How Different Types of Reading Change Your Writing

Interesting post on how reading impacts writing. I’ve been saying this for years. Post Quote:

“This article describes a study in which a group of adult readers identified their most frequently read materials such as online magazines (and memes), newspapers, genre and literary fiction, and other written sources. Researchers then looked at the level of writing that each participant exhibited and found a correlation between what types of material people read and the complexity of their writing.”

Kristen Twardowski

You are what you read. That is a simple enough concept, but it turns out that it means more than just that people who read mysteries may become better at writing mysteries. What a person reads fundamentally changes the structure of his or her writing.

In June of 2016, the International Journal of Business Administration published “Syntactic and Lexical Complexity of Reading Correlates with Complexity of Writing in Adults”.  (You can read the full text of the article online.) This article describes a study in which a group of adult readers identified their most frequently read materials such as online magazines (and memes), newspapers, genre and literary fiction, and other written sources. Researchers then looked at the level of writing that each participant exhibited and found a correlation between what types of material people read and the complexity of their writing. People who spend most of their time reading Buzzfeed articles…

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If My Books Shall Die

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I read James Baldwin today

and realized I was carrying his bones

in the crooks of my arms

and realized

that if my books shall die

then I have labored in vain

I have swam through centuries

and ran years in someone else shoes

I have climbed mountains

and crawled under valley’s

only to bleed death

I have wasted my time

carving obsession into paper

with invisible ink

words fallen like stars

on deaf ears

If my books shall die

then let me not be born

take me back to the safety

of my mother’s womb

the privacy

of not yet existing

if my works have been in vain

If my books shall die

then I do not wish to live

not on the tops of your shelves

or faced down on kitchen counters

or underneath your children’s beds

honor me

in the palms of your hands

and not standing next to Grandmother’s old picture

in the living room

grandmother is dead

and I do not wish to die

give me my flowers today

and accept the life I offer you

in the form of metaphors

on silver platters

for I am feeding you

with silver spoons

and all you got to do

is eat

for I offer you

the best of me

and when I am dead

no longer among the living

crack open a book written by me

and feel my breath on your skin

hear my voice resurrect

from inside an ancient pen

watch my tongue dance

see my lips move

and witness passion soar from beyond the grave

If my books shall die

Then my words did not really contain life

But if my books shall live

What are you waiting for?

Go to your bookshelf

Resurrect me

And carry

My bones

What NOT to Post When Marketing Your Book – 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Valuable information for every author. Post Quote:
“The goal of marketing is to build a relationship with your readers so they grow to know, like and trust you. If you are constantly asking them to buy something, they will most likely tune you out.”

The Faery Whisperer

news-flashUseful information in this post and well worth the read. ❤ Click the link at the bottom of this post to read more. 

As I was scrolling through my Facebook groups today, I saw several posts that listed multiple links to their books for each country’s Amazon store.  However, instead of listing every single Amazon store URL in your post you can create one link. This post includes instructions on how to create a smart URL that redirects to the appropriate country based on where the person is using the internet.  You can use a free resource called SmartURL to create this link here:  http://manage.smarturl.it/.

Source: What NOT to Post When Marketing Your Book – 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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When Publishing a Book Might Not Be for You

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I’ve always loved to read and to write and this truth has led to many questions asked of me over the years. I would say that in the last two – three years I’ve received questions mostly from young people about publishing a book for the first time. This makes sense considering I taught and tutored children of all ages (to include Young Adults) for years. In fact, teaching is one of those things I’ve done on the side in addition to writing.

Usually, I am shocked by a few things that make me question whether they should go through with it. Of course, these discussions are always difficult because I don’t want to be discouraging but there are reasons to consider not publishing a book or at least not making a career of it. I will try my best to outline the ones that most stick out to me:

You’re Not a Reader

I know we’ve been over this a million times, however, I am constantly running into young people who want to write books but they are not readers. Part of why I am always talking about my love for reading is because it’s been a constant thread in my life even before I started writing. My siblings used to joke that I’d discovered a cure for AIDS. It was their way of saying I was “smart”. I don’t think I was smart (still don’t) I just loved to read.

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a result, my vocabulary grew as it was difficult to advance my reading (or understand what I was reading) when I didn’t know the definitions of words. So, I would carry a dictionary around and every time I didn’t know the meaning of a word I would write it down and look it up. After I’d mastered ten or twenty words I would practice using them in my poetry. It’s only natural that these same words became part of my natural way of speaking.

Of course, I was teased for sounding too “proper” but it didn’t stop me from obsessing over words. I’m not saying I knew anything. The point I’m making is that I did this kind of stuff for fun. It was natural for me and part of who I am. It wasn’t homework and it wasn’t forced upon me. Reading lots of books was something I always carried with me. Me and books, we have a history and we were tight long before Kindle made reading cool.

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it.”

–Edward P. Morgan

Thus, it has helped me to understand how to write. If you want to write and publish a book but you don’t have a love affair or history of reading it’s going to make the process difficult as you won’t have a working knowledge of the foundation of a book. When I say “a love affair with reading”, I’m not saying you read every now and again. I’m not saying like once a week or once a month. That’s not the kind of history with reading I’m talking about. I’m also not talking about just reading the kinds of books that you like to read.

“As busy as I am, I still take the time to read. To get and stay successful, you should always be learning and growing.”
– Steve Harvey

One can enjoy reading but readers read beyond the joy of it. They read not just for enjoyment but to study, to research, to analyze, to understand what works, and what doesn’t. To notice structure, language, detail. Readers aren’t strictly one type of book, judging not one word in the genre it’s dressed in. One of the many things I enjoy about reviewing books is reading material spanning a wide range of subject matter. Having access to books I probably would not have known about.

“Constant reading pull you into a place (a mindset, if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page.”
– Stephen King

If you want to write a book you must be willing to read for pleasure as well as for the knowledge you need to understand more about what you’re writing. When I say, you must read, I mean every day, widely and passionately.

You Don’t Know What Self-Publishing Actually Is

If you really want to publish a book, do your research. It’s not like you have to know everything but it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of what book publishing is all about and decide if it’s something you’re ready for. Learning is a constant process just as growth is. There’s so much I don’t know and that I am still learning even after I’ve published eight books. That’s because learning is an ongoing process. By hanging around those who are knowledgeable, reading and researching I am learning something new every day.

No one decides to be a doctor without expecting to become educated to do so. This is how Self-Publishing got its stigma’s in the first place, because random people (those who never wanted to write and had no care for reading) suddenly decided they wanted to try and write a book (Of course those stigmas are quickly fading thanks to Indie Authors who have stepped up to the plate to offer the kind of value the field needs). All I am saying is to do your research and familiarize yourself with the steps. If you don’t know what POD is short for or what an ISBN Number is then you are not ready to publish a book.

You’re Not Passionate About Writing or Books

This may sound funny but there are a lot of people who have not decided what it is they really want to do in life. They want to write a book just because everyone is doing it right now or it’s perceived as easy to do but they have no real passion for it. They like to write, sure, but they aren’t skilled at it. In short, it’s just not them. Sometimes you can miss your calling because you don’t understand your worth or what it is you were put here to do. I can only speak for myself when I say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’m not talking about writing being something that developed over time and I just thought, “OK, this is cool, I think I’ll publish a book”. No, I’ve always wanted to write and publish fiction (and a memoir but that’s another chapter in which I have not yet embarked). This road is hard and paved in criticism. If writing a book is something you just want to “try” I can think of a lot of easier things to do. Maybe publishing a book is just not for you. I say this because when you embrace those things you’ve always been passionate about, it empowers the whole experience.

You’re Not Comfortable Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Probably the most important is knowing who you are. Not just from the perspective of nationhood but who you are internal. If you’re not comfortable doing something different, if you think it makes you look like a sell out because you have to network with people outside your circle, attend events that aren’t related to your personal beliefs, or write in a way that reaches beyond the people you know then maybe you aren’t ready to publish a book on a broad scale. Maybe you’re better off publishing something specifically for mom and dad or for your friends.

Anyone can publish a book but if you are talking about branching out and elevating you should be real with yourself. Are you that kind of person? Or are you better off writing and publishing books for those in your immediate circle? If so, that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that but you must be able to define this for yourself. Don’t force yourself to do what you were not naturally built for. It’s unfair to you and to readers. We must keep in mind that we all have different gifts and talents to use to help to reach people on different levels. You can like to do something  but don’t force yourself to make it a part of your life just to say you did it. I like to sing but I am not going to go and record an album. What if that’s not the way you were supposed to contribute to the world? What if you were given something different? If I spend my time singing when I’m supposed to be writing, then I’ve missed my calling.

Your Self-Esteem is Low

I know. It’s hard language and yes, I just added this one. I added it however for good reason. After reading Kristen Lamb’s post on 13 Things Mentally Strong Writers Don’t Do, I had to put this in here. Here’s the thing: If you don’t believe in your abilities, why should I? It’s seriously annoying when writers complain about how their work isn’t good enough. I always attempt to stay positive but the truth is that if you don’t think you can do it no one can help you. Maybe self-esteem building and writer confidence are classes someone can teach because it’s needed. Every day there’s an Indie Author caving to the negative talk and the overwhelming backlash of doing this and don’t do that. It can be frustrating (as we all get frustrated) but Independent Publishing is not for the weak knees, the faint of heart, or the mentally unstable.

The truth is that everyone does not like you, someone thinks you are naïve and your idea is dumb and even more people will tell you about it to your face. They’ll wave their college degrees and years of expertise in your face and laugh at your new Self-Published book. Ignore them for the first shall be last and the last shall be first. It’s always the people who you doubt, who you look down upon, and who you underestimate that succeeds and you can put that on your heart (if you have one).

Self-Publishing is an amazing experience and there’s no better time to Self-Publish a book than right now at this very moment. I will always be encouraging and motivating to those who are courageous enough to slap on their thick skins and step on out there. I am only advising because I know how challenging this road is, that you make sure this is what you are meant to do.

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Check Out Other PBS Posts on Self-Publishing:

8 Ways to Go From Author to Authorpreneur

4 Common Sense Reasons it Can Benefit You to Self-Publish

The Laying Bricks Series (Building Strong Foundations)

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

The Business of Writing 101: (6 Basics)

The Workflow

You Are Not JK Rowling

Paperback Comeback

Do It Yourself Promo Tools


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

13 Things Mentally Strong Writers Don’t Do

Excellent article to help jump start your writing week! My favorite Post Quote: “We can’t control Amazon’s rules or Smashwords’ terms of service. We can’t control whether an agent accepts us. We can’t control whether Barnes & Noble lives or dies. We can control getting the words on the page. We can control building a brand capable of driving book sales. I see a lot of writers wasting a lot of energy over issues where they don’t have any control. That energy is better used elsewhere.”

*Comments disabled here. Please see original post*

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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As y’all know I do a ton of reading and this includes lots and lots of blogs and articles. Over the holiday I ran across one article that just had me jumping up and down and yelling, “YES! THIS!” The Business Insider article “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” is based off Amy Morin’s book (which I highly recommend).

It doesn’t matter if we strive to have a healthy marriage, strong kids or a killer career, these tenets cross-apply to all areas of life. Mental toughness is a key component to being successful. Yes, even for writers.

So I figured I would tinker with this and make it more directly apply to writers and what we must do (or not do) if we long to do well in this career. Thus, today we are going to discuss 13 Things Mentally Strong Writers Don’t Do.

#1 They don’t waste time…

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Cane River Creole National Park – Oakland Plantation

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I took a week off to unplug and to spend time with my family. In addition to camping, we visited the Cane River Creole National Historical Park in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

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Reading and watching movies about slavery is one thing, but touring a former slave plantation is a completely different experience. I didn’t get very emotional but what I did feel cannot be put into words. I will say for now that appreciation is my best way of describing it. As the sun lowered and we prepared to leave, I thought about what my ancestors would be doing at that time of the day. I thought about how they’d just be coming in from the fields to prepare for their nightly routines.

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Originally called Bermuda, the founder of Oakland was Jean Pierre Emmanuel Prud’homme who began farming the land in 1785 and received a Spanish land grant in 1789. The land’s first cash crops were tobacco, indigo, and cotton.

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The Prud’hommes were the first family west of the Mississippi River to farm cotton on a large scale.

The Overseer’s House

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Overseers were the middlemen of the antebellum South’s plantation hierarchy. Sometimes they were white men working for the slave master and other times they were enslaved men hired to rule over his breathern. In any event, the masters expected them to maintain a workforce of slaves to produce crop. The slaves were the overseer’s responsibility. He was to keep them working by any means necessary. In return, he got to live just a few scraps better than the enslaved, such as occupy his own cabin.

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Close Up: Check Out this Old School Stove!

I also noticed the mud and straw still preserved from the original building of the house.

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Slave Quarters turned Home of Sharecroppers

After the Civil War, sharecropper and tenant farmers continued to live on the land up until the 1970s. They worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. A tenant farmer is a person who farms rented land, like a sharecropper. The only difference is that Tenant farmers sometimes owned something (a small home, farm tools, a horse or mule) whereas sharecroppers were practically slaves and owned very little to nothing at all.

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Wash House

Martha Ann, an enslaved Laundress, worked in the wash house in the 1850s. In the 1940s, her descendant, Martha Helaire earned $4 an hour working here as a Laundress.

(All we have to do is walk a few steps to the washer and dryer. Can you say gratitude?)

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Bemuda Store

Opened after The Civil War, sharecroppers and tenant farmers continued buying their supplies from family and farming from this store until 1983.

(1983?!)

The Prud’homme family owned and operated the store. They also operated the Post Office located inside.

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Carpenter Shop

Slaves built and repaired plantation structures from this workplace.

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Mule Barn

Smokehouse turned mule barn. Built by the enslaved, they reused the smokehouse to accommodate the mules when the original mule barn burned down.

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Cane Syrup Pot

Used to make cane syrup.

On some plantations, these style pots were also used to punish the enslaved and to boil them alive (as depicted in the movie Mandingo. CLICK HERE to see the clip.)

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The Big House

Porch and perimeter of The Big House, or the Masters House. We could tour everywhere except the house. We were not allowed inside and was not given a reason as to why.

It was something just to look at the trees whose thick branches bowed low. Shading the big house, cooling it from the Louisiana sun and sheltering it from the River breeze, these trees line the walkway to the entrance of the gate and were planted in 1825.

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Strangers Room

I don’t know what the strangers room is (Guest Room?) but it’s a room in the big house. I tried to take pics of the inside from the window. Looks like the original furniture is still preserved.

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Carriage House

The carriage house dates to 1820. In its earlier years, the east bay was used as a horse stall. The overseer had the horse saddled each day and tied to the chain so that it was available for riding and checking the fields.

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Square Corn Crib and Cistern

Built around 1821 of hand hewn cypress logs, the corn crib was used to store grain for the plantation. Rain water was channeled from the crib roof into the cistern, which was 16 ft deep and held 4804 Gallons of water used for watering stock.

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Pigeoneer

There are several Pigeonnier’s on the land. The Prud’hommes harvested young pigeons for a delicacy called “Squab.”

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Chicken Coop

Hubby checking out the Chicken Coop.

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Fattening Pen

Chickens were bred, hatched and fattened in this area. Turkeys were also raised on the land.

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Randoms

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What I carried home with me was an even deeper appreciation for those little things we take for granted every day. I was headed back to the campsite to sleep in a tent, but I knew that eventually I’d be going home to a hot shower and a warm bed. As we packed up to leave the plantation, I considered what it would be like to be forced to stay. What it’s like not to have a home to go back to and nothing more to look forward to tomorrow than the same back breaking work.

I looked at the children as they played and thought about how any of them could be taken away from their parents and sold at any moment. All of this is truths to which I am already familiar. But being there and standing in that spot produced a greater understanding of what it may have been like to live in that time.

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My revelations were not just in relation to the dark history. As I looked around the land, I saw how the enslaved built almost everything on it. It reminded me of how skillful and resourceful we are as a people. From our own shelters, to clothing, food, and shoes, I thought how empowering it would be to get back to building our own.

Often deemed ignorant and illiterate, the truth is that Israelites, so-called Blacks, were not as ignorant as we are taught. It occurred to me that many blacks were only lost when it came to adapting and assimilating into American culture. Otherwise, we were expert farmers, inventors, midwives, carpenters, and chefs. Thus, I left not just in appreciation for the physical things in my life, but for everything my people have endured and the knowledge they’ve passed down to me from generation to generation.


Being that I drafted this post when we got home so it can be ready for you today, I’m going to crawl into this bed and get ready to catch up. A week off for me is like a month so let me get this sleep in now so I can get back to work. In the meantime, I’ll be scrolling your blogs to see what I missed. The grind continues.

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