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Written by Prose in portal Prose

Friday Feature: @starryEyes

So, we’ve been briefed about it and have read some articles on it and can now say it is Friday. It's not fake news, people. It’s Friday. And we’d be doing Prose a very, very big disservice if we didn’t bring you the very, very good thing that is Friday Feature. People love it. Everybody says so. They like to read about the very, very nice people of Prose...

OK, enough of that crazy talk, let’s dive in to meet the entirely lovely @starryEyes

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

S: My name is Kim, but you can find me as starryEyes on Prose.

P: Where do you live?

S: I live in the northeast United States, out in the country on top of a hill with a fantastic view. My grandfather built the house in the 1970s and I absolutely love living here with my husband. Watching the birds, animals, wild weather, and changing seasons makes me happy.

We get our Internet by antenna from a local provider who beams it over from a tower that’s 4 miles away (no cable service out here). It’s better than satellite, except when wind, rain, and foliage conspire to eat data packets!

P: What is your occupation?

S: Hmmm… I’m probably most occupied with taking care of myself. So maybe my occupation is being alive? Or surviving. But I’d prefer “thriving.” That can be my occupation: thriving.

I went to school for electrical engineering and worked for five years designing and testing radar electronics. I absolutely loved it. But chronic Lyme disease made that impossible. I’m principally afflicted by profound fatigue and brain fog, but generally have a few good hours a day.

Right now I am content. There is so much more I’d like to do in life, but I’m pleased that I’m not getting any worse right now and have a sort of rhythm of productivity, fulfillment, and rest.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

S: Growing up, I wrote for school. I enjoyed all my writing assignments but rarely wrote of my own initiative. Late in high school and college, I kept a “prayer” journal that helped me untangle my thoughts and feelings while writing to God.

As I progressed in my engineering studies and career, I wrote a lot of technical documents. It turns out I really enjoy writing lab reports, test procedures, and documenting my designs. And who doesn’t love a good table or expressive graph? *happy sigh*

The first poem I ever wrote of my own free will flowed from my illness. My choppy, foggy, scattered, and desperate thoughts needed adequate expression. I now write poetry like it’s a puzzle to be solved - conveying meaning and depth by sound & structure & few words – an artistic efficiency. It must be the engineer in me.

I started writing short stories a year ago for fun. I really haven’t written many because I’m a slow writer and I don’t often feel well. But it makes me feel human and “normal” to compose something that I’m proud of. I attend a writing group at the library and find it immensely helpful and encouraging.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

S: I’ve always been a voracious reader of fiction. It makes me happy, stirs my imagination, fills me with stories, and teaches me about life. I love gleaning bits of wisdom from book characters and pondering their thoughts and actions. It’s an easy, gentle way to learn.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

I don’t have specific posting plans, but I often respond to writing challenges. Apparently I like to write from the perspective of non-humans such as an animal, plant, or park bench, so you may see more of that. I might sometimes write about my illness or my faith in Jesus, because both deeply define who I am. My loftiest dream is to write a historical choose-your-own-adventure book for kids.

P: What do you love about Prose?

S: Challenges, challenges, challenges! I’m way more motivated when someone challenges me than when I make up my own goals. That’s probably a character flaw. But I’m getting lots of practice and inspiration from the Prose community challenges and having fun! I also like the opportunity to share what I write and interact with other writers.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

S: There are oodles of good books, so how could I choose? But limited to one, I’d have to say the Bible. I believe that how we respond to Jesus is the single most important decision in this life. To make an informed choice, we have to read his words.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

S: If so, they are extremely unsung because I can’t think of who they might be! My parents and teachers were obvious influences, but no one person or event stands out in my mind.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

S: Contemplative. Sincere. Empathetic.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

S: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song… And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me! For I am His, and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

And the entire rest of the lyrics to “In Christ Alone” written by Stuart Townsend & Keith Getty

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

S: I like pop / rock / metal. My favorite artists are Britt Nicole, Fireflight (similar to Evanescence), and Tourniquet (similar to Metallica). I also really like a cappella and folk music. I can do anything to music except read and write. For those, silence is more conducive to concentration.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

S: “You know, books. B-O-O-K-S. Like writing. On paper. That you read. There must be some. This isn’t possible. Where did you go to school? Where’s the library?” After asking the same questions twenty times but getting the same answer, I think I’d become unresponsive and curl up, rocking back and forth.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?

S: Curled up in a recliner with a blanket and a cat. Preferably my own recliner and my own cat. Any blanket will do.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?

S: Nothing left to tell!

Thanks so much to Kim, it was marvellous to meet her, I'm sure you'll all agree. You know what to do now. Read her! Interact with her! Follow her! 

And again, we want more Prosers for this feature, so if you like it, then suggest people, even volunteer yourselves. Prose wants you to feature in future Friday Features. Get busy.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Friday Feature: @starryEyes
So, we’ve been briefed about it and have read some articles on it and can now say it is Friday. It's not fake news, people. It’s Friday. And we’d be doing Prose a very, very big disservice if we didn’t bring you the very, very good thing that is Friday Feature. People love it. Everybody says so. They like to read about the very, very nice people of Prose...

OK, enough of that crazy talk, let’s dive in to meet the entirely lovely @starryEyes

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
S: My name is Kim, but you can find me as starryEyes on Prose.

P: Where do you live?
S: I live in the northeast United States, out in the country on top of a hill with a fantastic view. My grandfather built the house in the 1970s and I absolutely love living here with my husband. Watching the birds, animals, wild weather, and changing seasons makes me happy.

We get our Internet by antenna from a local provider who beams it over from a tower that’s 4 miles away (no cable service out here). It’s better than satellite, except when wind, rain, and foliage conspire to eat data packets!

P: What is your occupation?
S: Hmmm… I’m probably most occupied with taking care of myself. So maybe my occupation is being alive? Or surviving. But I’d prefer “thriving.” That can be my occupation: thriving.

I went to school for electrical engineering and worked for five years designing and testing radar electronics. I absolutely loved it. But chronic Lyme disease made that impossible. I’m principally afflicted by profound fatigue and brain fog, but generally have a few good hours a day.

Right now I am content. There is so much more I’d like to do in life, but I’m pleased that I’m not getting any worse right now and have a sort of rhythm of productivity, fulfillment, and rest.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
S: Growing up, I wrote for school. I enjoyed all my writing assignments but rarely wrote of my own initiative. Late in high school and college, I kept a “prayer” journal that helped me untangle my thoughts and feelings while writing to God.

As I progressed in my engineering studies and career, I wrote a lot of technical documents. It turns out I really enjoy writing lab reports, test procedures, and documenting my designs. And who doesn’t love a good table or expressive graph? *happy sigh*

The first poem I ever wrote of my own free will flowed from my illness. My choppy, foggy, scattered, and desperate thoughts needed adequate expression. I now write poetry like it’s a puzzle to be solved - conveying meaning and depth by sound & structure & few words – an artistic efficiency. It must be the engineer in me.

I started writing short stories a year ago for fun. I really haven’t written many because I’m a slow writer and I don’t often feel well. But it makes me feel human and “normal” to compose something that I’m proud of. I attend a writing group at the library and find it immensely helpful and encouraging.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
S: I’ve always been a voracious reader of fiction. It makes me happy, stirs my imagination, fills me with stories, and teaches me about life. I love gleaning bits of wisdom from book characters and pondering their thoughts and actions. It’s an easy, gentle way to learn.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

I don’t have specific posting plans, but I often respond to writing challenges. Apparently I like to write from the perspective of non-humans such as an animal, plant, or park bench, so you may see more of that. I might sometimes write about my illness or my faith in Jesus, because both deeply define who I am. My loftiest dream is to write a historical choose-your-own-adventure book for kids.

P: What do you love about Prose?
S: Challenges, challenges, challenges! I’m way more motivated when someone challenges me than when I make up my own goals. That’s probably a character flaw. But I’m getting lots of practice and inspiration from the Prose community challenges and having fun! I also like the opportunity to share what I write and interact with other writers.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
S: There are oodles of good books, so how could I choose? But limited to one, I’d have to say the Bible. I believe that how we respond to Jesus is the single most important decision in this life. To make an informed choice, we have to read his words.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
S: If so, they are extremely unsung because I can’t think of who they might be! My parents and teachers were obvious influences, but no one person or event stands out in my mind.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
S: Contemplative. Sincere. Empathetic.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
S: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song… And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me! For I am His, and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

And the entire rest of the lyrics to “In Christ Alone” written by Stuart Townsend & Keith Getty

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?
S: I like pop / rock / metal. My favorite artists are Britt Nicole, Fireflight (similar to Evanescence), and Tourniquet (similar to Metallica). I also really like a cappella and folk music. I can do anything to music except read and write. For those, silence is more conducive to concentration.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
S: “You know, books. B-O-O-K-S. Like writing. On paper. That you read. There must be some. This isn’t possible. Where did you go to school? Where’s the library?” After asking the same questions twenty times but getting the same answer, I think I’d become unresponsive and curl up, rocking back and forth.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?
S: Curled up in a recliner with a blanket and a cat. Preferably my own recliner and my own cat. Any blanket will do.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?
S: Nothing left to tell!

Thanks so much to Kim, it was marvellous to meet her, I'm sure you'll all agree. You know what to do now. Read her! Interact with her! Follow her! 

And again, we want more Prosers for this feature, so if you like it, then suggest people, even volunteer yourselves. Prose wants you to feature in future Friday Features. Get busy.
#nonfiction  #news  #opinion  #FF  #FridayFeature 
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Written by RioRamirez

Cure Writer's Block

From William Garner's article on LinkedIn:

Writer's Block Is a Real Phenomenon That Resides in Your Subconscious

In all my years of writing, I’ve suffered from several different maladies and conditions but never the one we all fear and loathe: Writer’s Block. This doesn’t mean I don’t understand it, though, because I do. I’ve studied it in other people over the decades and have formulated my hypothesis about it and what causes it.

Writer's Block resides deep within your subconscious and can be accessed primarily through dreams and dreaming, and sometimes consciously by communicating with that nagging little voice at the back of your mind.

I’ve done experiments on myself to artificially induce Writer’s Block, and have been overwhelmingly successful. Those results were a dubious success, of course, because no one wishes to suffer from this dreadful disease of the subconscious, let alone for any extended period of time. But at least I saw it first hand.

When I stated above that I’ve never suffered from Writer’s Block, I meant it while I was actively writing, not experimentally inducing it for the purpose of intensive study.

What Are Some of the Probable Causes of Writer’s Block?

There is no one cause, because Writer’s Block may surface slowly or all at once at any point in the writing process. If you’re at the very beginning, with not even a storyline in mind, and you can’t write even write that first word, then the cause may be lack of passion, direction or drive.

Of course, one of the worst causes is wanting desperately to write but not having anything to write about. The next is having too many distractions that cloud the whole dreaming, designing, building and writing process.

If you’re not passionate about what you do, then the art of writing becomes a chore, a drudgery. And you’ll likely not write much, or even finish your writing project. You must love what you wish to write about, be absolutely passionate about it, because this is a story that you will share with other people. Writing becomes a chore when you’re simply writing for money or a reason other than for passion.

I’ve read published books by authors who seemed to be doing it for the money, and it’s reflected in their work. I’ve also talked with authors who’ve told me their prime motivation was to earn lots of money. Some did it well, but their work wasn’t as good as others’ whose artwork was based on a deep-seated passion that underlies and fuels it.

Passion is a deep, often hidden desire to express yourself and what you have to say, what you believe in so fiercely that it must come out in some artistic form. And when it surfaces, it’s in the form of a book, your first book.

If you’re in the middle of actually writing your first book, and Writer’s Block creeps up on you and your work grinds to a halt, then the cause is more likely your not being in sufficient contact with your subconscious, such that when your subconscious needs to connect with your typist and it cannot, the subconscious gets pouty or just plain angry and closes down for a period of time.

This is the time you need to take a step back from your work and ask yourself: How am I not in good contact with my subconscious now? What happened such that I lost contact? And how do I get back on track?

You could be stressed out at work and this is impinging on your writing at night or on weekends. Your family may be undergoing a crisis, something that takes you away from your work and your subconscious’s working for you on your book project. You must notice what the cause is and do whatever it takes to assuage the negative effects so you can get back to the fun business of writing your first book.

If You Suffer From Writer's Block, Ask Yourself This Important Question

“Am I still passionate about writing this book?”

Could be that you initially started your first book because you were inspired by a lover who came into your life, turned it upside down, and you fell in love so deeply that you got lost in all that passion. You began writing about it and then, out of the blue, your lover suddenly disappeared . . . along with the fiery passion that had driven you to embark on the journey to begin with.

This happens sometimes. It’s not the end of the world, although the pain is often unbearable, not just the loss of a loved one but also the loss of your passion for writing a book you thought you would finish and get out there for all to read and appreciate.

It may be a good idea, too, to write down the question, say it aloud before you go to sleep, so your subconscious will hear you and come up with some answers. If your subconscious isn’t paying you much mind, for whatever reason, you may consider taking a long break from your project, say, a month, then returning to it with a fresh look.

If you have somehow lost interest in your writing project, or if your passion has waned even a little, then you might want to consider trying another approach to writing this particular book, or choose another idea altogether. This doesn’t mean you should quit your current project. It may need to ferment a bit more, so put it aside and try something else, another story idea.

What Is Your Subconscious and How Do You Communicate With It to Overcome Writer's Block?

One of the greatest creations in the Universe, besides majestic planets like Earth and powerful energy sources like our sun, is the human subconscious. It is in direct communication with the Universe, which suggests it also communicates collectively with the subconscious of others.

You do not have to believe in this line of thought to write anything, even though I have injected small hints that you should consider it. Whatever you choose to believe, the fact is that you must give your writing sufficient time to develop. Time comes in days, weeks and months.

I’ve studied the human subconscious, mostly in myself, since I was a child, wondering what inner engine drove me to do the things I did. I didn’t have to think about doing certain things, I just did them. Sometimes they were rational and positive; other times, not so.

One item I discovered over the years was that there was a clear line between what I did consciously and how my mind functioned subconsciously. When I went to sleep each night, I knew there was a whole different creature that came alive and took me on endless journeys through space and time, introducing me to new thoughts, ideas, beliefs and ways of doing things in my life.

Your Subconscious, or Inner CHILD, is a Real Person Inside You

Nearly 15 years ago, I woke up one morning and scrambled out of bed to write something down. Whatever was in my head at that moment had to come out and it wasn’t going to wait for my bus driver, my typist, to take dictation. It was coming in a flood and that was that.

When I got to my notepad, my hand started scribbling things down. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was writing, I just took it on faith that I had to do this.

After I was done autowriting, I looked at what had emerged: a single word, along with details about each letter of the word. It was an acronym, CHILD:

C: the little Child in you, the curious wide-eyed being that looks at the world without filters and preconceived notions about anything. A little sponge that senses things with wonder and awe.

H: the true Heart in you, the purely subjective part, filled with every conceivable emotion known.

I: your Intuition or information-gathering system, the sensory apparatus that receives every possible stimulus in the Universe, much like a radio receives radio signals to produce spoken word and songs.

L: the cold, stainless-steel Logic that sees the world purely objectively, like a robotic computer that takes in and analyzes things in a totally impartial and neutral way, without emotion of any kind.

D: the little Demon in you, that mischievous entity that plays pranks and does impish things. Can sometimes be very destructive and hurtful.

These entities all comprise the human subconscious, which is the true engine that drives each and every one of us in our daily lives. They all work together and, depending on how one’s DNA is wired, sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.

I will not get into the moral implications of good and evil, only stating that they exist in all of us to some extent and, in others, they comprise their whole being. Sociopaths and psychopaths are an example.

Destiny or Free Will? Both!

We can communicate with what I term our Inner CHILD, or we can ignore it and just float through life, going wherever it takes us.

I contend that we do have a destiny. Each of us, when we are conceived (not born), have a certain imprint from those celestial bodies that mediate and modulate our behaviors; in fact, everything we do in life. This is imprinted onto our DNA when it first forms chemically in that single cell that will later become an individual being.

When we are first imprinted by the Universe, using celestiophysics, we are then given a map of destiny that propels us through life. Some of us follow this map without much thought. Others, like me, question it each day and consciously make a choice whether to follow that map or go “off-map” and do something that we were not initially programmed to do. Again, most people do not pay much if any attention to their map of destiny. They simply live life and go with the flow.

There is nothing wrong with this approach, but wouldn’t it be cool if you actually knew how it worked so you could use this invaluable tool to your advantage?

These thoughts bring me to my personal philosophy, Subism. It holds that the human subconscious is direct communication with the Universe, and that celestial bodies (planets, stars, whatever) directly and indirectly influence all life on earth. The philosophers of old weren’t familiar with celestiophysics, so they formulated their own ideas about how humans operate and function, and what makes us do the things we do. I suggest that we do all the things we do because of the strong, inexorable influences of celestiophysics, which we can to some extent manipulate and control.

I have often wondered why we spend so much time trying to read the minds of other people when we should be learning how to read our own and get in touch with our own subconscious.

How Do You Use Your Inner CHILD to Help You Write?

We can start with something we all agree on: we dream a lot. Sometimes you may not recall each or any dream, but your subconscious is actively dreaming, sending little (and giant) messages up to your conscious self to do certain things, avoid other things. Dreams are one method the subconscious uses to communicate with your conscious self.

Interestingly, when your subconscious presents a dream to you, it does so in very rudimentary language. We dream in metaphors and symbols and motifs, not in complete film-like visions. Our Inner CHILD only knows one method of talking to our conscious self, and that is in the language of a child, a small voice that expresses itself using little vignettes that represent small words and actions. Curiously our subconscious also uses phrases and sayings from books or passages we've read or from certain songs we've heard.

I’ve never heard of anyone dreaming in the language of an adult. Never. If someone tells you that they do in fact dream this way, it’s not a deep-sleep dream but a lucid dream, one you actually control because you’re partly conscious.

During a very difficult time in my life some years back, I had a recurring dream: a was sitting in a bus filled with other people. I wasn’t talking or interacting with those people, just sitting alone and minding my own business. Then the bus suddenly filled with water, as if we’d just plunged into the middle of an ocean. No one around me moved an inch or spoke anything to me or to each other. They all just sat there as the bus filled with water. I looked around, saw stone-cold faces on my fellow passengers, and tried frantically to get out.

And then the dream went lucid, where I could actually manipulate the dream in a semi-conscious state. I changed the dream so I got out of that sinking bus.

Since I had already known that my Inner CHILD was responsible for communicating with me, I then figured out a way to interpret what my subconscious was trying to tell me. I didn’t get it at first, so the dream stayed with me each night for a week or so, until I woke up and listened to my subconscious. To interpret my dream, which was in the language of a child, I used the thoughts, ideas and words of a child, say, of about four years old.

When I used this method, interpreting the dream in a child’s voice, the dream became clear: “I can’t get out and no one will help me.” Simple as that.

The dream told me that I was in a world of hurt and no one was coming to my aid, even when I actively asked for help. In the real world, I was on my own. I have a term for that: yoyo, which means "you’re on your own" when things get really tough for you. I was yoyo for a long time, until I realized what was actually happening, then when I figured out my temporary predicament, I was able to change how I thought, how I acted, and consequently the actions I took to climb out of that dark hole, from inside that sinking bus.

You may be quick to dismiss this as overly simplistic. Please do not. Instead, try it for yourself, using previous dreams you've had, and try to corroborate the newly interpreted message with how things worked out for you subsequently.

How Do We Use Our Subconscious To Cure Writer's Block?

Once you follow the prescription below, your Writer's Block will slowly dissipate and disappear altogether.

Learn how to feed your subconscious properly, to nurture it. You would do this with a human child, wouldn’t you? Your Inner CHILD is even more important. It’s the entity within yourself that guides you through every moment of your entire life. How could you not want to nurture such a being?

Your Inner CHILD is energetic and rambunctious, has a voracious appetite for new adventures and actions, so get out in the world and do stuff. Travel to new places, meet new people, eat new foods, explore new vistas. If you cannot afford to go to Europe or Africa, then explore your own town or city, or maybe drive to the next state and see what’s up there.

If those things are not in your current budget, then find a way to make it happen, now that you know your Inner CHILD needs these things. You need these things, too, dear Writer.

Your subconscious loves to run and jump and play around, so get out and exercise your body, even if it’s a long walk or hike. If you’re going to be a sedentary writer, then your subconscious will eventually rebel. Yes, I do know some overweight writers who do well, but they don’t last too long. Unfortunately, they die young and the being that dies first is their Inner CHILD.

This explains how people sometimes grow cold and distant, and they lose their humanity. In reality, they’re losing the most important part of them—their subconscious.

The CHILD inside you needs stimulation, and the world around you provides just that, so please take full advantage of your atmosphere and make it a daily routine to get out of your office and home and see different and stimulating sites, absorb what you sense all around you, roll in the grass, get dirty and make mud pies . . . something. There’s a new movement out there that is telling all of us to “ground” ourself with the earth. Actually get down on the bare ground and let it touch your skin. The earth is one giant healing mechanism, so find out more about grounding and then implement your new-found knowledge.

What else? Take trips to local stores, shops, museums, businesses that produce something interesting to see designed or in the process of being built. Feed your imagination ‘til its cup runneth over. There are no penalties for overfilling that cup. When your subconscious has had enough, it will tell you.

Go to shows, films, performances and watch the beautiful artwork of people who are just like you: they have a dream, they design and build it, then they do whatever it takes to implement it. Seeing the art of others is inspiring on all levels, especially when they’re actually creating it.

Visit the local hardware store and look at all the tools and items that are used to build things. Check out a restaurant and see how they prepare their meals. I feel it a grand experience to observe artists designing and building things, because it’s not unlike what I do when I create my own stories. In fact, watching other artists may be the most inspiring thing you can witness for yourself when you go out on these little excursions. I love watching glass-blowers! Especially the truly great ones who produce the world’s finest artisan glasswork, those Murano artists in Italy! Wow, they’re amazing to watch. When I’m done witnessing world-class art in motion, I leave with an all-body tingle that’s right up there with the best orgasms ever. Now that is a powerful thought, huh? What an inspiration!

The point is to experience how people outside you and your world of friends and acquaintances conduct their lives and do what they do. When you do, you become a part of their work, too, and you fuel their own desires and passions. You become a part of their artistic process. Let these artists do the same for you.

If your story is set in a beachside resort, go find one and write from there. If you can’t afford to be there, then find a nice area at a beach where you can write and be inspired. Maybe your story takes place in a cool dive bar. Find one and soak up the atmosphere for a few hours. Try not to drink too much or you may not get as much work done. Oh, and please remember: beer all over a keyboard is major notgoodness.

Get Off Your Tush and Connect With Real Human Beings

People make the world go round. And round. When I sometimes forget to get out of my office, which I love, I find that I miss the company of good people. So I jump out of my chair and go find someone to say hello to, ask questions about them, take an interest in another human being, share my own thoughts and experiences with them.

Connecting with another human being is one of the most important acts we should perform on a regular basis. When we don’t, we get lonely and grumpy. Your Inner CHILD does not make a good companion when it’s idle, lonely, cranky and without proper stimulation from the outside world. Use is or you lose it.

Eat something different each day. It doesn’t take much to break up your diet, so try a new cuisine on Friday night, share it with friends, savor every bite. Your subconscious will be as joyful as your conscious self, I promise you.

Considering all the nourishment I suggest above, one item is very clear: it all feeds your subconscious with new stimuli that will aid you in curing Writer's Block and help you write whatever you wish.

How Do You Listen to Your Inner CHILD When It Speaks to You?

First, let’s consider when your subconscious is actually trying to tell you something. An example: you’re sitting in a chair, writing away and you get this nagging voice inside your head that says you need a small pillow at your lower back. Don’t ignore it.

This is your subconscious telling you something: I want to feel comfortable when I tell you this cool story to write.

Those little voices that creep up at all times of the day and night are the core of your subconscious trying to tell you something. You should listen to those voices. Now, if they tell you to go out and run over the first pedestrian you come across, I would think really hard before carrying out that command. If you listen to voices like that, someone will probably have you committed or take you out back and tie you to a tree. How’s that for grounding?

When you hear the calling of your subconscious, please take a listen, pay attention to what it is trying to say, then, provided the command is a reasonable one, please act on it. Once you start listening to your subconscious, it will say, “Aha, my human is finally listening to me! Way to go!” And, from that point forward, if you continue to listen to your subconscious, it will give you more and more great knowledge and information that will not only enhance your life, but also cure Writer's Block and help you write better.

Communicating with your subconscious is not that challenging. Again, if it tells you to do something and you do it, then you’re effectively communicating with your subconscious. Keep doing it. And when you go to bed at night (or during the day, depending on your lifestyle and schedule), ask out loud and write down some questions or topics that you want your subconscious to mull over while your typist and bus driver are passed out for eight hours. When those guys are comatose, your subconscious is hard at play on its own eight-hour vacation.

How To Train Your Subconscious to Work For You

The more you listen to your subconscious, the more it will talk back and provide the information you need. You can train it to give you more and more information by asking questions, writing them down, then sleeping on them. Keep asking the same questions over and over until you get what you want. When asking questions or asking for help, please be kind to your subconscious.

Remember: your subconscious is a child and understands when you are being impatient or downright tedious. You know how people say to treat yourself kindly and gently? They’re really saying you should be kind and gentle to your subconscious.

The reason I suggest you say what you want out loud is because when you speak it and hear your own words, your brain stores and processes that information in different areas, which work in unison to come to your aid. When you physically write it down, that too is stored and processed in another part of your brain. When you read your own words, that is also stored and processed in yet a different part of your brain.

These working areas are also complex computing centers that help to enhance what you desire and wish for, and they help your subconscious make those wishes and dreams come true.

Training your subconscious involves all the above steps, plus actively talking to it, and not just before you go to sleep. You can have meaningful conversations with your subconscious, not only asking questions but also asking for guidance and assistance. The more you communicate with it, the more it responds and with better and more relevant information that will help and guide you accurately.

The only time my subconscious has failed me is when I have ignored it. That fact, in itself, I find fascinating and compelling. My subconscious has never steered me in the wrong or in a negative direction. Ever. When I’ve chosen to go off-map, then sometimes I’ve gotten into trouble. Yes, I’ve learned a lot from those experiential experiences, especially when off-map, but I’ve also paid a steep price for venturing off my Universal path.

Talk to the Individual Components of Your Subconscious

You also can talk to the individual components of your subconscious. It takes time and effort, but you can do it. I’ve often consulted my Logic element to get an objective view on a particular subject. And when I’ve needed to discuss something about my love life, I’ve talked to my Heart.

Having five separate ultra-complex computer modules inside your head is like having a team of experts of the Universe at your beck and call. Thing is, you must treat that team nicely and with great respect or it will ignore you and your queries. Your subconscious will never be vengeful and send you down a wrong path; only your conscious self does that.

The worst you can expect from your subconscious is silence, and that is the most crushing thing that could happen to your beautiful mind, not having the backing of one of the mightiest beings in the Universe.

This may be one of the causes of Writer's Block: your subconscious shutting down.

When Your Subconscious Goes Dark

When your subconscious fails to talk to you or communicate with you, something is very wrong. Remember that your subconscious is a child, so it needs special attention. Like I said, it will never steer you wrong, but it may ignore you. If it does, ask what’s up. Yes, really.

When you go to bed, write down that question, plus a few others: Are you okay? Have I done something really dumb to make you ignore me? What am I doing wrong here? How can I get back on track? Will you please help me?

The times I’ve had my subconscious go silent, they were when I was not treating myself well. I’ve had some challenging jobs in my life—scientist, Army Ranger, corporate security specialist—and each one has brought on a host of problems and challenges that drove me bananas at times. Sometimes after very difficult days, I would drink one too many beers, which is a great way to shut down one’s subconscious.

Point is, I abused myself and I paid for it, not only externally but also internally. Be kind and gentle to yourself, and your subconscious will thank you for it in ways you cannot even imagine now.

Your Subconscious Will Cure Writer's Block and Write Everything For You

All you need to do is nurture it and treat it like it’s the most precious thing in the Universe. It will help you cure Writer's Block, design your story, then guide your typist to get it all down on paper, virtual or real.

You must first master the inner workings of your subconscious before you can begin. Once you do, may you never ever suffer from Writer's Block again.

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Written by RioRamirez
Cure Writer's Block
From William Garner's article on LinkedIn:

Writer's Block Is a Real Phenomenon That Resides in Your Subconscious

In all my years of writing, I’ve suffered from several different maladies and conditions but never the one we all fear and loathe: Writer’s Block. This doesn’t mean I don’t understand it, though, because I do. I’ve studied it in other people over the decades and have formulated my hypothesis about it and what causes it.

Writer's Block resides deep within your subconscious and can be accessed primarily through dreams and dreaming, and sometimes consciously by communicating with that nagging little voice at the back of your mind.

I’ve done experiments on myself to artificially induce Writer’s Block, and have been overwhelmingly successful. Those results were a dubious success, of course, because no one wishes to suffer from this dreadful disease of the subconscious, let alone for any extended period of time. But at least I saw it first hand.

When I stated above that I’ve never suffered from Writer’s Block, I meant it while I was actively writing, not experimentally inducing it for the purpose of intensive study.

What Are Some of the Probable Causes of Writer’s Block?

There is no one cause, because Writer’s Block may surface slowly or all at once at any point in the writing process. If you’re at the very beginning, with not even a storyline in mind, and you can’t write even write that first word, then the cause may be lack of passion, direction or drive.

Of course, one of the worst causes is wanting desperately to write but not having anything to write about. The next is having too many distractions that cloud the whole dreaming, designing, building and writing process.

If you’re not passionate about what you do, then the art of writing becomes a chore, a drudgery. And you’ll likely not write much, or even finish your writing project. You must love what you wish to write about, be absolutely passionate about it, because this is a story that you will share with other people. Writing becomes a chore when you’re simply writing for money or a reason other than for passion.

I’ve read published books by authors who seemed to be doing it for the money, and it’s reflected in their work. I’ve also talked with authors who’ve told me their prime motivation was to earn lots of money. Some did it well, but their work wasn’t as good as others’ whose artwork was based on a deep-seated passion that underlies and fuels it.

Passion is a deep, often hidden desire to express yourself and what you have to say, what you believe in so fiercely that it must come out in some artistic form. And when it surfaces, it’s in the form of a book, your first book.

If you’re in the middle of actually writing your first book, and Writer’s Block creeps up on you and your work grinds to a halt, then the cause is more likely your not being in sufficient contact with your subconscious, such that when your subconscious needs to connect with your typist and it cannot, the subconscious gets pouty or just plain angry and closes down for a period of time.

This is the time you need to take a step back from your work and ask yourself: How am I not in good contact with my subconscious now? What happened such that I lost contact? And how do I get back on track?

You could be stressed out at work and this is impinging on your writing at night or on weekends. Your family may be undergoing a crisis, something that takes you away from your work and your subconscious’s working for you on your book project. You must notice what the cause is and do whatever it takes to assuage the negative effects so you can get back to the fun business of writing your first book.

If You Suffer From Writer's Block, Ask Yourself This Important Question

“Am I still passionate about writing this book?”

Could be that you initially started your first book because you were inspired by a lover who came into your life, turned it upside down, and you fell in love so deeply that you got lost in all that passion. You began writing about it and then, out of the blue, your lover suddenly disappeared . . . along with the fiery passion that had driven you to embark on the journey to begin with.

This happens sometimes. It’s not the end of the world, although the pain is often unbearable, not just the loss of a loved one but also the loss of your passion for writing a book you thought you would finish and get out there for all to read and appreciate.

It may be a good idea, too, to write down the question, say it aloud before you go to sleep, so your subconscious will hear you and come up with some answers. If your subconscious isn’t paying you much mind, for whatever reason, you may consider taking a long break from your project, say, a month, then returning to it with a fresh look.

If you have somehow lost interest in your writing project, or if your passion has waned even a little, then you might want to consider trying another approach to writing this particular book, or choose another idea altogether. This doesn’t mean you should quit your current project. It may need to ferment a bit more, so put it aside and try something else, another story idea.

What Is Your Subconscious and How Do You Communicate With It to Overcome Writer's Block?

One of the greatest creations in the Universe, besides majestic planets like Earth and powerful energy sources like our sun, is the human subconscious. It is in direct communication with the Universe, which suggests it also communicates collectively with the subconscious of others.

You do not have to believe in this line of thought to write anything, even though I have injected small hints that you should consider it. Whatever you choose to believe, the fact is that you must give your writing sufficient time to develop. Time comes in days, weeks and months.

I’ve studied the human subconscious, mostly in myself, since I was a child, wondering what inner engine drove me to do the things I did. I didn’t have to think about doing certain things, I just did them. Sometimes they were rational and positive; other times, not so.

One item I discovered over the years was that there was a clear line between what I did consciously and how my mind functioned subconsciously. When I went to sleep each night, I knew there was a whole different creature that came alive and took me on endless journeys through space and time, introducing me to new thoughts, ideas, beliefs and ways of doing things in my life.

Your Subconscious, or Inner CHILD, is a Real Person Inside You

Nearly 15 years ago, I woke up one morning and scrambled out of bed to write something down. Whatever was in my head at that moment had to come out and it wasn’t going to wait for my bus driver, my typist, to take dictation. It was coming in a flood and that was that.

When I got to my notepad, my hand started scribbling things down. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was writing, I just took it on faith that I had to do this.

After I was done autowriting, I looked at what had emerged: a single word, along with details about each letter of the word. It was an acronym, CHILD:

C: the little Child in you, the curious wide-eyed being that looks at the world without filters and preconceived notions about anything. A little sponge that senses things with wonder and awe.

H: the true Heart in you, the purely subjective part, filled with every conceivable emotion known.

I: your Intuition or information-gathering system, the sensory apparatus that receives every possible stimulus in the Universe, much like a radio receives radio signals to produce spoken word and songs.

L: the cold, stainless-steel Logic that sees the world purely objectively, like a robotic computer that takes in and analyzes things in a totally impartial and neutral way, without emotion of any kind.

D: the little Demon in you, that mischievous entity that plays pranks and does impish things. Can sometimes be very destructive and hurtful.

These entities all comprise the human subconscious, which is the true engine that drives each and every one of us in our daily lives. They all work together and, depending on how one’s DNA is wired, sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.

I will not get into the moral implications of good and evil, only stating that they exist in all of us to some extent and, in others, they comprise their whole being. Sociopaths and psychopaths are an example.

Destiny or Free Will? Both!

We can communicate with what I term our Inner CHILD, or we can ignore it and just float through life, going wherever it takes us.

I contend that we do have a destiny. Each of us, when we are conceived (not born), have a certain imprint from those celestial bodies that mediate and modulate our behaviors; in fact, everything we do in life. This is imprinted onto our DNA when it first forms chemically in that single cell that will later become an individual being.

When we are first imprinted by the Universe, using celestiophysics, we are then given a map of destiny that propels us through life. Some of us follow this map without much thought. Others, like me, question it each day and consciously make a choice whether to follow that map or go “off-map” and do something that we were not initially programmed to do. Again, most people do not pay much if any attention to their map of destiny. They simply live life and go with the flow.

There is nothing wrong with this approach, but wouldn’t it be cool if you actually knew how it worked so you could use this invaluable tool to your advantage?

These thoughts bring me to my personal philosophy, Subism. It holds that the human subconscious is direct communication with the Universe, and that celestial bodies (planets, stars, whatever) directly and indirectly influence all life on earth. The philosophers of old weren’t familiar with celestiophysics, so they formulated their own ideas about how humans operate and function, and what makes us do the things we do. I suggest that we do all the things we do because of the strong, inexorable influences of celestiophysics, which we can to some extent manipulate and control.

I have often wondered why we spend so much time trying to read the minds of other people when we should be learning how to read our own and get in touch with our own subconscious.

How Do You Use Your Inner CHILD to Help You Write?

We can start with something we all agree on: we dream a lot. Sometimes you may not recall each or any dream, but your subconscious is actively dreaming, sending little (and giant) messages up to your conscious self to do certain things, avoid other things. Dreams are one method the subconscious uses to communicate with your conscious self.

Interestingly, when your subconscious presents a dream to you, it does so in very rudimentary language. We dream in metaphors and symbols and motifs, not in complete film-like visions. Our Inner CHILD only knows one method of talking to our conscious self, and that is in the language of a child, a small voice that expresses itself using little vignettes that represent small words and actions. Curiously our subconscious also uses phrases and sayings from books or passages we've read or from certain songs we've heard.

I’ve never heard of anyone dreaming in the language of an adult. Never. If someone tells you that they do in fact dream this way, it’s not a deep-sleep dream but a lucid dream, one you actually control because you’re partly conscious.

During a very difficult time in my life some years back, I had a recurring dream: a was sitting in a bus filled with other people. I wasn’t talking or interacting with those people, just sitting alone and minding my own business. Then the bus suddenly filled with water, as if we’d just plunged into the middle of an ocean. No one around me moved an inch or spoke anything to me or to each other. They all just sat there as the bus filled with water. I looked around, saw stone-cold faces on my fellow passengers, and tried frantically to get out.

And then the dream went lucid, where I could actually manipulate the dream in a semi-conscious state. I changed the dream so I got out of that sinking bus.

Since I had already known that my Inner CHILD was responsible for communicating with me, I then figured out a way to interpret what my subconscious was trying to tell me. I didn’t get it at first, so the dream stayed with me each night for a week or so, until I woke up and listened to my subconscious. To interpret my dream, which was in the language of a child, I used the thoughts, ideas and words of a child, say, of about four years old.

When I used this method, interpreting the dream in a child’s voice, the dream became clear: “I can’t get out and no one will help me.” Simple as that.

The dream told me that I was in a world of hurt and no one was coming to my aid, even when I actively asked for help. In the real world, I was on my own. I have a term for that: yoyo, which means "you’re on your own" when things get really tough for you. I was yoyo for a long time, until I realized what was actually happening, then when I figured out my temporary predicament, I was able to change how I thought, how I acted, and consequently the actions I took to climb out of that dark hole, from inside that sinking bus.

You may be quick to dismiss this as overly simplistic. Please do not. Instead, try it for yourself, using previous dreams you've had, and try to corroborate the newly interpreted message with how things worked out for you subsequently.

How Do We Use Our Subconscious To Cure Writer's Block?

Once you follow the prescription below, your Writer's Block will slowly dissipate and disappear altogether.

Learn how to feed your subconscious properly, to nurture it. You would do this with a human child, wouldn’t you? Your Inner CHILD is even more important. It’s the entity within yourself that guides you through every moment of your entire life. How could you not want to nurture such a being?

Your Inner CHILD is energetic and rambunctious, has a voracious appetite for new adventures and actions, so get out in the world and do stuff. Travel to new places, meet new people, eat new foods, explore new vistas. If you cannot afford to go to Europe or Africa, then explore your own town or city, or maybe drive to the next state and see what’s up there.

If those things are not in your current budget, then find a way to make it happen, now that you know your Inner CHILD needs these things. You need these things, too, dear Writer.

Your subconscious loves to run and jump and play around, so get out and exercise your body, even if it’s a long walk or hike. If you’re going to be a sedentary writer, then your subconscious will eventually rebel. Yes, I do know some overweight writers who do well, but they don’t last too long. Unfortunately, they die young and the being that dies first is their Inner CHILD.

This explains how people sometimes grow cold and distant, and they lose their humanity. In reality, they’re losing the most important part of them—their subconscious.
The CHILD inside you needs stimulation, and the world around you provides just that, so please take full advantage of your atmosphere and make it a daily routine to get out of your office and home and see different and stimulating sites, absorb what you sense all around you, roll in the grass, get dirty and make mud pies . . . something. There’s a new movement out there that is telling all of us to “ground” ourself with the earth. Actually get down on the bare ground and let it touch your skin. The earth is one giant healing mechanism, so find out more about grounding and then implement your new-found knowledge.

What else? Take trips to local stores, shops, museums, businesses that produce something interesting to see designed or in the process of being built. Feed your imagination ‘til its cup runneth over. There are no penalties for overfilling that cup. When your subconscious has had enough, it will tell you.

Go to shows, films, performances and watch the beautiful artwork of people who are just like you: they have a dream, they design and build it, then they do whatever it takes to implement it. Seeing the art of others is inspiring on all levels, especially when they’re actually creating it.

Visit the local hardware store and look at all the tools and items that are used to build things. Check out a restaurant and see how they prepare their meals. I feel it a grand experience to observe artists designing and building things, because it’s not unlike what I do when I create my own stories. In fact, watching other artists may be the most inspiring thing you can witness for yourself when you go out on these little excursions. I love watching glass-blowers! Especially the truly great ones who produce the world’s finest artisan glasswork, those Murano artists in Italy! Wow, they’re amazing to watch. When I’m done witnessing world-class art in motion, I leave with an all-body tingle that’s right up there with the best orgasms ever. Now that is a powerful thought, huh? What an inspiration!

The point is to experience how people outside you and your world of friends and acquaintances conduct their lives and do what they do. When you do, you become a part of their work, too, and you fuel their own desires and passions. You become a part of their artistic process. Let these artists do the same for you.

If your story is set in a beachside resort, go find one and write from there. If you can’t afford to be there, then find a nice area at a beach where you can write and be inspired. Maybe your story takes place in a cool dive bar. Find one and soak up the atmosphere for a few hours. Try not to drink too much or you may not get as much work done. Oh, and please remember: beer all over a keyboard is major notgoodness.

Get Off Your Tush and Connect With Real Human Beings

People make the world go round. And round. When I sometimes forget to get out of my office, which I love, I find that I miss the company of good people. So I jump out of my chair and go find someone to say hello to, ask questions about them, take an interest in another human being, share my own thoughts and experiences with them.

Connecting with another human being is one of the most important acts we should perform on a regular basis. When we don’t, we get lonely and grumpy. Your Inner CHILD does not make a good companion when it’s idle, lonely, cranky and without proper stimulation from the outside world. Use is or you lose it.

Eat something different each day. It doesn’t take much to break up your diet, so try a new cuisine on Friday night, share it with friends, savor every bite. Your subconscious will be as joyful as your conscious self, I promise you.

Considering all the nourishment I suggest above, one item is very clear: it all feeds your subconscious with new stimuli that will aid you in curing Writer's Block and help you write whatever you wish.

How Do You Listen to Your Inner CHILD When It Speaks to You?

First, let’s consider when your subconscious is actually trying to tell you something. An example: you’re sitting in a chair, writing away and you get this nagging voice inside your head that says you need a small pillow at your lower back. Don’t ignore it.

This is your subconscious telling you something: I want to feel comfortable when I tell you this cool story to write.

Those little voices that creep up at all times of the day and night are the core of your subconscious trying to tell you something. You should listen to those voices. Now, if they tell you to go out and run over the first pedestrian you come across, I would think really hard before carrying out that command. If you listen to voices like that, someone will probably have you committed or take you out back and tie you to a tree. How’s that for grounding?

When you hear the calling of your subconscious, please take a listen, pay attention to what it is trying to say, then, provided the command is a reasonable one, please act on it. Once you start listening to your subconscious, it will say, “Aha, my human is finally listening to me! Way to go!” And, from that point forward, if you continue to listen to your subconscious, it will give you more and more great knowledge and information that will not only enhance your life, but also cure Writer's Block and help you write better.

Communicating with your subconscious is not that challenging. Again, if it tells you to do something and you do it, then you’re effectively communicating with your subconscious. Keep doing it. And when you go to bed at night (or during the day, depending on your lifestyle and schedule), ask out loud and write down some questions or topics that you want your subconscious to mull over while your typist and bus driver are passed out for eight hours. When those guys are comatose, your subconscious is hard at play on its own eight-hour vacation.

How To Train Your Subconscious to Work For You

The more you listen to your subconscious, the more it will talk back and provide the information you need. You can train it to give you more and more information by asking questions, writing them down, then sleeping on them. Keep asking the same questions over and over until you get what you want. When asking questions or asking for help, please be kind to your subconscious.

Remember: your subconscious is a child and understands when you are being impatient or downright tedious. You know how people say to treat yourself kindly and gently? They’re really saying you should be kind and gentle to your subconscious.

The reason I suggest you say what you want out loud is because when you speak it and hear your own words, your brain stores and processes that information in different areas, which work in unison to come to your aid. When you physically write it down, that too is stored and processed in another part of your brain. When you read your own words, that is also stored and processed in yet a different part of your brain.

These working areas are also complex computing centers that help to enhance what you desire and wish for, and they help your subconscious make those wishes and dreams come true.

Training your subconscious involves all the above steps, plus actively talking to it, and not just before you go to sleep. You can have meaningful conversations with your subconscious, not only asking questions but also asking for guidance and assistance. The more you communicate with it, the more it responds and with better and more relevant information that will help and guide you accurately.

The only time my subconscious has failed me is when I have ignored it. That fact, in itself, I find fascinating and compelling. My subconscious has never steered me in the wrong or in a negative direction. Ever. When I’ve chosen to go off-map, then sometimes I’ve gotten into trouble. Yes, I’ve learned a lot from those experiential experiences, especially when off-map, but I’ve also paid a steep price for venturing off my Universal path.

Talk to the Individual Components of Your Subconscious

You also can talk to the individual components of your subconscious. It takes time and effort, but you can do it. I’ve often consulted my Logic element to get an objective view on a particular subject. And when I’ve needed to discuss something about my love life, I’ve talked to my Heart.

Having five separate ultra-complex computer modules inside your head is like having a team of experts of the Universe at your beck and call. Thing is, you must treat that team nicely and with great respect or it will ignore you and your queries. Your subconscious will never be vengeful and send you down a wrong path; only your conscious self does that.

The worst you can expect from your subconscious is silence, and that is the most crushing thing that could happen to your beautiful mind, not having the backing of one of the mightiest beings in the Universe.

This may be one of the causes of Writer's Block: your subconscious shutting down.

When Your Subconscious Goes Dark

When your subconscious fails to talk to you or communicate with you, something is very wrong. Remember that your subconscious is a child, so it needs special attention. Like I said, it will never steer you wrong, but it may ignore you. If it does, ask what’s up. Yes, really.

When you go to bed, write down that question, plus a few others: Are you okay? Have I done something really dumb to make you ignore me? What am I doing wrong here? How can I get back on track? Will you please help me?

The times I’ve had my subconscious go silent, they were when I was not treating myself well. I’ve had some challenging jobs in my life—scientist, Army Ranger, corporate security specialist—and each one has brought on a host of problems and challenges that drove me bananas at times. Sometimes after very difficult days, I would drink one too many beers, which is a great way to shut down one’s subconscious.

Point is, I abused myself and I paid for it, not only externally but also internally. Be kind and gentle to yourself, and your subconscious will thank you for it in ways you cannot even imagine now.

Your Subconscious Will Cure Writer's Block and Write Everything For You

All you need to do is nurture it and treat it like it’s the most precious thing in the Universe. It will help you cure Writer's Block, design your story, then guide your typist to get it all down on paper, virtual or real.

You must first master the inner workings of your subconscious before you can begin. Once you do, may you never ever suffer from Writer's Block again.
#fantasy  #scifi  #fiction  #nonfiction  #romance  #horror  #adventure  #education  #childrens  #poetry  #science  #philosophy  #spirituality  #news  #writersblock 
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Written by ALifeWitArt in portal Stream of Consciousness

Fork in the Road

I’m hovering in spirit-form as I watch two fourteen year old girls sneak out of their bedroom window to attend a party in the spring of 1990. I focus my attention on the insecure one—Sara, the one with soft feminine features. I will follow her—shadow her—to tell her story. But as I look upon her now, before they move towards that window, she is smiling. My eyes well-up with tears at the sight of the light sparkling in her eyes, they radiate a special hope and innocence. She had been told her whole life--up until now—that she has a pretty smile…the kind that can light up any room or mood. I want to swaddle her and put her to bed—keep her safe—prevent the forthcoming events, but the paralysis of recollection precludes me from such a miracle, so instead I am left to witness the events that unfolded that evening. And so they go…

Sara was small-boned—a dancer since the age of two--and her undeveloped body still reflected that of a little girl. Her general understanding of life was just as stunted: naïve with Pollyanna optimism, Sara’s courage was almost non-existent. Her more popular friend, Kristy, told Sara about the party. Sara was hesitant but overwhelmed with a feeling of acceptance through the invite to attend.

Kristy offered to get Sara ready. She told her to leave her retainer at the house—you’ll look older—and they listened to music as Kristy dressed Sara up like a cheap doll in make-up and clothes as though prepping her for a perverse beauty pageant designed for toddlers. Kristy was a reckless and wildly confident girl. Sara was drawn to her dysfunction. She admired Kristy’s callous approach to boys and school. Kristy had developed early--both physically and emotionally. As they got ready for the party, Sara watched the way the clothes fell onto Kristy’s mature body and wondered what it felt like to have clothes drape the curves of your body in that way.

Around 10 o’clock on that warm night, the girls jumped out of the window. Although Kristy’s bedroom was on the first story, the landing was harsh—more harsh than anything Sara had ever done, and she paused one brief moment to consider the presenting crossroads. She told Kristy that they should reconsider, that they were making a mistake. The street in its night light and illuminating affect scared Sara. Although she’d walked down that road hundreds of times, it suddenly seemed foreign and dangerous. But Sara was quickly reassured by her exciting friend. They hitched a ride from an older boy in the neighborhood, and were on their way to a place that proved more life-altering than either of the girls could ever have imagined.

When they walked into the party Sara’s eyes were as big and hopeful as her heart. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. She immediately noticed that there were no other girls, just boys who were three and four years her senior, in attendance. She immediately felt a sense of coolness—she felt popular. A group of boys she recognized from the hallways at school sat around the dining room table, playing cards, and invited the girls to join. Kristy’s boyfriend was there—she sat on his lap and immediately immersed herself in him. Sara felt alone. She was very shy, so she dismissed this emotional discomfort as something to be expected—assuming it was a usual hurdle for her, rather than recognizing it as a gut instinct.

The boys seemed to recognize Sara’s feeling of displacement and started to play drinking games with her to make her more comfortable. Turn after turn, they told her to drink. And she did. She started to feel more relaxed. It was her first time drinking and the alcohol went down easy. She forgot she was shy and didn’t fit in. Her body felt warm. She was more talkative and almost comfortable in her own skin. She laughed at their jokes and felt free for the first time. Then one of the most popular boys told her she was pretty. She blushed at the compliment and felt dizzy from the alcohol, so he offered to help her “walk it off.” He said he’d like to get to know her better: he suggested they look for a quiet spot to talk because he had actually always liked her from afar. Her better sense knew he was lying, but it felt good to believe him—so she went along, willing to play pretend for a minute. She continued on, stumbling down the hallway, and he helped her. They found a quiet spot at the end, in the darkness.

And then he kissed her. Sara had never been kissed—aside from on the playground in grammar school and once on the walk home from middle school. And this kiss was different. It was wet and forceful. But she liked it. She felt her body warm to the sensation and smell of the teenage boy. He was wearing his football jersey—a plastic kind of material that was easy to grab onto. As he pinned her against the wall she was torn between enjoying the power he had over her, and knowing it was dangerous. She became dizzier from standing with her hands above her head—she had to keep them wrapped around his neck to steady herself--so he led her to the bedroom. Where she could lie down.

There were two mattresses on the floor. She saw Kristy with her boyfriend sitting on one. They were still drinking and appeared to be looking through some CD’s. It crossed Sara’s childlike mind, as the boy led her to the other bed, that Kristy should be careful: they might spill the drinks on the mattress and that would be irresponsible at someone else’s house.

Next thing Sara knew—as the room spun when she fell to the floor—the boy was on top of her. She pushed his shoulders and told him she couldn’t breathe, as he tried to stick his tongue in her mouth. She was shocked at how a few minutes ago she enjoyed the way he kissed her. Now it repulsed her and she felt sick from the smell of beer on his breath. She told him “no.” She told him to “stop.” And she continued to attempt to push him off. He wouldn’t budge. Her thoughts became slow motion as she retraced the events leading up to the minute. And she was so confused, he didn’t seem as big when he was upright--she was shocked by his strength as he held her down. As she struggled to free herself--gasping for fresh air—she felt his hand near her thighs. And then everything in her consciousness stopped.

All at once, the ghost of her past stood up and left the room. The little girl who played with dolls until middle school, who wrote stories instead of watching television in grammar school, the shy ballerina who was taught to look above the crowd to avoid stage fright at recitals—died. And her future—it was all forgotten. She didn’t exist. All of her hope--her dreams, plans, along with her good grades and good behavior—all ceased to exist. And her present—frozen. Burned alive. She felt something hard and powerful between her legs. He spread Sara’s legs with his boney knees as he pinned down her hands. His facial hair scratched her youthful, once-rosy cheek as she turned her head to breathe. She couldn’t stand his mouth on her, but he continued to slobber…her hair stuck to her neck, wet with his perspiration and saliva. She cried for her Kristy to help her. She was only 6 feet away. But Kristy laughed in response, dismissing Sara’s pleas as childish. She cried and asked kindly for him to please stop. But he continued.

When the boy entered her, Sara felt herself crack in two. She felt she was torn up the middle, and the boy seemed to gut her like a deer—pulling all of her happy memories and hopeful dreams from her soul. This violence exposed her innermost intimacy. With overwhelming pain radiating beyond a physical torture which left her body feeling broken into a million pieces: she left her body. Tears fell from her eyes as she watched her childhood drain like waste from her tiny body. He took every ounce of her innocent joy and beat it flat and lifeless, as he raped her for four hours that night. Eventually, she stopped crying. For a very long time.

It remains a mystery how the girls got home that night, but the next day Sara felt she’d lost something pure and gained something evil. A shadow was cast over her heart and it hardened with thick ivy and sharp thorns. Her personality was forever altered, darkened and without faith in outsiders. And physically, she was traumatically injured—she could not sit down and for days walking took effort. She hid her discomfort, like she hid the secret of what had happened to her. A few days later, in the rumor mill at school, she had heard that the boys at the party had to throw away that sacrificial mattress. Apparently it looked like someone had been stabbed to death on it.

The day after the party, as Sara sat side-like on a pillow, watching prime time with her parents, that boy—her rapist—called her on the telephone. He apologized. Shaking from her core to her fingertips, the event, his voice, his apology—replayed quickly in her mind: he too was just a kid whose life was also forever changed by his decisions that night.

So I forgave him.

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Written by ALifeWitArt in portal Stream of Consciousness
Fork in the Road
I’m hovering in spirit-form as I watch two fourteen year old girls sneak out of their bedroom window to attend a party in the spring of 1990. I focus my attention on the insecure one—Sara, the one with soft feminine features. I will follow her—shadow her—to tell her story. But as I look upon her now, before they move towards that window, she is smiling. My eyes well-up with tears at the sight of the light sparkling in her eyes, they radiate a special hope and innocence. She had been told her whole life--up until now—that she has a pretty smile…the kind that can light up any room or mood. I want to swaddle her and put her to bed—keep her safe—prevent the forthcoming events, but the paralysis of recollection precludes me from such a miracle, so instead I am left to witness the events that unfolded that evening. And so they go…

Sara was small-boned—a dancer since the age of two--and her undeveloped body still reflected that of a little girl. Her general understanding of life was just as stunted: naïve with Pollyanna optimism, Sara’s courage was almost non-existent. Her more popular friend, Kristy, told Sara about the party. Sara was hesitant but overwhelmed with a feeling of acceptance through the invite to attend.

Kristy offered to get Sara ready. She told her to leave her retainer at the house—you’ll look older—and they listened to music as Kristy dressed Sara up like a cheap doll in make-up and clothes as though prepping her for a perverse beauty pageant designed for toddlers. Kristy was a reckless and wildly confident girl. Sara was drawn to her dysfunction. She admired Kristy’s callous approach to boys and school. Kristy had developed early--both physically and emotionally. As they got ready for the party, Sara watched the way the clothes fell onto Kristy’s mature body and wondered what it felt like to have clothes drape the curves of your body in that way.

Around 10 o’clock on that warm night, the girls jumped out of the window. Although Kristy’s bedroom was on the first story, the landing was harsh—more harsh than anything Sara had ever done, and she paused one brief moment to consider the presenting crossroads. She told Kristy that they should reconsider, that they were making a mistake. The street in its night light and illuminating affect scared Sara. Although she’d walked down that road hundreds of times, it suddenly seemed foreign and dangerous. But Sara was quickly reassured by her exciting friend. They hitched a ride from an older boy in the neighborhood, and were on their way to a place that proved more life-altering than either of the girls could ever have imagined.

When they walked into the party Sara’s eyes were as big and hopeful as her heart. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. She immediately noticed that there were no other girls, just boys who were three and four years her senior, in attendance. She immediately felt a sense of coolness—she felt popular. A group of boys she recognized from the hallways at school sat around the dining room table, playing cards, and invited the girls to join. Kristy’s boyfriend was there—she sat on his lap and immediately immersed herself in him. Sara felt alone. She was very shy, so she dismissed this emotional discomfort as something to be expected—assuming it was a usual hurdle for her, rather than recognizing it as a gut instinct.

The boys seemed to recognize Sara’s feeling of displacement and started to play drinking games with her to make her more comfortable. Turn after turn, they told her to drink. And she did. She started to feel more relaxed. It was her first time drinking and the alcohol went down easy. She forgot she was shy and didn’t fit in. Her body felt warm. She was more talkative and almost comfortable in her own skin. She laughed at their jokes and felt free for the first time. Then one of the most popular boys told her she was pretty. She blushed at the compliment and felt dizzy from the alcohol, so he offered to help her “walk it off.” He said he’d like to get to know her better: he suggested they look for a quiet spot to talk because he had actually always liked her from afar. Her better sense knew he was lying, but it felt good to believe him—so she went along, willing to play pretend for a minute. She continued on, stumbling down the hallway, and he helped her. They found a quiet spot at the end, in the darkness.

And then he kissed her. Sara had never been kissed—aside from on the playground in grammar school and once on the walk home from middle school. And this kiss was different. It was wet and forceful. But she liked it. She felt her body warm to the sensation and smell of the teenage boy. He was wearing his football jersey—a plastic kind of material that was easy to grab onto. As he pinned her against the wall she was torn between enjoying the power he had over her, and knowing it was dangerous. She became dizzier from standing with her hands above her head—she had to keep them wrapped around his neck to steady herself--so he led her to the bedroom. Where she could lie down.

There were two mattresses on the floor. She saw Kristy with her boyfriend sitting on one. They were still drinking and appeared to be looking through some CD’s. It crossed Sara’s childlike mind, as the boy led her to the other bed, that Kristy should be careful: they might spill the drinks on the mattress and that would be irresponsible at someone else’s house.

Next thing Sara knew—as the room spun when she fell to the floor—the boy was on top of her. She pushed his shoulders and told him she couldn’t breathe, as he tried to stick his tongue in her mouth. She was shocked at how a few minutes ago she enjoyed the way he kissed her. Now it repulsed her and she felt sick from the smell of beer on his breath. She told him “no.” She told him to “stop.” And she continued to attempt to push him off. He wouldn’t budge. Her thoughts became slow motion as she retraced the events leading up to the minute. And she was so confused, he didn’t seem as big when he was upright--she was shocked by his strength as he held her down. As she struggled to free herself--gasping for fresh air—she felt his hand near her thighs. And then everything in her consciousness stopped.

All at once, the ghost of her past stood up and left the room. The little girl who played with dolls until middle school, who wrote stories instead of watching television in grammar school, the shy ballerina who was taught to look above the crowd to avoid stage fright at recitals—died. And her future—it was all forgotten. She didn’t exist. All of her hope--her dreams, plans, along with her good grades and good behavior—all ceased to exist. And her present—frozen. Burned alive. She felt something hard and powerful between her legs. He spread Sara’s legs with his boney knees as he pinned down her hands. His facial hair scratched her youthful, once-rosy cheek as she turned her head to breathe. She couldn’t stand his mouth on her, but he continued to slobber…her hair stuck to her neck, wet with his perspiration and saliva. She cried for her Kristy to help her. She was only 6 feet away. But Kristy laughed in response, dismissing Sara’s pleas as childish. She cried and asked kindly for him to please stop. But he continued.

When the boy entered her, Sara felt herself crack in two. She felt she was torn up the middle, and the boy seemed to gut her like a deer—pulling all of her happy memories and hopeful dreams from her soul. This violence exposed her innermost intimacy. With overwhelming pain radiating beyond a physical torture which left her body feeling broken into a million pieces: she left her body. Tears fell from her eyes as she watched her childhood drain like waste from her tiny body. He took every ounce of her innocent joy and beat it flat and lifeless, as he raped her for four hours that night. Eventually, she stopped crying. For a very long time.

It remains a mystery how the girls got home that night, but the next day Sara felt she’d lost something pure and gained something evil. A shadow was cast over her heart and it hardened with thick ivy and sharp thorns. Her personality was forever altered, darkened and without faith in outsiders. And physically, she was traumatically injured—she could not sit down and for days walking took effort. She hid her discomfort, like she hid the secret of what had happened to her. A few days later, in the rumor mill at school, she had heard that the boys at the party had to throw away that sacrificial mattress. Apparently it looked like someone had been stabbed to death on it.

The day after the party, as Sara sat side-like on a pillow, watching prime time with her parents, that boy—her rapist—called her on the telephone. He apologized. Shaking from her core to her fingertips, the event, his voice, his apology—replayed quickly in her mind: he too was just a kid whose life was also forever changed by his decisions that night.

So I forgave him.
#nonfiction  #horror  #culture  #loss  #foregiveness 
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Write 500 words about death. Prose will select the top submissions and publish them in its first Kindle Anthology.
Written by MrsMetaphor

Transition

They say it is the shortest part of the process, the shortest but the most intense. If one can last the flight of youth, the lengthy lingering of middle age, the subtle stagnation of being elderly and, perhaps infirm at that, then the transition would seem quick.

It is worth mentioning, of course, that while the whole of the process and the number of accumulated years might vary, the transaction still completes the same way for each of us. We breathe, we breathe, we breathe and then the air recedes, the blood stills, the pain fades, the brain shuts down all systems like a shop manager closing up. The store is there, still and solid, but with empty shelves, absent customers, cobwebs clouding corners and dust piling up.

In childbirth it is the same, you know. Transition is the shortest part, filled with long languishing labor pains, a constant undulating tightening wave racing east to west around the belly without fail. It presses in. It presses down. It forces life from life, miracle like and marvelous.

We cry for mercy in any case. We cry for hope. We cry for an end to the pain and that mercy presses in and it presses down. It forces life from life to wherever it goes next, miracle like and mysterious.

And those of us who wait, who watch, who stay behind, we witness that great mystery, that soft miracle, that marvel. The grief pours in with the ebb of breath. Sometimes it brings along relief, sometimes wonder, sometimes anger. This is our transition, a series of perpetual transitions, a dialing of numbers and outpouring of words or tears or memories until we have only that hollow space, here, beneath the ribs.

At night we feel that space, holding air, holding grief. We hold it gently there, like a sacred word spoken in the dark. We worry that we'll forget if we speak it. We worry that we will be forgotten. We worry that we will fade from this world to nothing, to everything, to white light.

We wonder what any of it will mean then. We wonder about the arguments and the tears, about the organic foods, the chocolate bars, leaded or unleaded, gluten free, half price, full time, all roads leading fast into the woods or the desert or the inner city.

Then a breath, and another, and a third. We breathe, we breathe, we breathe. We remember that our heart still beats. We remember that the earth is round. We remember that though the waves rush across the belly east to west, tightening without fail, that this is the shortest part, the transition.

But we don't believe it in that moment, we hold to that hollow space just beneath the ribcage. We press our hands to that space. We press in, we press down until at last we force life from life. We deepen into the dark at last, pulling out life - blinking and reluctant, miracle like and marvelous, mysterious and merciful.

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Write 500 words about death. Prose will select the top submissions and publish them in its first Kindle Anthology.
Written by MrsMetaphor
Transition
They say it is the shortest part of the process, the shortest but the most intense. If one can last the flight of youth, the lengthy lingering of middle age, the subtle stagnation of being elderly and, perhaps infirm at that, then the transition would seem quick.

It is worth mentioning, of course, that while the whole of the process and the number of accumulated years might vary, the transaction still completes the same way for each of us. We breathe, we breathe, we breathe and then the air recedes, the blood stills, the pain fades, the brain shuts down all systems like a shop manager closing up. The store is there, still and solid, but with empty shelves, absent customers, cobwebs clouding corners and dust piling up.

In childbirth it is the same, you know. Transition is the shortest part, filled with long languishing labor pains, a constant undulating tightening wave racing east to west around the belly without fail. It presses in. It presses down. It forces life from life, miracle like and marvelous.

We cry for mercy in any case. We cry for hope. We cry for an end to the pain and that mercy presses in and it presses down. It forces life from life to wherever it goes next, miracle like and mysterious.

And those of us who wait, who watch, who stay behind, we witness that great mystery, that soft miracle, that marvel. The grief pours in with the ebb of breath. Sometimes it brings along relief, sometimes wonder, sometimes anger. This is our transition, a series of perpetual transitions, a dialing of numbers and outpouring of words or tears or memories until we have only that hollow space, here, beneath the ribs.

At night we feel that space, holding air, holding grief. We hold it gently there, like a sacred word spoken in the dark. We worry that we'll forget if we speak it. We worry that we will be forgotten. We worry that we will fade from this world to nothing, to everything, to white light.

We wonder what any of it will mean then. We wonder about the arguments and the tears, about the organic foods, the chocolate bars, leaded or unleaded, gluten free, half price, full time, all roads leading fast into the woods or the desert or the inner city.

Then a breath, and another, and a third. We breathe, we breathe, we breathe. We remember that our heart still beats. We remember that the earth is round. We remember that though the waves rush across the belly east to west, tightening without fail, that this is the shortest part, the transition.

But we don't believe it in that moment, we hold to that hollow space just beneath the ribcage. We press our hands to that space. We press in, we press down until at last we force life from life. We deepen into the dark at last, pulling out life - blinking and reluctant, miracle like and marvelous, mysterious and merciful.
#nonfiction  #adventure  #poetry  #philosophy  #death  #spirituality 
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Written by writerjess

Adventures on the Beach

I have a complicated relationship with the beach.

I have never liked slathering my skin in suntan lotion and sitting under the hot sun while it's at its highest point in the sky. The people at the beach are too loud and they move too fast; and there are far too many of them, all with unnaturally perfect bodies. The water is unpredictable, cold, and not nearly transparent enough. And the sand, my god the sand, it's everywhere, sticking to your skin, taking shelter under your fingernails, in your bag, and on your towel, just to remain there forever.

But sometimes I do love the beach; it was three years ago when I first realized this.

The night had settled, we just finished dinner, and we were laughing. Laughing, laughing, laughing. I don't remember what we were talking about or if anything was funny, but what does it matter? We sat, outside, at a restaurant on the beach.

I left the table with my cousins but as I walked, they were forgotten behind me. I took off my shoes, held them in my hand. I walked across the beach, feet swallowed by the sand with every step. Water hit the shore steadily washing over my bare toes.

I walked farther than I could see. The sounds of waves and the faded sound of an acoustic guitar drowned out the world. I felt small, looking out onto the endless water and endless beach, but at the same time, I felt present and important. It was just me, the waves, the sand, the music, and my thoughts. 

The fresh smell, blown at me by the strong winds of the sea, cannot be even close to replicated. At the end of the beach, it was a cluster of large, jagged rocks. There the water was even more intense and beautiful, especially when it turned white against the rocks. I found a flat slab and climbed my way on top to sit on it with my legs dangling above the crashing waves. 

I looked out and found that I couldn't see where the water ended and the sky began, it was all a black abyss. When travellers used to think the world was flat I suspected that this was what they expected to see. 

There was no distance, but somehow it was all distance.

I was nothing, but I was also everything. 

I thought time ceased to exist. But, of course, that was a mere illusion painted by the beach when it was dark and void of people. I hadn't forgotten about the people, they were just in the distance, where I couldn't hear what they were saying, just see their heads thrown back in laughter.

Eventually, my name was called and I cursed having to return to reality. But I decided that, yes, I loved the beach.

Author's note: Worth mentioning that I wrote this for my mom on her birthday.

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Written by writerjess
Adventures on the Beach
I have a complicated relationship with the beach.

I have never liked slathering my skin in suntan lotion and sitting under the hot sun while it's at its highest point in the sky. The people at the beach are too loud and they move too fast; and there are far too many of them, all with unnaturally perfect bodies. The water is unpredictable, cold, and not nearly transparent enough. And the sand, my god the sand, it's everywhere, sticking to your skin, taking shelter under your fingernails, in your bag, and on your towel, just to remain there forever.

But sometimes I do love the beach; it was three years ago when I first realized this.

The night had settled, we just finished dinner, and we were laughing. Laughing, laughing, laughing. I don't remember what we were talking about or if anything was funny, but what does it matter? We sat, outside, at a restaurant on the beach.

I left the table with my cousins but as I walked, they were forgotten behind me. I took off my shoes, held them in my hand. I walked across the beach, feet swallowed by the sand with every step. Water hit the shore steadily washing over my bare toes.

I walked farther than I could see. The sounds of waves and the faded sound of an acoustic guitar drowned out the world. I felt small, looking out onto the endless water and endless beach, but at the same time, I felt present and important. It was just me, the waves, the sand, the music, and my thoughts. 

The fresh smell, blown at me by the strong winds of the sea, cannot be even close to replicated. At the end of the beach, it was a cluster of large, jagged rocks. There the water was even more intense and beautiful, especially when it turned white against the rocks. I found a flat slab and climbed my way on top to sit on it with my legs dangling above the crashing waves. 

I looked out and found that I couldn't see where the water ended and the sky began, it was all a black abyss. When travellers used to think the world was flat I suspected that this was what they expected to see. 

There was no distance, but somehow it was all distance.

I was nothing, but I was also everything. 

I thought time ceased to exist. But, of course, that was a mere illusion painted by the beach when it was dark and void of people. I hadn't forgotten about the people, they were just in the distance, where I couldn't hear what they were saying, just see their heads thrown back in laughter.

Eventually, my name was called and I cursed having to return to reality. But I decided that, yes, I loved the beach.

Author's note: Worth mentioning that I wrote this for my mom on her birthday.
#nonfiction  #adventure  #philosophy  #spirituality  #opinion 
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Written by eamarwen

A Letter

After your heart is ripped out of your chest, the world feels black and white. Like an old depressing movie about smoking cigarettes and drinking whisky. I want to tell you something. I want to tell you how I feel. Most of all I want you to understand something.

Do you know what you've done? I do not believe you do. In some twisted way you think you singlehandedly destroy everything you touch. You don't.

Having a woman from your past yelling at me and telling you what to say, that is not the actions of a man. Not giving me a chance to understand is not the actions of a man. I never wanted to fix you. I wanted you to fix yourself. I just wanted to love you and be loved back. I believe that everyone is capable of love. Even you. Even if you don't think so yourself. But I've seen you love. You love the sea. I can see it in your eyes when they glance over the horizon. And even if you just said you loved me because you think that's what I wanted to hear, I know that you can love, and you will. Maybe you will never love me, but that is not the point here.

I wish I could look back at our time together and feel joy. I could see us together. I really could. I fell for you so fast and I didn't mean to.

I don't understand American culture. It is possessive and weird. You did not disrespect me, you messed up. If you didn't want to be with me just say so. Do not talk about not being worthy. Who is? I know I'm not. I am a cheater, a liar, I use people when I get the chance. I am not a good person. I try, but life is hard. Even for me, even though I've not lived as long as you.

I've constantly been told I'm not good enough, not beautiful enough, that I'm a waste. I am not wanted. Now I'm in a good place, or at least I hope it's going to last. I am still in love with you. At the same time I hate you. You never gave me a fair chance.

And just like that its gone. But you know what? When people give me shit, I will use it as manure and grow. You might have broken my heart, the pieces that are left of it anyway. I am afraid that this is going to make me bitter. I am afraid that I'm not going to believe in love and its awesome power. However, I'm going to try my best. I want to find my Aragorn. I thought it might be you. But like all fairytales they end.

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Written by eamarwen
A Letter
After your heart is ripped out of your chest, the world feels black and white. Like an old depressing movie about smoking cigarettes and drinking whisky. I want to tell you something. I want to tell you how I feel. Most of all I want you to understand something.
Do you know what you've done? I do not believe you do. In some twisted way you think you singlehandedly destroy everything you touch. You don't.

Having a woman from your past yelling at me and telling you what to say, that is not the actions of a man. Not giving me a chance to understand is not the actions of a man. I never wanted to fix you. I wanted you to fix yourself. I just wanted to love you and be loved back. I believe that everyone is capable of love. Even you. Even if you don't think so yourself. But I've seen you love. You love the sea. I can see it in your eyes when they glance over the horizon. And even if you just said you loved me because you think that's what I wanted to hear, I know that you can love, and you will. Maybe you will never love me, but that is not the point here.

I wish I could look back at our time together and feel joy. I could see us together. I really could. I fell for you so fast and I didn't mean to.

I don't understand American culture. It is possessive and weird. You did not disrespect me, you messed up. If you didn't want to be with me just say so. Do not talk about not being worthy. Who is? I know I'm not. I am a cheater, a liar, I use people when I get the chance. I am not a good person. I try, but life is hard. Even for me, even though I've not lived as long as you.

I've constantly been told I'm not good enough, not beautiful enough, that I'm a waste. I am not wanted. Now I'm in a good place, or at least I hope it's going to last. I am still in love with you. At the same time I hate you. You never gave me a fair chance.
And just like that its gone. But you know what? When people give me shit, I will use it as manure and grow. You might have broken my heart, the pieces that are left of it anyway. I am afraid that this is going to make me bitter. I am afraid that I'm not going to believe in love and its awesome power. However, I'm going to try my best. I want to find my Aragorn. I thought it might be you. But like all fairytales they end.
#nonfiction  #romance  #heartbreak  #eamarwen 
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Challenge of the Week #55: Write a story of 200 words or more about a stranger. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $200. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by purplepen

a craigslist-style missed connection

I won't lie to you: I have somewhat of a habit of falling in love with strangers. It's the books and movies that make me do it--and you, you were cinematic and literary in the very best way. You had a romanticism to you, a face that Daphne du Maurier would've compared to a painting, would've used as inspiration for her next tragic hero. I could see you in an old manor house, hiding a dark secret, waiting. For me? I'm not sure. Waiting for someone, certainly. What else do the men of Gothic novels do, when they aren't waiting around for uncertain girls to fall in love with them? You were enchanting and devastating to me, walking absentmindedly in your long coat, while the whole world buzzed around you. I saw you for only a moment, and you never even looked my way. Our stories are our own; we aren't meant to cross paths again. Yet, I sit and I write to you, a love letter you will never read, because I have heard too many songs and seen too many low-budget romantic comedies and dreamed too many dreams of beautiful boys, beautiful and graceful boys who play the piano. It's better this way, you see. I often have said that I wish the characters in the books I read and the movies I watch missed their chances, never met, were too distracted. I wish they smiled and went their separate ways. For though I love the flirting, though I clutch my heart and sigh the first time they kiss, it always leads to hardship. In life, especially, there would be this hardship, and sooner, too, because you will not be that man that I want. I will not have to wait for months of bliss to pass before I am disappointed. Were I to meet you, really meet you, I doubt you would be the man I am seeking. I doubt you play the piano, and your long coat is a facade, and you've never read a classic novel, not since high school. Your profile may be lovely, but you have only God to thank for that. Most importantly, I suppose you have a girl at home already, waiting to kiss you, knowing you for more than the dashing imaginings that your appearance brings to mind for silly romantics like myself. Though I do wish, in a little way, to be that girl, I am more than happy to be the far-off writer on the corner, with wind blowing her hair across her face, making a Polaroid-worthy moment for another dreamer. I am content to see you from afar, and write about you, and think of you as whoever I want you to be. We will be lovely strangers, happier because we missed each other, because we never knew the sadness that comes with realizing that not all love stories start in this picturesque way. You will go home to your lady, and I will go home to my solitude, and fall in love with another stranger, and another. I look forward to a thousand missed connections. I still think of you, my never-to-be-lover, for the romantic in me refuses to let go of you. What I hold on to, of course, is not really anything more than a story that I created around a moment, around a face--but it was a most poetic face. You had a most poetic face. 

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Challenge of the Week #55: Write a story of 200 words or more about a stranger. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $200. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by purplepen
a craigslist-style missed connection
I won't lie to you: I have somewhat of a habit of falling in love with strangers. It's the books and movies that make me do it--and you, you were cinematic and literary in the very best way. You had a romanticism to you, a face that Daphne du Maurier would've compared to a painting, would've used as inspiration for her next tragic hero. I could see you in an old manor house, hiding a dark secret, waiting. For me? I'm not sure. Waiting for someone, certainly. What else do the men of Gothic novels do, when they aren't waiting around for uncertain girls to fall in love with them? You were enchanting and devastating to me, walking absentmindedly in your long coat, while the whole world buzzed around you. I saw you for only a moment, and you never even looked my way. Our stories are our own; we aren't meant to cross paths again. Yet, I sit and I write to you, a love letter you will never read, because I have heard too many songs and seen too many low-budget romantic comedies and dreamed too many dreams of beautiful boys, beautiful and graceful boys who play the piano. It's better this way, you see. I often have said that I wish the characters in the books I read and the movies I watch missed their chances, never met, were too distracted. I wish they smiled and went their separate ways. For though I love the flirting, though I clutch my heart and sigh the first time they kiss, it always leads to hardship. In life, especially, there would be this hardship, and sooner, too, because you will not be that man that I want. I will not have to wait for months of bliss to pass before I am disappointed. Were I to meet you, really meet you, I doubt you would be the man I am seeking. I doubt you play the piano, and your long coat is a facade, and you've never read a classic novel, not since high school. Your profile may be lovely, but you have only God to thank for that. Most importantly, I suppose you have a girl at home already, waiting to kiss you, knowing you for more than the dashing imaginings that your appearance brings to mind for silly romantics like myself. Though I do wish, in a little way, to be that girl, I am more than happy to be the far-off writer on the corner, with wind blowing her hair across her face, making a Polaroid-worthy moment for another dreamer. I am content to see you from afar, and write about you, and think of you as whoever I want you to be. We will be lovely strangers, happier because we missed each other, because we never knew the sadness that comes with realizing that not all love stories start in this picturesque way. You will go home to your lady, and I will go home to my solitude, and fall in love with another stranger, and another. I look forward to a thousand missed connections. I still think of you, my never-to-be-lover, for the romantic in me refuses to let go of you. What I hold on to, of course, is not really anything more than a story that I created around a moment, around a face--but it was a most poetic face. You had a most poetic face. 
#fiction  #nonfiction  #romance 
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Written by Prose in portal Prose

Friday Feature: @JayChimera

It’s Friday, a day when there is definitely nothing else of importance happening in the world. Not today. It’s all about Prose today. So let’s roll out the fabulous Feature Friday thang and get our noses into someone else’s business. We head for beautiful Scotland this week to meet and drink whisky with a bonnie wee lassie (and other lazy stereotypical imagery). Ladies, Gentlemen and those in between, meet @JayChimera

P: What, prey tell, is your name, Proser?

J: My name is Jackie but I do prefer Jay. My real full name has always bothered me. My Proser name is JayChimera. Not like the Greek mythical fire breathing beast. More like an illusion or a fabrication of the mind.

P: Where do you live?

J: I live in the centre of Edinburgh in Scotland in the U.K. (The Athens of the North) It's a very pretty city, there's so much history, a big castle and home to the Fringe festival which is the largest arts festival in the world.

P: What is your occupation?

J: I am an assistant manager/supervisor in a hotel/restaurant in the centre of Edinburgh. I look after guests as they arrive for breakfast and supply them with lots of tea and coffee. I have been in the hospitality industry for the best part of ten years now. I'm a qualified chef too.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

J: Well, the first time I ever put pen to paper was when I was 14 years old. It was a dark time in my life and I spent a lot of it on my own. I had to express myself, to let go of all my anger. So I would write. There's always been a dark emotional element to my writing, really deep and personal. I found that words can be an escape and can be used as a good therapy tool. Growing up, I knew I always wanted to write and to this day I'm still working on the relationship between me and words. I'm still improving myself as a writer.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

J: For me, reading was never really my strong point. But over the past few years I've gained an understanding that reading is essential for a writer. Reading other works by similar authors and especially other Prosers has gave me so much inspiration and also motivation too. As a hobby I read about the Buddhist culture and mindfulness which I have read about for many years now. This helps me gain a healthy perspective on life and think about how writing is my path to a happy and healthy future.

P: Can you describe your current and future literary ventures?

J: So, right now I am trying to write every day. A hectic work schedule can mentally drain me so writing some days can be a struggle. Currently writing some poetry for an open mic competition I could be competing in at the end of the month and starting to get the ball rolling on my homemade project and self-publish my own poetry. An idea for a novel is brewing but idle in my mind and I'm keeping an eye out for those prose challenges.

P: What do you love about Prose?

J: The Prosers are an incredible bunch of people. I've never felt more accepted and honoured to be part of a writing community that doesn't judge or hate. It's a beautiful place to be and for that I am truly grateful for the creators and the work they've put into making this a wonderful place.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

J: This is quite tough. It's either Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig or Love is Not Enough by Tom Weaver. Matt's book is about the struggles with depression and anxiety but it's light-hearted and can help a person understand what it's like for another person to deal with these kind of situations. As dealing with these situations myself it's a very important book in my life. Tom's book is one that isn't sitting on a shelf in Waterstones but rather a small book of song lyrics and spoken word full of heartbreak and anger. He is the lead singer of a band called Casey and has been a big inspiration to me. His first song Hell was astoundingly beautiful. At the time of it's release I found myself heartbroken and stumped for words to express the way I felt. As soon as I heard that song I was floored. The way he writes is emotionally moving and still he continues to impress and inspire me.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

J: Not particularly. I'm the writer of the family and hadn't ever looked up to any type of writer or idol when I was younger. My words were mine and I had always been proud of that. My muses are the people in and out of my life, my heart and my own mind.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

J: Reserved, mindful, lonely.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

J: This doesn't necessarily sum me up but it's my favourite quote by the Buddha himself.

"We are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."

P: Favourite music to write and/or read to?

J: I have a few artists that are so inspiring.

Ludovico Einaudi - A pianist. A modern twist on classical music.

Slow Meadow - Incredible instrumental music, orchestra, violin, piano. I recommend you just sit back and listen.

I listen to a lot of meditation/ambient/chillout music which can help your mind, body and soul relax which leads to a better outcome when writing.

Music is a massive part of my life. I'm a bit of a hardcore emo kid if you will. Heavy rock and metal is my go to for when I feel the need to let go. Most people don't know it but when those men jump around on a stage and scream into a microphone they are exposing their deepest self. Their souls are laid bare within their words and their minds are just like any other writers. Their art is music and when they write it is as much as a part of the listener as it is them. A lot of my inspiration comes from lyrics and emotional guitars.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

J: Take this pen and this piece of paper.

How do you feel? Write it down. Write from the heart. Write about what's real.

P: Do you have a local Indie Bookstore we could approach for our ongoing feature?

J: I live five minutes from the Scottish Poetry Library in the centre of Edinburgh. It's such a niche little place and is full of wonderful poetry books by old and new authors. They have event nights which can see published writers and non-published writers come together to listen to spoken word or poetry. They hold evenings where you can speak to published authors about their work, classes on writing your own poetry. They sometimes have live music, free wine and local poets mic nights. At the moment they are getting ready to celebrate burns night where writers will come together to celebrate the works of Robert Burns.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?

J: I promote my work on twitter. @JayChimeraWrite

Peace and love. X

Awesome stuff, once again. Thanks to JayChimera for her answers. You know what happens now. Follow her, interact, like and all that business. Do YOU want to be featured? Do you want to find out about another Proser and wish to volunteer them? Then send us a message on info@theprose.com

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Friday Feature: @JayChimera
It’s Friday, a day when there is definitely nothing else of importance happening in the world. Not today. It’s all about Prose today. So let’s roll out the fabulous Feature Friday thang and get our noses into someone else’s business. We head for beautiful Scotland this week to meet and drink whisky with a bonnie wee lassie (and other lazy stereotypical imagery). Ladies, Gentlemen and those in between, meet @JayChimera

P: What, prey tell, is your name, Proser?
J: My name is Jackie but I do prefer Jay. My real full name has always bothered me. My Proser name is JayChimera. Not like the Greek mythical fire breathing beast. More like an illusion or a fabrication of the mind.

P: Where do you live?
J: I live in the centre of Edinburgh in Scotland in the U.K. (The Athens of the North) It's a very pretty city, there's so much history, a big castle and home to the Fringe festival which is the largest arts festival in the world.

P: What is your occupation?
J: I am an assistant manager/supervisor in a hotel/restaurant in the centre of Edinburgh. I look after guests as they arrive for breakfast and supply them with lots of tea and coffee. I have been in the hospitality industry for the best part of ten years now. I'm a qualified chef too.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
J: Well, the first time I ever put pen to paper was when I was 14 years old. It was a dark time in my life and I spent a lot of it on my own. I had to express myself, to let go of all my anger. So I would write. There's always been a dark emotional element to my writing, really deep and personal. I found that words can be an escape and can be used as a good therapy tool. Growing up, I knew I always wanted to write and to this day I'm still working on the relationship between me and words. I'm still improving myself as a writer.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
J: For me, reading was never really my strong point. But over the past few years I've gained an understanding that reading is essential for a writer. Reading other works by similar authors and especially other Prosers has gave me so much inspiration and also motivation too. As a hobby I read about the Buddhist culture and mindfulness which I have read about for many years now. This helps me gain a healthy perspective on life and think about how writing is my path to a happy and healthy future.

P: Can you describe your current and future literary ventures?
J: So, right now I am trying to write every day. A hectic work schedule can mentally drain me so writing some days can be a struggle. Currently writing some poetry for an open mic competition I could be competing in at the end of the month and starting to get the ball rolling on my homemade project and self-publish my own poetry. An idea for a novel is brewing but idle in my mind and I'm keeping an eye out for those prose challenges.

P: What do you love about Prose?
J: The Prosers are an incredible bunch of people. I've never felt more accepted and honoured to be part of a writing community that doesn't judge or hate. It's a beautiful place to be and for that I am truly grateful for the creators and the work they've put into making this a wonderful place.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
J: This is quite tough. It's either Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig or Love is Not Enough by Tom Weaver. Matt's book is about the struggles with depression and anxiety but it's light-hearted and can help a person understand what it's like for another person to deal with these kind of situations. As dealing with these situations myself it's a very important book in my life. Tom's book is one that isn't sitting on a shelf in Waterstones but rather a small book of song lyrics and spoken word full of heartbreak and anger. He is the lead singer of a band called Casey and has been a big inspiration to me. His first song Hell was astoundingly beautiful. At the time of it's release I found myself heartbroken and stumped for words to express the way I felt. As soon as I heard that song I was floored. The way he writes is emotionally moving and still he continues to impress and inspire me.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
J: Not particularly. I'm the writer of the family and hadn't ever looked up to any type of writer or idol when I was younger. My words were mine and I had always been proud of that. My muses are the people in and out of my life, my heart and my own mind.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
J: Reserved, mindful, lonely.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
J: This doesn't necessarily sum me up but it's my favourite quote by the Buddha himself.
"We are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."

P: Favourite music to write and/or read to?
J: I have a few artists that are so inspiring.

Ludovico Einaudi - A pianist. A modern twist on classical music.

Slow Meadow - Incredible instrumental music, orchestra, violin, piano. I recommend you just sit back and listen.

I listen to a lot of meditation/ambient/chillout music which can help your mind, body and soul relax which leads to a better outcome when writing.

Music is a massive part of my life. I'm a bit of a hardcore emo kid if you will. Heavy rock and metal is my go to for when I feel the need to let go. Most people don't know it but when those men jump around on a stage and scream into a microphone they are exposing their deepest self. Their souls are laid bare within their words and their minds are just like any other writers. Their art is music and when they write it is as much as a part of the listener as it is them. A lot of my inspiration comes from lyrics and emotional guitars.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
J: Take this pen and this piece of paper.

How do you feel? Write it down. Write from the heart. Write about what's real.

P: Do you have a local Indie Bookstore we could approach for our ongoing feature?
J: I live five minutes from the Scottish Poetry Library in the centre of Edinburgh. It's such a niche little place and is full of wonderful poetry books by old and new authors. They have event nights which can see published writers and non-published writers come together to listen to spoken word or poetry. They hold evenings where you can speak to published authors about their work, classes on writing your own poetry. They sometimes have live music, free wine and local poets mic nights. At the moment they are getting ready to celebrate burns night where writers will come together to celebrate the works of Robert Burns.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?
J: I promote my work on twitter. @JayChimeraWrite
Peace and love. X

Awesome stuff, once again. Thanks to JayChimera for her answers. You know what happens now. Follow her, interact, like and all that business. Do YOU want to be featured? Do you want to find out about another Proser and wish to volunteer them? Then send us a message on info@theprose.com

#nonfiction  #news  #culture  #FF  #FridayFeature 
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Written by DaveBricker in portal Nonfiction

Publishing Scams and How they Work

Many self-publishers start their book projects with unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings about how publishing works. A huge industry has arisen to prey on writers who are unsure of the path. This article explains the basics of how publishing scams work and how writers can avoid them.

Publishers must learn the risks inherent to their business. If you fantasize you’ll earn your investment back as soon as you get on Oprah’s show, it’s not the supply chain’s job to pressure-test your assumptions.

“If I’m a painter and you want purple zebra stripes on your pink house, someone’s going to take your money; it might as well be me.”

Though that kind of business practice isn’t strictly unethical, it overlooks the fact that the most important thing publishing service providers can sell is guidance. Too many author service companies take advantage of the fact that it really is your responsibility to know what you’re getting into.

To understand where the bait-and-switch usually happens in publishing scams, it’s essential to understand how the bookseller’s economic pie gets sliced.

     Publishing: Editorial and Production Costs

Production costs are an essential aspect of bringing a well-made book to market. Every writer pays for quality in the short run or for shortcuts in the long run. Every publisher must pay for ink and paper, and (I hope) for editing and design. Editors and designers are part of the essential supply chain that results in ready-to-retail books. The professionals who make their living providing printing, cover design, editing, typesetting, and binding can quite reasonably be expected to earn a profit.

If these costs aren’t clearly stated, don’t pretend your “publisher” has some magical ability to “make them go away.” Anyone claiming to be your publisher—even a legitimate operator—expects to pay these bills. Knowing where that money comes from is important.

     Publishing: Distribution and Sales Costs

Additional costs include shipping, distribution, and seller commissions (which usually run half of cover price). These costs occur after your book is made available to the public and an order is placed.

Do you know what it costs to sell one copy of your book? Do the math. Subtract your editorial and production costs from what you have left after the seller’s commission is paid. If you don’t know what it costs to print, ship, and sell a book, you are not in control of your publishing business.

     The Publisher’s Cut

If you received an advance payment against royalties on your book, you most likely have a traditional publisher backing you. Publishers are investors who buy and sell intellectual property for profit. Your publisher thinks your book will sell and has paid for editing, design, marketing, printing, and distribution on top of your advance. Consider what an enormous risk that is if you’re an unknown author. Your publisher is gambling on making enough profit on book sales to cover your production costs and your advance—before they see a dime. It’s no wonder publishing contracts are so difficult to come by. Publishers certainly care that your book is good, but they mostly care whether your book will sell.

Many a traditionally published author has wondered why nothing came in after the initial advance. “I thought I was going to make $2 per book. I know you’ve sold books; where’s my money?” Very often, the book has sold but it hasn’t sold enough copies to cover the publisher’s investment.Your publisher is in business, too. After investing in you, they expect to recover their outlay before they skip merrily down the profit sharing road with you.

     Other Risks

If you’re selling books in traditional bookstores, returned books can bury you. If you distribute 3000 books and sell 1000, you can still lose money when you have to pay for 2000 unsold books to be returned or destroyed (tragic but cheaper than shipping them back and figuring out what to do with them).

     How Publishing Scams Work

Vanity publishing scams usually target first-time publishers. Most have a rough draft manuscript ready and have begun to ask questions about how to publish. They need editing, typesetting, design, and distribution. A web search soon brings them to xUniverseHouse who offers one-stop shopping for all the needed services and a distribution package. They offer a platinum plan, a gold plan, a silver plan, and a tin plan with services that fit any budget. You get to keep your copyright so the deal is “risk free.” When Penguin calls offering a big contract, you won’t be locked in to your deal with xUniverseHouse.

Most authors have heard all the bad doo doo about self-publishing. They want a “real” publisher and xUniverseHouse offers to assume that role. xUniverseHouse inflates the retail price and skims the cream back off every sale as a “publisher’s” royalty. Here’s where the red bullshit indicator light on your dashboard should be flashing. XUniverseHouse hasn’t invested a dime in your book. Why should it earn a royalty from it? If anything, xUniverseHouse has put you at a disadvantage by increasing your retail price (and by putting their kiss-of-death logo on your book’s spine). This is why “self-publishing companies” are oxymoronic: you’re either self-publishing or someone is publishing you. Paying someone to be your publisher is like hiring someone to take a vacation for you so you can stay home and work.

Here we find a useful definition for the term, “publisher.” A publisher is an entity that invests in and assumes the risks for producing and distributing a piece of media.

     Escaping the Trap

So maybe you “published” with xUniverseHouse before you read this article or had someone point out the typos in your book. Maybe you got an informed critique of the cover art and found out it’s formulaic or cliché. Probably, the work done by xUniverseHouse isn’t horrible; it just never got past “pretty good.” Maybe your book’s just too expensive?

No big deal. The contract says you can get out at any time. But the small print says the cover art and the typesetting and other digital assets belong to xUniverseHouse. As the publisher of record, xUniverseHouse also owns the ISBN number on your book. You can end your contract but you’ll have to start over with a Word document and find your own sources for design and distribution. After spending a lot of money, you’re back at square one.

You can republish but you’ll also have to compete with cheap, “used” copies of your original xUniverseHouse edition on Amazon.

And if you agreed to distribute 100 books to xUniverseHouse’s list of “qualified reviewers,” you can count on seeing dozens of fifty-cent “like new” copies of your book on eBay

     Co-Publishing

If a publisher wants to negotiate a deal where it splits the production costs with the author and then splits the royalties, co-publishing might qualify as one of the non-traditional publishing models that isn’t a scam, but I found a tiny handful of operators who appeared to be playing that game straight.

When entering into such a “partnership,” make sure that all the costs—production, distribution, and selling—are fully disclosed. Your publishing partner may be able to invest sweat equity or access outsourced services at a reduced cost, but you should understand the value of those services.

Install some quality control measures. What recourse do you have if you find typos in your book that your publisher’s editor missed? Do you retain the right to approve the cover design?

     Taking Control

Don’t fly your publishing plane with the visor down. Writing is an art but publishing is a business. If you intend to share your work, run some numbers and take control.

Start with a hypothetical cover price. Price is driven by the market, not by your costs. If other books in your genre sell for $20, you need to find a way to profitably bring your book to market for $20.

Subtract 50% for the seller commission (Lightning Source allows you to set seller commissions as low as 20% but don’t expect brick-and-mortar bookstores or non-traditional retailers to play along).

Do you know the cost to print, ship, and distribute a book? Reputable publishing services provide a cost calculator or at least a solid estimate.

Someone spent money on editing, cover design, and typesetting. If that someone is you, add up those costs and then amortize them over 100 books, 1000 books, 5000 books, etc. How many books do you have to sell before the production costs are paid and you can start taking a profit? You can’t know how many books you’ll sell but figure out where the break-even point is. If you have a traditional publisher, find out how many books the publisher needs to sell before the “production debt” is paid. This debt includes any advances against royalties paid to you when the deal was signed.

And though you may have thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing your book, if you’re seriously in the publishing business, you’ll want to see your writing hours paid for. You put 1000 hours or more into writing your manuscript but you’re the last link in the income chain. Know how many books you need to sell to start taking royalties and then know how many books you need to receive royalties for to compensate your publishing company’s “in-house writing staff.”

It’s easy to see why so many writers don’t pay attention to these details. Publishing cost analysis can be discouraging. Everyone downstream of the publisher generally risks nothing yet makes a bigger cut. Looking at books from a numbers perspective, could you find a worse retail product?

All the same, people like you are out there writing and marketing good books for profit. Though the odds are against them, some find receptive audiences. A few find fame and fortune, either through careful planning or dumb luck (or a bit of both).

     Publishing: Doing it Right

I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: Do your homework! If you have published a book but don’t know the publishing food chain basics described in this article, you’re swimming in shark-infested waters. This ain’t rocket surgery. Read up on the biz for a few hours.

Phony publishing companies aren’t risk-takers. They provide budget editorial and design services and then mark them up for a profit. You get less and pay the same prices you would pay a professional. Vanity publishers don’t get you bookstore distribution. Usually, the smokescreen is that they’ll get listed with Amazon.com and all the major bookstores. And after you’ve paid them to broker production services, you get to pay them a “publisher’s royalty” on every book you sell.

True self-publishers understand the risks and adjust their expectations accordingly. They invest in professional editors, typesetters, and designers and hold their contractors to the highest standards. They work with printers and distributors who offer straight talk about costs and profits, and they make their own decisions about prices, seller commissions, and return policies. Some make peanuts on book sales but are able to use the fact that they “wrote the book on the subject” to bring in consulting or contract work.

Make objective, fact-based decisions. Smart publishers aren’t concerned about what the rumor mill has to say about self-publishing or traditional publishing on today’s forum discussions. Self-publishing is ideal for certain authors in certain circumstances and traditional publishing is ideal for others. Prejudice, gossip, and ignorance contribute nothing to sound business choices. Choose your route carefully.

Above all, remember that you, your ideas, your time, and your work are valuable. Assume full control over all these assets before handing them over to any third party. Anyone sharing your publishing pie must absorb cost or mitigate risk if they are to be of any value to you.

Thousands of writers are snookered by publishing scams every year, mostly because they’re afraid and they want an “expert” to handle everything. If you use a traditional publisher, hire a lawyer to review your contract; it’s a small price to pay for protection when dealing with a big company. Otherwise, heed the old adage: if you want a job done right…

---

Dave Bricker is an editor, publishing consultant, and book designer who helps remarkable people tell remarkable stories. His popular blog about writing, publishing, and book design can be found at http://theworldsgreatestbook.com .

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Written by DaveBricker in portal Nonfiction
Publishing Scams and How they Work
Many self-publishers start their book projects with unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings about how publishing works. A huge industry has arisen to prey on writers who are unsure of the path. This article explains the basics of how publishing scams work and how writers can avoid them.

Publishers must learn the risks inherent to their business. If you fantasize you’ll earn your investment back as soon as you get on Oprah’s show, it’s not the supply chain’s job to pressure-test your assumptions.

“If I’m a painter and you want purple zebra stripes on your pink house, someone’s going to take your money; it might as well be me.”

Though that kind of business practice isn’t strictly unethical, it overlooks the fact that the most important thing publishing service providers can sell is guidance. Too many author service companies take advantage of the fact that it really is your responsibility to know what you’re getting into.

To understand where the bait-and-switch usually happens in publishing scams, it’s essential to understand how the bookseller’s economic pie gets sliced.

     Publishing: Editorial and Production Costs

Production costs are an essential aspect of bringing a well-made book to market. Every writer pays for quality in the short run or for shortcuts in the long run. Every publisher must pay for ink and paper, and (I hope) for editing and design. Editors and designers are part of the essential supply chain that results in ready-to-retail books. The professionals who make their living providing printing, cover design, editing, typesetting, and binding can quite reasonably be expected to earn a profit.

If these costs aren’t clearly stated, don’t pretend your “publisher” has some magical ability to “make them go away.” Anyone claiming to be your publisher—even a legitimate operator—expects to pay these bills. Knowing where that money comes from is important.

     Publishing: Distribution and Sales Costs

Additional costs include shipping, distribution, and seller commissions (which usually run half of cover price). These costs occur after your book is made available to the public and an order is placed.

Do you know what it costs to sell one copy of your book? Do the math. Subtract your editorial and production costs from what you have left after the seller’s commission is paid. If you don’t know what it costs to print, ship, and sell a book, you are not in control of your publishing business.

     The Publisher’s Cut

If you received an advance payment against royalties on your book, you most likely have a traditional publisher backing you. Publishers are investors who buy and sell intellectual property for profit. Your publisher thinks your book will sell and has paid for editing, design, marketing, printing, and distribution on top of your advance. Consider what an enormous risk that is if you’re an unknown author. Your publisher is gambling on making enough profit on book sales to cover your production costs and your advance—before they see a dime. It’s no wonder publishing contracts are so difficult to come by. Publishers certainly care that your book is good, but they mostly care whether your book will sell.

Many a traditionally published author has wondered why nothing came in after the initial advance. “I thought I was going to make $2 per book. I know you’ve sold books; where’s my money?” Very often, the book has sold but it hasn’t sold enough copies to cover the publisher’s investment.Your publisher is in business, too. After investing in you, they expect to recover their outlay before they skip merrily down the profit sharing road with you.

     Other Risks

If you’re selling books in traditional bookstores, returned books can bury you. If you distribute 3000 books and sell 1000, you can still lose money when you have to pay for 2000 unsold books to be returned or destroyed (tragic but cheaper than shipping them back and figuring out what to do with them).

     How Publishing Scams Work

Vanity publishing scams usually target first-time publishers. Most have a rough draft manuscript ready and have begun to ask questions about how to publish. They need editing, typesetting, design, and distribution. A web search soon brings them to xUniverseHouse who offers one-stop shopping for all the needed services and a distribution package. They offer a platinum plan, a gold plan, a silver plan, and a tin plan with services that fit any budget. You get to keep your copyright so the deal is “risk free.” When Penguin calls offering a big contract, you won’t be locked in to your deal with xUniverseHouse.

Most authors have heard all the bad doo doo about self-publishing. They want a “real” publisher and xUniverseHouse offers to assume that role. xUniverseHouse inflates the retail price and skims the cream back off every sale as a “publisher’s” royalty. Here’s where the red bullshit indicator light on your dashboard should be flashing. XUniverseHouse hasn’t invested a dime in your book. Why should it earn a royalty from it? If anything, xUniverseHouse has put you at a disadvantage by increasing your retail price (and by putting their kiss-of-death logo on your book’s spine). This is why “self-publishing companies” are oxymoronic: you’re either self-publishing or someone is publishing you. Paying someone to be your publisher is like hiring someone to take a vacation for you so you can stay home and work.

Here we find a useful definition for the term, “publisher.” A publisher is an entity that invests in and assumes the risks for producing and distributing a piece of media.

     Escaping the Trap

So maybe you “published” with xUniverseHouse before you read this article or had someone point out the typos in your book. Maybe you got an informed critique of the cover art and found out it’s formulaic or cliché. Probably, the work done by xUniverseHouse isn’t horrible; it just never got past “pretty good.” Maybe your book’s just too expensive?

No big deal. The contract says you can get out at any time. But the small print says the cover art and the typesetting and other digital assets belong to xUniverseHouse. As the publisher of record, xUniverseHouse also owns the ISBN number on your book. You can end your contract but you’ll have to start over with a Word document and find your own sources for design and distribution. After spending a lot of money, you’re back at square one.

You can republish but you’ll also have to compete with cheap, “used” copies of your original xUniverseHouse edition on Amazon.

And if you agreed to distribute 100 books to xUniverseHouse’s list of “qualified reviewers,” you can count on seeing dozens of fifty-cent “like new” copies of your book on eBay

     Co-Publishing

If a publisher wants to negotiate a deal where it splits the production costs with the author and then splits the royalties, co-publishing might qualify as one of the non-traditional publishing models that isn’t a scam, but I found a tiny handful of operators who appeared to be playing that game straight.

When entering into such a “partnership,” make sure that all the costs—production, distribution, and selling—are fully disclosed. Your publishing partner may be able to invest sweat equity or access outsourced services at a reduced cost, but you should understand the value of those services.

Install some quality control measures. What recourse do you have if you find typos in your book that your publisher’s editor missed? Do you retain the right to approve the cover design?

     Taking Control

Don’t fly your publishing plane with the visor down. Writing is an art but publishing is a business. If you intend to share your work, run some numbers and take control.

Start with a hypothetical cover price. Price is driven by the market, not by your costs. If other books in your genre sell for $20, you need to find a way to profitably bring your book to market for $20.

Subtract 50% for the seller commission (Lightning Source allows you to set seller commissions as low as 20% but don’t expect brick-and-mortar bookstores or non-traditional retailers to play along).

Do you know the cost to print, ship, and distribute a book? Reputable publishing services provide a cost calculator or at least a solid estimate.

Someone spent money on editing, cover design, and typesetting. If that someone is you, add up those costs and then amortize them over 100 books, 1000 books, 5000 books, etc. How many books do you have to sell before the production costs are paid and you can start taking a profit? You can’t know how many books you’ll sell but figure out where the break-even point is. If you have a traditional publisher, find out how many books the publisher needs to sell before the “production debt” is paid. This debt includes any advances against royalties paid to you when the deal was signed.

And though you may have thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing your book, if you’re seriously in the publishing business, you’ll want to see your writing hours paid for. You put 1000 hours or more into writing your manuscript but you’re the last link in the income chain. Know how many books you need to sell to start taking royalties and then know how many books you need to receive royalties for to compensate your publishing company’s “in-house writing staff.”

It’s easy to see why so many writers don’t pay attention to these details. Publishing cost analysis can be discouraging. Everyone downstream of the publisher generally risks nothing yet makes a bigger cut. Looking at books from a numbers perspective, could you find a worse retail product?

All the same, people like you are out there writing and marketing good books for profit. Though the odds are against them, some find receptive audiences. A few find fame and fortune, either through careful planning or dumb luck (or a bit of both).

     Publishing: Doing it Right

I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: Do your homework! If you have published a book but don’t know the publishing food chain basics described in this article, you’re swimming in shark-infested waters. This ain’t rocket surgery. Read up on the biz for a few hours.

Phony publishing companies aren’t risk-takers. They provide budget editorial and design services and then mark them up for a profit. You get less and pay the same prices you would pay a professional. Vanity publishers don’t get you bookstore distribution. Usually, the smokescreen is that they’ll get listed with Amazon.com and all the major bookstores. And after you’ve paid them to broker production services, you get to pay them a “publisher’s royalty” on every book you sell.

True self-publishers understand the risks and adjust their expectations accordingly. They invest in professional editors, typesetters, and designers and hold their contractors to the highest standards. They work with printers and distributors who offer straight talk about costs and profits, and they make their own decisions about prices, seller commissions, and return policies. Some make peanuts on book sales but are able to use the fact that they “wrote the book on the subject” to bring in consulting or contract work.

Make objective, fact-based decisions. Smart publishers aren’t concerned about what the rumor mill has to say about self-publishing or traditional publishing on today’s forum discussions. Self-publishing is ideal for certain authors in certain circumstances and traditional publishing is ideal for others. Prejudice, gossip, and ignorance contribute nothing to sound business choices. Choose your route carefully.

Above all, remember that you, your ideas, your time, and your work are valuable. Assume full control over all these assets before handing them over to any third party. Anyone sharing your publishing pie must absorb cost or mitigate risk if they are to be of any value to you.

Thousands of writers are snookered by publishing scams every year, mostly because they’re afraid and they want an “expert” to handle everything. If you use a traditional publisher, hire a lawyer to review your contract; it’s a small price to pay for protection when dealing with a big company. Otherwise, heed the old adage: if you want a job done right…

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Dave Bricker is an editor, publishing consultant, and book designer who helps remarkable people tell remarkable stories. His popular blog about writing, publishing, and book design can be found at http://theworldsgreatestbook.com .
#nonfiction  #publishing 
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Who are you, really?
Written by PaulDChambers in portal Nonfiction

full/filled.

I have forever been equally blessed and cursed in life

a man that has just begun to live, by rights, as he should

after a boy continued doggedly way past his sell-by date.

Playing now to the strengths I have, but before never would

after chasing dreams of those to whom I could not relate.

I was a drug user, an alcoholic, a sex addict, all party,

overly confident, positive and anesthetised continually.

Now I don’t smoke or do drugs, drink, drunk moderately

sex is with one person, at a time, all the time, sometimes.

Yet I struggle with the black dog that hid cowering behind

the excesses, suppressed stresses, perceived successes,

and those I impressed in and out of short dresses

a tally of feast, hedonistic pleasures gorged with aplomb

yet respectful, and smiling, enemy-less, number one.

I am still a boy, but wear the mask of a steady man

for the grey world, yet let inner child out when I can.

The nonfiction now fiction, what was real hewn now in words

The blips on my radar all worthy, too late to gaze past birds.

Hard working, harder dreaming; this meandering life has been full,

yet if I died today, in this time of solidity, it would still be cool.

37
12
15
Juice
226 reads
Donate coins to PaulDChambers.
Juice
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Who are you, really?
Written by PaulDChambers in portal Nonfiction
full/filled.
I have forever been equally blessed and cursed in life
a man that has just begun to live, by rights, as he should
after a boy continued doggedly way past his sell-by date.
Playing now to the strengths I have, but before never would
after chasing dreams of those to whom I could not relate.
I was a drug user, an alcoholic, a sex addict, all party,
overly confident, positive and anesthetised continually.
Now I don’t smoke or do drugs, drink, drunk moderately
sex is with one person, at a time, all the time, sometimes.
Yet I struggle with the black dog that hid cowering behind
the excesses, suppressed stresses, perceived successes,
and those I impressed in and out of short dresses
a tally of feast, hedonistic pleasures gorged with aplomb
yet respectful, and smiling, enemy-less, number one.
I am still a boy, but wear the mask of a steady man
for the grey world, yet let inner child out when I can.
The nonfiction now fiction, what was real hewn now in words
The blips on my radar all worthy, too late to gaze past birds.
Hard working, harder dreaming; this meandering life has been full,
yet if I died today, in this time of solidity, it would still be cool.


#nonfiction  #adventure  #education  #poetry  #philosophy 
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12
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