BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: You’re responsible for finding inspiration

“An ambitious writer looking for her next adventure,” I type into that big white textbox. I figure I might as well put some aspect of my personality, yet also something clever, into my application for Au Pair Paris. Don’t ask me to speak to you in French. It’s very minimal. In fact, I never took French in my middle school, high school, or undergraduate careers. I was convinced at the ripe age of twelve that I’d be richer if I knew Spanish — right and wrong. Given that in thirty years from now, minorities will become the majority, my near-fluent Spanish hasn’t lasted my transferring to a Rhode Island university.

It’s hard learning anyone’s language, really. But learning somebody’s background/backstory? Why they buy so much coffee? Why they drink so much? Why they’re so impatient? Those are things linguistics can’t teach you.

No, I am no longer considering being an au pair. No, I haven’t been writing as much with the exception of graduate school papers. It seems like I can never catch a break, yet it always feels like I have to write. It’s a little ironic considering I have a book to be published by January 2021. I’ve only ever published fiction once, and that was in And So Yeah magazine. And that’s the thing about magazine publishing — it’s fast-paced and people want new and novel ideas (no pun intended.)

This may or not be a struggle for me next semester as I am writing for Boston Globe Magazine next semester for a class — just a life update. Although, through various internships, I’ve learned how to pitch successfully. It’s harder to get out there than in usual circumstances (i.e. before COVID-19 started and btw there’s going to be a lockdown in Rhode Island starting Sunday, December 20th.) I remember going to artists’ shops in Newport over the Summer two years ago and to Cape Cod last year. I can’t do that until further notice.

But on the topic of writing, writer’s block has hit me harder than ever during the pandemic, and I’ve been struggling to write this book. Thank God I learned the word “curation” in college Aesthetics class (spoiler alert.) But what I’ve learned in terms of regaining that special “spark” is that inspiration isn’t something that you, if I may be so bold, “poop out.” Yes, I just said that. You have to find inspiration. That’s why I walk 1-2 miles every morning averaging at 3,000 steps (not that I’m obsessively checking my health app or anything 😅) I bought hot pink roses the other day at Stop&Shop, so yes, inspiration can cost $8.99 or more.

But with a vase full of roses, you do have to take of them, like you would do unto yourself.

With that being said, the other aspect of it is, and this is where I get real, here — you have to be sober and awake while doing it. You’re not going to get anything out of a bottle of wine. I used to say, “that’s where I get some of my best work!” No. You have a brain, so use it. You rely on yourself and you are responsible for getting that inspiration. Sometimes that does mean waking up at 4:00 in the morning, just to get some words down on paper. Ernest Hemingway would write every morning at 5 a.m. Ernest Hemingway was infamously not a sober individual, but he wrote some of the best essays, short stories, and novels in the history of literature. But nonetheless, you won’t get anything done if you’re drunk and/or tired.

There’s also nothing wrong with getting inspiration out of personal experience. Again, everyone has a story — something linguistics can’t teach you. There’s no shame in being vulnerable with your audience. I remember when I was first being published with the Odyssey Online, I was terrified, petrified, at best. But to be an artist takes not only curiosity but courage to proclaim your truth.

“This Is Not Going To Be Perfect. It’s Going To Be Powerful.”

Investing in yourself is not only important, but it can also be insanely expensive. This is the second paycheck I’ve gone through (almost completely) to follow my dreams. Yes, I actually have a job that’s not writing-related that actually pays me. No, I do not get paid to write, though I wish I did. I bet that was a shock to you folx.

Moreover, one of the things I invested in, ($179 a month to be exact) is a book-writing class. After getting out of our weekly ZOOM session today, I found myself in the midst of a conversation about the archangel of anxiety: perfection. I preached in a previous blog post, EMPOWER NOT TOWER: “Go big or go home?” Is it really worth sucking on bone marrow? , more or less that perfection isn’t worth losing yourself over.

I can’t help but wonder, why am I so afraid of judgment if I don’t strive to be perfect? The simple answer is: I get judged either way. I shouldn’t say “I,” I should say “we [get judged.]”

I’m the only one in that book writing class who’s still in her twenties. In fact, my twenties are just getting started with me venturing into grad school. What’s funny about that, is public transportation is completely foreign to me, as are some parts of Boston. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, as you all know, but my carefree years took place in small towns. I was completely oblivious to looking both ways before crossing the street. (My kindergarten teacher would not be proud.) In a similar way, I’ve become oblivious to having a plan set out for my book. I confessed today that the “sandwiching” doesn’t work for me. Again, as you all know, I’m like an ocean — choppy and free-flowing… and with a whole lot of depths to my story. So there.

There’s that string of poetry in Jessie J’s “Masterpiece,” those who mind don’t matter/those who matter don’t mind. I’ve lived by those lyrics since my senior year of high school. Those same lyrics apply to those who I am trying to help with my book. Essentially what I mean by that, is (and this goes for all of you future authors out there) your soon-to-be biggest fans/readers are not going to care if you’re some sort of grammar wizard. What they care about, is that you helped them. Take Danielle Bernstein for example. I saw many publishing errors throughout her book, but I still loved her story about how she became a household name in the fashion industry, and among influencers. Her book helped me build “The April Diaries'” baby sister, Candidly Worn. (Yes, I threw in a little self-promo.)

What we concluded with today was this phrase: “This [your story] is not going to be perfect. It’s going to be powerful.”

Every story is different, and you have one to tell!

The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose

I’m starting to realize why writing for a living can be tough. Often times, I denied that fact and thought I could do whatever it takes. But I’m not giving up, even though it really is hard and can make you feel a tad manic. I’m not trying to be an Ernest Hemingway, who was a quote-unquote “abusive alcoholic.” And yes, I just quoted “Ten Things I Hate About You.”

For those of you who don’t know, I recently published an eBook of poems. No, this is not a “self-promotion.” This is where I get real. Again, unfortunately, it may an eBook for the rest of its existence. It wasn’t the way I wanted it to come out, mostly because I was trying to self-publish with little to no money. In fact, I published it without spending a dime! I personally don’t know of any authors who self-published and were successful, except maybe Rupi Kaur (correct me if I’m wrong.) Self-publishing is hard! Really, it is. You know what’s harder? Making it as a writer. I’ve had trouble making it as a blogger!

Everyone knows the story of J.K. Rowling and how she got into writing. If you know me, you’d know that I am a sucker for literature and the authors that compile some of the greatest works of all time. I write this as I look at my unread copy of War and Peace sitting on my shelf along with Moby Dick and On the Origin of Species, all of which I am determined to read and conquer one day (or within multiple days.) Two summers ago, prior to starting my career at RWU, I read Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen excessively. Like myself, Hemingway was a budding journalist before realizing he wanted to write creatively.

I remember when I was still at SAC, my Spanish professor heard me quote Ernest Hemingway (in Spanish) and she strongly encouraged me to write for the campus newspaper. This was a week after I started this blog. Again, as I’m writing this, she’s not the only one who recognized my talent in writing. How am I just realizing this? I don’t know.

But Hemingway was more than an alcoholic, even though it was highlighted in some of the characters of his novels and short stories. But that’s the thing with us, writers. We build based off of personal experience, which may seem like it’s hard to write at times. Coming up with content, even for a blog, is hard. There are touchy subjects that need to be shared in order to empower. Hey, I think I just came up with my reason for #WhyIWrite. And that’s just the thing! You write for a reason, no matter if it’s sports journalism, technical writing, grant writing, travel writing, creative writing, etc. You write because you have a purpose on this planet. That’s the same concept of why people teach young minds, serve in the military, etc. — you have a purpose. Any profession is hard, but you’re doing great.