Friday, April 26, 2013

Writer Renewed.......

For the past four years, my head has been in a place far different from where it was when I first set out on this journey. I was quietly seduced and suddenly found myself caught up in the merry-go-round known as: Competitions.

Awards, prizes, and such...

They became very important to me and I, like so many of you, applied and applied and applied, trying hard to work some kind of magic into those submission and application letters. Spending weeks writing and re-writing statement of plans and/or the narrative autobiography - all of that work just to receive a rejection letter.

For a long time I was very idealistic about the whole process. I thought that all one had to do was write his/her best work and that would be enough. But it's not always the case. There's cronyism and favoritism and a lot of other "isms" that I won't get into.

But my head is clear now and I've come to realize that those competitions have nothing to do with why I set out on this journey to become a published writer. Those competitions weren't even on my mind when I decided I wanted to be an author. In fact, the only one I was aware of (way back when) was the Pulitzer and that seemed so far out of reach that I pushed it to the back of my mind where it stayed until I was nominated.

That nomination opened up a dam, and I've been treading water ever since.

I don't think art should be competitive. I think it should

I believe that if you start pondering about who is going to read something you haven't even begun to write - removes the soul from the story.

Write the story you want to read and always know that no matter what you write, there's an audience for it - even though you may have been told otherwise.

I've got over a hundred rejection letters telling me that there was no audience for my stories.

I've said this many of times, here: I write for me. If you like it, that makes me happy. If you don't -- well that's okay too.

Being here in this place (Serenbe), in the country, in fresh air, in serenity - has helped to clear my mind. I've returned to nature physically and figuratively. Being here has moved me back to that place in my studio basement apartment in Brooklyn, when I wrote for the sheer pleasure of writing. When the only thing that mattered in the stories I composed there, were the characters and the tales they shared with me.

They say you can't go back again - but you can - the mind is so magnificent that it grants us that opportunity.

So going forward, I vow to continue to write for me and try not to think about the money I'm not making or the awards I'm not winning and know that if I want to put the end of the story of my novel at the beginning and the beginning at the end, or use roman numerals instead of numbers to number the pages of  my book or give ALL my male characters female names and ALL my female characters male names -- I can do that - because it's mine and I write for me, not an establishment. I write for the joy it brings me and if as a reader, my work brings you joy - well that's a double blessing.

  • Bernice L. McFadden

    Just Kel said...

    If you wrote only 6 words, I'd read them. I love to your work and I look to read anything you write.

    I'm loyal like that.

    I am glad to know that you've taken some time in your life to travel, let go and come back to your self. Many blessings on your journey!

    LaTosha Brown said...

    Berneice, God gave me that revelation last week in watching this sister named Liv Warfield sing. I am so liberated now! When did art start being about "getting paid" it's a gift from God therefore it's really about "giving Him glory" It doesn't matter what form it comes out. Can't wait to see you! I'm in Vegas and it's amazing.

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