June Check In

Can I start of by saying June was terrible for my writing? My friends keep telling me to not be hard on myself because I spent the month mostly novel revising and I had a birthday and major test to prepare for, not to mention thesis revisions. So yeah, June was busy, but I am still disappointed in the progress I made

 

July GYWO: 7,922 out of 30,000

 

Projects-

Star of Xianu: 4,178 (64,479 out of 70,000 total)

JAFF Novel: 3,870 (22,908 out of 35,000)

 

To date-

GYWO: 110,526 out of 200,000

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Thoughts:

I’m doing a writing retreat during July, plus Camp NaNoWriMo, so I am hoping that July goes much better. I am determined to do better, but I am also determined to accept that not every moth will have high word counts. I need to forgive myself for June and know I will move forward with my writing. As my friends tell me, and I tell other writers, every new word counts.

#BlackGirlMagic in Publishing

blackgirlmagicFirst off, there is so much #blackgirlmagic happening in publishing write now. Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, Dhonielle Clayton. It is beautiful to finally see more black women making it in publishing. In theaters now is Everything, Everything, a YA romance based off of a book written by a wonderful black woman, Nicola Yoon. I get so excited seeing the opportunities black women are finally being afforded in this often sexist and racist industry.

I went to a writing retreat back in March about diversity in writing. It was wonderful and I got to meet some of my favorite authors (including Nicola), but the thing I most took away from the retreat was a sense of community. While at the retreat I got to meet so many different people from different walks of life, but the thing that impacted me the most didn’t happen until the night before we were all to leave and on the ride home.

That night a big snow storm was predicted to hit Chicago. During the retreat, I’d met three women, Rena, Nia, and Ronni. All three of them would be impacted by the storm. Nia had already ridden up with me from Atlanta and was going to ride back down, but I mentioned off handedly, that there was room in my car for two more. They took me up on my offer and it was set that they would ride back to Atlanta with me and stay there with family they had until they could fly back out.

That ride was the most magical thing I had ever experienced. I got to connect with three wonderful women and since then have talked to them almost every day. They are my writing community. We are able to lean on each other for support and bounce ideas off of each other and rant about the industry in privacy.

There have been times I was close to giving up and times I needed advice and they are always there for me. I like to think that I am there for them too. We have big plans with each other and supporting one another is just the beginning.

May Check-In

I totally forgot I was going to update every month on my writing progress for the year. As a reminder, I am aiming to write 200,000 words this year and was trying to do 85,000 words between January and March. Well, I am doing amazing at that first goal, but kind of bombed at the second lol.

So here are my stats for May and hopefully I will actually remember to update this every month.

85k90: Over and did 55,471 out of 85,000 words total. Maybe next year

GYWO: 17,085 out of 25,000

 

Projects-

Star of Xianu: 2,987 out of 15,000 (59, 920 out of 70,000 total)

JAFF Novel: 13,087 out of 50,000

Blog posts: 1,011 words

 

To date:

85k90: 55,471 out of 85,000

GYWO: 102,604 out of 200,000

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Thoughts: Though I did not make the total word count for 85k90, I am doing very well and am tens of thousands of word ahead of schedule for GYWO. The beginning of the month was a bit tough for me, barely getting 500 words a day, but as time went on, things got better. I still didn’t reach my word goal. It doesn’t help that new words come slow when you are in revisions, as I am with Star of Xianu. Plus, I took a week off of writing hen I was starting to feel a little burnt out. I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Next month is really going to be interesting when I start plotting/outlining my first comedy script, plot my next novel, while continuing revisions and the JAFF project.

 

Hello Again

Sometimes you get to that point where you are so busy, that you are exhausted and can’t even muster up the energy to do things you enjoy. That has been me for the past couple of months, and, sadly, the main thing that fell to the wayside is this blog.

There has been so much that has happened in April and I have thought up blog posts that I can’t wait to share with you guys. You can think of this as a new dawn.

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The important things to note are that I finished the first draft of Star of Xianu (Yay!). I honestly did not think that day would come. I have been working on this book on and off since last year and I finished this draft at about 56,000 words. It is a bit short for a YA fantasy novel, but I know there is still a lot of work to be done to it and I think I can get it up to 70,000 words easy. I really think with my friends as betas, I could be ready to send this out on query by the end of summer.

Also, I have found a writing community that inspires and challenges me at every turn. You will hear more about them in an upcoming blog post. I can’t wait to tell you about them.

As part of my program of self-improvement, I am working on getting out of my shell and participating in more social media. That means if you look to the left in the pull out screen (click the three bars in the top left corner), you will see more tabs under Social Media. I am more active on building writing resources and book inspiration on Pinterest and I am determined to getting back into my online writing streams on Twitch. I am also trying to do better with my self image and post pictures on Instagram, but that is a work in progress. And, of course, I am still easily be found on Twitter.

With my screenwriting, I am still editing another draft of Court Square, but there are several scenes I want to add in before I consider it really done. There is a cool table read of the script if you are interested in listening to it being read by different actors. I am also finally brave enough to tackle a comedy script. In June, the plan is to work on an half-hour comedy pilot, so wish me luck with that.

I had to break my silence and come back to this page. I am going to work harder to make time to post here. As I said, I have several post ideas brewing in my head. But until next time.

New Opportunities

Life has been pretty grand for me lately. I’ve been given new opportunities that are expanding my reach as a writer and a person. I’ve attended my first writers’ retreat/workshop and connected with a lot of other writers. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and working on some secret stuff that only a few people know about. But what I wanted to discuss today is an opportunity that I have been very open about.

My friend, Cade, recently started a new website called Fandom Bay. The site is a one stop shop for info on fan culture, pop culture, politics, music, and anything else that people have a passion for. I’m working as an editor and contributor for the site!

This site is letting me explore the topics in media I have been dying to write about. I’m lucky to be a part of this group and everyone should definitely check them out. I already have a few articles up there ranging from new shows on race relations to how media has handled sexuality.

Go check them out!

Poem: Oh, Black Woman

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I haven’t written poetry in years, but something about the ever present #resist if our lives has me needing to express myself. Given the subject, it would have fit in February, but there is never a wrong time to celebrate the beauty of black women.

Oh, Black Woman

Oh, black woman
How you carry us all
Our history and our future
An unresented burden upon your back

Oh, black woman
Every part of you is a testament to your strength
Designed by God
To uplift your people

Oh, black woman
From your feet that leaves a trail
For those to follow in your path
Leading to a haven

Oh, black woman
To your knees
So calloused and bruised
Falling down in prayer

Oh, black woman
Blessed is your womb
From which a nation is born
Of kings and queens

Oh, black woman
Your breasts of which
Feed us the milk of life
We grow strong from your nurture and comfort

Oh, black woman
Rough hands cling to ours
We cling in fear
Yet always there, you never let go

Oh, black woman
That mouth sensual and sweet
Smiling away the darkness
A beacon of eternal light

Oh, black woman
Your eyes shining
In both worry and mirth
Watching our every step

Oh, black woman
Those tears run down your face
Each drop contains the multitude of our pain
That is enshrined in your soul

Oh, black woman
I cry out for your heart
It bares the scars of our past
That has been inflicted upon us

Oh, black woman
Your beauty and your strength
There is nothing like it
In all the world

Oh, black woman
How others try and match you for your power
Yet they have not been tempered in fire
And encrusted in diamond

Oh, black woman
The might you show
Spirituality and teachings and growth
None out there like you

Oh, black woman
Oh, black woman
Oh, black woman
Blessings fall on you

Diversity Initiatives: Equality vs Equity

I am a writer. I write in any way I think that will best convey a story. Usually that means a novel or script, but occasionally a short story. I am also a black woman. Yeah, that shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to my writing. The writing should be held up and judged on its own merit, but often that is not the case. Women and people of color are often not represented in media.

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It’s this that sparks things like #OscarsSoWhite, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #OwnVoices, and diversity initiatives in both publishing and film. Sadly, these attempts to make creative industries more inclusive than the “old white boys club” they are often seen as comes with some backlash. White men complaining that it is harder for them to break in because because people want diversity. Mind you, diversity is usually spoken with contempt in these conversations.

There is a saying (for the life of me I cannot find who originally said it) “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” When programs are created to give the underrepresented a  chance, so many overrepresented people decry it as “racist”.

Cis white men often cry out “Why are we holding down the white man?” “It is getting so hard to be a white man.” They ignore their privilege (often narrowing it down to “well I didn’t get such-and-such so I can’t be privileged.”)

It is usually in the face of the few programs out there that are specifically to help underrepresented individuals (usually people of color, women, disabled, or queer) break into industries. But since they exist, there are the ever present complaints that helping underrepresented people is “racist.”

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People with privilege often look at the world in a sense of equality, rather than equity. If they want to “help” underrepresented people, they want it in a way that gives those people equal opportunity as them, ignoring that they often have a  leg up that still puts them ahead. Programs focused on diversity look more towards equity that gives the underrepresented an extra boost so that they will be on the same footing as the privileged.

While this extra boost may seem unfair to some, it is what is currently needed to get to a point where were can focus on equality rather than equity. Maybe within the next few generations, industries like film and publishing will no longer need diversity programs. With then incoming amounts of diverse people working in these fields, maybe others like them will get the opportunities that were previously denied to them. Until then, shut up and stop whining about equity within those few programs and check your privilege.