Confidence

Karibu Reader!

Have you ever experienced doubt? You get that question coming up through all the other noise bugging you and asking if you really are what you say you are, if you’re really doing what you think you’re meant to be doing.

When the little doubt I still possess creeps up on me, I have to do some serious ninja moves  to get back to writing and enjoying the process. I heard someone say something that inspired me to try and attack it from a different angle, PRACTICE.

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It is very easy to forget to be confident about the things you do sporadically.

Mapenzi!

It’s your thing. Do what you wanna do.

Karibu Reader and Happy Father’s Day!

Toronto is finally warm and I find myself inexorably pulled outside basking in the sun.

As an author trying to offer entertainment to readers, I’m often baffled by the notion of trying to get fans. If I were to approach a random person (she’s a black woman like me) and ask her to purchase my book, what would I say to her? What exactly is she looking for in a story? A heroine who battles aliens? A dark handsome hero in whose arms she can rest safely? A challenging socio-economic situation that has been solved in the future using a solution currently unthought of? What does she want and how can I satisfy her?

That is a trap. Don’t ever succumb to the pressure of trying to sell your story to anyone. The beauty of art is that the audience falls in a spectrum (regardless of what genre you write) from those who love it and cannot live without it, to those who end up abhorring you, the writer, for coming up with such a story.

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I’m a big supporter of supporting black artists, whose work is often marginalized. Watch this and support.

Sorting through confusion

Karibu reader!

The weekend is upon us, what are your plans? I went to an all-girls secondary school where I studied music under a teacher we all loved. In trying to teach us what syncopation was she had us clapping to and memorizing this little ditty,

Syn-co-pa-tion
Teaches you to
Con-centrate.

This week has been a little crazy and ideas have been popping in and out of my head like the Higgs boson! I have literally had to keep a list of the ideas floating around with me so they could leave me alone so I can finish the short story I began last week. Problem is, they keep popping up at the most inopportune times making it difficult to concentrate on the one thing I should be working on. Ms. Hobday’s little rhyme did nothing to get me where I needed to be.

In my struggle I realized something that helped me find my story-telling center again. Sometimes our hearts and minds are tuned into that place where inspiration flows from, and we have to sit in it and allow it to infuse us. When it starts to swirl and get confusing, write your ideas down, write flash fiction, draw your idea, just let your creative ability reach for the thing that will get you out of the rut and back into the sunlight.

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Mapenzi, from me to you.

Rebels UNTIE!

Karibu reader!

I hate rules. Don’t you? I dislike being told what to do and sometimes have to check myself before I rebel simply because someone told me what to do. I never thought of myself as a rebel and still don’t regard myself as one, but try telling me what to do see what happens.

So when I came across all the different “RULES OF WRITING” being peddled on the internet,

Some ‘experts’ have decided that you cannot use the word SAID. As in, “Oh, look,” she said.

Others think that using doing words, adverbs that end in -ly is basically dooming yourself to writers’ purgatory. For example, “Oh, look,” she said, longingly.

And yet some others say, don’t tell me what they said, show me what they said. They mean “Oh, look,” she whimpered, gazing longingly at the dazzling bracelet in the window.

Enough.

All these rules are arbitrary and suggested by people who pretend to hold the keys to publishing and the money jars. Bad writers get paid gobs of money all the time and they break every single rule that was ever put in place by ‘experts’.

My advice? Just write what you want to read and those who love reading the same things will line up to read your books.

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Peace!

Finishing First

Karibu Reader!

How was your weekend? Cold? Sunny? I can barely remember mine!

As an author I get this question all the time, “Are your books out?”. Usually you have to temper your expectations when someone asks that question. They are not suggesting that they are about to buy your book, oh no! It is merely polite conversation they are trying to have to find out what you’re all about, or waiting till someone more interesting comes along.

My stories are still hanging about on my computer being edited, revised or held in waiting. That is no easy task. Everyone who writes would like to have their work available for public consumption so critics and fans alike would have something to say about their work. However, I have had to learn the art of patience for my own good and for the good of my audience. Nothing is quite as irritating as reading a story you know was not yet quite ready for publication.

Patience is a virtue that is hard to learn.

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Dreaming

Karibu!

I hope your week has gone swimmingly and that your anticipation for weekend proggie* is almost at its zenith.

An article I read this morning has absorbed me completely. I’m a fan of science fiction and I mostly write science fiction and fantasy. I write about the things I love. I’m constantly scouring the internet for cool and interesting things and contemplating their use for systems for the future. Take for instance all the research going into the different uses of graphene or what 4D printing can do for the development of a smarter World or how people feel about replacing their bodies of flesh with mechanical smart machines.

All this stuff I love bleeds into my writing because I love them. My mind finds ways to grapple with these subjects while I’m asleep and if I allow myself to have a moment to think and mull over the dream, my stories take flight and soar!

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Working for pay

Karibu! Come in, sit down, let’s chat!

Sometimes the itch to get my work out to the World is so crazy, I just want to post my precious intellectual property out there for everyone to read and enjoy. There are times I have. Mostly my best friend and sometimes co-author will come up to me and screech and holler about giving my brain away. So, just as an FYI…

This place where ideas reside can be elusive, the Ether, is an unforgiving place where you have to pay to receive. Generally artists (of any trade) have to allow themselves to have space and time to allow inspiration to rain down. Giving form to the idea and letting it develop into something marketable is an impressive accomplishment that takes time and dedication. People pay handsomely for beautiful works of art or photography, but no one wants to pay for words.

I once heard someone say that ideas are a dime a dozen. A butt load of hooey. Bad ideas may be a dime a dozen, but good solid ideas are priceless.

Let me explain the various examples out there.

  • One person had an idea for a natural hair vlog. They talk about the challenges they have faced in taking care of their natural hair and provide some tips that have worked for them. Go to youtube and type “natural hair” in the search box. How many videos are you going to get? 1,480,000 results.
  • One person thought up what elves could be and what they would look like. How many versions of Legolas have you read about in books or seen on covers? How many children who suddenly find that they have a gift no one else has? How many vampire stories are airing on your television this past year?
  • What about social media? The big dogs are Facebook and Twitter, but remember MySpace?

Lesson of the day?

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The Art of Selfishness

Karibu!

Is it warm where you are? Toronto has been hit by some unusually cool weather so when it is warm…

I’m just cool like that.

Today, during my daily cobweb cleaning I had a thought about my writing. Mostly, I write because I want to be able to tell a story that I would love to read. My only audience is me and as long as I keep that in mind, the process is enjoyable and easy going. The moment I think about someone else and how they would react to the story and the kind of thing they would like to read, something blocks my creativity and I fall headlong into writer’s block.

Am I a little selfish? Of course I am. It is impossible to please everyone, so I’m content pleasing myself and others who are pleased by the same things.

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Most Fridays I skype with my niece who will run off to her room to get a book so we can all read it together. In times like those I wonder if I’m doing right by her. She is still very young (just turned 3) and will be too involved in growing up and battling hormones for many years before she settles into the person she is going to become. When she finally does, what kind of impact will my stories have on her life?

It is a question I grapple with regularly.

Anywhoosies. Back to regularly scheduled activities!

Busingye & Mapenzi!

Black holes close by

Karibu!

How are you? I hope you are well.

Recently, I sent a request out to join a group of people in an online social group. At first the experience was incredible because people there seemed to like the same things I liked. I chatted and talked and gave my opinion to anyone who had the opportunity to read it. I was so excited! ┬áNormally I post interesting tidbits of scientific research and innovation on my facebook page and you can literally hear the internet crickets calling for mates. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for… or so I thought.

After a short while I realized something about this group. They did not really purport to be the people they had advertised themselves to be and so I did not really fit. Intelligent rational discussions about a topic quickly deteriorated when people felt attacked because there were dissenting voices and no one could be heard.

It literally took Friday, Saturday and Sunday for me to be DONE! I find that a part of me is a little sad to see that once again, there isn’t a community of people with whom I would fit snugly. I’ve thought of creating my own, and maybe I will when time permits.

For now, here is one tip from me to you.

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Mapenzi.