discomfort, I really listened to what that meant to me, and when I thought about what my discomfort meant to me, it was about protecting myself. And while I’m a relatively new business, I don’t need protection.

Furthermore, who am I protecting myself from? The judgements of those who disagree with my stance on the horrors that happen under police brutality or who disagree with Black Lives Matter? These things are important to me because they deal with the dignity and value of human lives. I believe that no-one should be discriminated against or oppressed, especially those who have had to deal with so much oppression at the hand of colonization. So why am I worried about upsetting the people who believe that All Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter in my business?

So I didn’t want to speak out, because I didn’t want it to affect my business.

In sitting with my discomfort, I learned what was important. What’s important is seeking justice not just for the tragedies like George Floyd and all of the many others, but for those who have had a knee on their neck for hundreds of years.

My discomfort is a reminder of my privilege. The only thing I have to worry about are benign opinions.

“Let’s distinguish between feeling uncomfortable and feeling unsafe. White folx who are watching, you are not unsafe because I am saying these things. Nothing is happening to your body. No one is actively harming you. Black folx are not going to come and get you, right. Like, you’re not being attacked, no one is harming you. Let’s really sit with that: uncomfortable vs. unsafe.”

~ Rebecca Davis, MA, MSA, 35m11s Video 1 Linked here

This week is mostly geared toward those who are like me, who are in a place of privilege. I want to encourage you to discover your discomfort, and sit with it, and see what it has to teach you. I’ll do this with journal prompts. These prompts are coming from me, though are inspired by the videos and messages from ar-tic. I’ll create a list of links at the end of this post so you can explore them and other resources at the end of this blog post.

The Importance of Doing This Work

This is a website for writers. I know that. You know that, which is why you’re here. And for me to deviate from your writing expectations might be a little blind-siding.

First of all, I don’t want to have to convince you to do this work if you are like me. I trust that you know and understand why you should do this work.

However, why should you do this work relating to your writing?

To understand yourself is the first step to understanding the world around you. If you have looked at the events from the last week and the multitudes of other events over the last year, two years, four years, ten years, etc., and wondered how the hell the world got this way, you first need to understand yourself.

Understanding yourself will help you understand what makes you upset, why it makes you upset, and how you got to that point. When you can understand and have compassion because you see how events, words, messaging, and situations contributed to the current composition of you, then you can start doing the same research on the world around you to better understand. When you understand how something was put together, then you can begin to understand how to constructively be a part of the solution to the problems the world is having.

One of the biggest things I hear over and over when it comes to being a good co-conspirator, as Rebecca has coined, is to listen to what marginalized and struggling voices have to say and make room for them to say it. How can you do that if you don’t even know how to listen to yourself and make room for your own self.

What does making room for yourself look like? It means hearing what every part of you has to say, even the ugly parts that you may not want to acknowledge or hear about yourself. How can you help to transform those parts if you can’t hear them? This is part of the discomfort you need to sit with. Sit with it, makes space for it.

That, at least, is my interpretation of what it means to sit with your discomfort.

That’s the first part of why the work is important.

The second part of why the work is important, which is most specific to writing, has to do with how you understand your characters and the world you’re building every time you write a new story.

When you understand yourself, and how you make up you, and you learn to put that toward understanding the world, imagine what you can do with your stories.

A favorite writer of mine is Toni Morrison. I wish so much that I had learned about her work when I was younger. She reaches for the how when it comes to towns and characters, which is something I’ll go into in the next post. Many of her characters have a whole history not just of their lives, but back to their grandparents, and their great grandparents. I’ll reference her again and again, but for now, I strongly recommend that you read Song of Solomon, and keep in mind the importance of stories and how they’re passed down.

Morrison’s understanding of the world not only created deep and important messages in her novels, short stories, children’s books, essays and lectures, but created rich characters and towns that were so real you felt as though you’d personally experienced them.

I can’t say how she got in touch with that depth other than paying attention to what she say. But I can say that I personally believe that the first step is get in touch with the self.

Do, do this work for the betterment of the world. Do this work for the betterment of yourself. And do this work for your writing. And listen, listen, listen.

Side Note

I want to say, too, that I am not an authority on any of this work other than on the aspect of writing in general. I am not an authority on writing the other (there is a wonderful link in the Resources section for that), and I’m not an authority on race or other cultures outside my own.

What I do know are my own experiences and the work I am doing for myself regarding this particular topic. Ar-tic inspired this blog topic, and I do strongly urge you to watch the videos listed, but the interpretation I’ve given may differ from what was meant, and the journal prompts that will be provided during the week are mine.

If you have questions regarding this topic specifically, I suggest checking out the resources listed below, and especially checking out the online trainings listed as well.

Your Homework

Your homework is to watch the above mentioned videos. I’ll put links below for convenience.

The second part of your homework is to examine your library and media. Whose voice are you hearing from the most? What are their backgrounds? What is a narrative that carries forth with them?

Finally, your third piece of homework is to look up the resources listed below. Some are websites, some are accounts, some are books. There is a lot for you to check it out, but all of it is very worth it.

Resources

Ar-tic

Ar-tic Instagram: @ar_tic_org

Ar-tic website: www.ar-tic.org

Websites/Trainings

Ar-tic trainingss:

WritingTheOther

Articles

Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
7 Casually Racist Things That White Authors Do” by Mya Nunnally
White as the Default” by Marissa Rei Sebastian
“Definition of Cultural Appropriation: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Avoid it,” by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.

Non-Fiction Books:

Why I am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou
Writing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
Race by Toni Morrison
Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
Killing Rage: Ending Racism, by bell hooks
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by bell hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Plantation Memories by Grada Kilomba

Fiction

Recitatif by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Writing Excuses Related Episodes

15:12 Writing the Other—Being an Ally
14:31 Cultural Setting as Conflict
14:21 Writing the Other—Yes You Can!
14:12 Writing the Other—Latinx Representation
7.4 Writing the Other
6.15 Writing Other Cultures

The Last Day: NatWriCoChallenge & Pay What Feels Right

NatWritCoChallenge

Today is the last day of the Natural Writer Coaching Challenge, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Those of you who have participated have done wonderful work, and I have loved seeing it so much.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who participated, and whose writing I got to know. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll enter in everyone who participated with the full 31 Instagram posts, tags and hashtags included, and I’ll draw the winner of the 2 FREE writing coaching sessions. I am so excited.

Pay What Feels Right

All through April and May I’ve been offering Pay What Feels Right sessions to help writers who are worried about finances but still want some extra help keeping going. May 31st (today) is the last day for this offer.

You can still book a session with this payment offer, but the booking must be booked today. The session doesn’t need to be today, just the booking needs to get in today.

If you’re interested in this, you can read more details here and/or fill out the contact form below to make your book or to ask any questions. I’ll be as prompt as I can in getting back to you. I look forward to hearing form and working with you!

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!