Fueling My Creativity

“Just like the ancient Greeks made pilgrimages to oracle temples so they could get guidance and wisdom from their gods, I visit my oracle whenever I feel the creative well going dry.”–Gabriela Pereira

What feeds your creativity?

Do you have an oracle? If not, treat yourself and start putting one together this week. Do you have a tool that helps feed your creativity? You could also talk about your inner critic, favorite writing prompts, or any other source where you find inspiration.

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I don’t have an oracle, but I plan on setting one up. I like the concept. For now, I have a mini-blue binder that I keep blogging, fiction, comics, and screenplay notes in. Each section is divided. I love using the Pinterest app, looking at images fuels my creativity. My favorite things to carry in my purse at all times–my book of observations and my notebook of plot/story ideas.

At Target the other day, I ended up buying 3 small sketchbooks (Moleskine in a pack) and 2 small notebooks. Somehow this will tie into my oracle. I just have to decide how. Right now, I’m not in the mood to do anything…the doctor said I have an upper respiratory infection and it’s kicking my butt! Please send ‘get well’ wishes my way. I need them 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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My Storytelling Superpower: I’m a Survivor

“The life of a writer is often fraught with rejection and criticism. There are too many people telling us what we shouldn’t do in our stories or what’s wrong with our work. This week is about taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate our strengths. I truly believe that understanding your strengths as a writer is crucial for improving your craft. This way you can play to your strengths and work on projects where your storytelling skills can truly shine.“–Gabriela Pereira

What’s your Storytelling Superpower?

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My storytelling superpower is: SURVIVOR.

I’ve got a penchant for characters who will do whatever it takes to survive. Maybe they’re stranded on a desert island, captured by an evil genius, or fighting to beat a terminal illness. Or maybe they want something so desperately that not getting it feels like a matter of life and death. Regardless of their situation, I’m drawn to creating characters my readers will admire for their pluck, determination, and sheer creative willpower.

That sounds exactly right! Take the quiz and share what’s your storytelling superpower.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Honoring My Reality

“Sometimes life requires your full attention and writing needs to move aside to make room. Other times writing is a space apart from reality, a safe haven where you can breathe freely and recharge, so you can face reality with a little more dignity or strength.”–Gabriela Pereira

Has there ever been a moment when writing felt completely incompatible with your real life–when it felt like there was just no way you could make the two exist together? If so, how did you get through that moment? How did you make room in your life for both things?

How did you find balance between writing and life?

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Last year I spent three nights, four days in the hospital. Before all of this, I had signed up for the 365 writing club, which started on January 1st. On New Year’s Eve, I spent the night alone in the hospital, but I didn’t mind. It gave me time to reflect.

On New Year’s Day, I vowed to get writing done. I couldn’t let my first day in the 365 writing club be a zero. I didn’t care if I was weak from a chicken broth only diet (man did I miss food!). I didn’t care if my left arm was hooked to an IV and I could barely move it. I didn’t care if my right arm and hand were sore from being pricked by needles every two hours. I was determined to get words written in my notebook, ugly handwriting or not.

I didn’t let my situation discourage me. I managed to write a script for a 5 page mini-comic. My first day of the 365 writing club WAS NOT a zero. I was finally released from the hospital on January 2nd around 1pm. I could finally eat real food, and trust me, when I say that I pigged out.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

How I Became a Writer

I’ve joined Gabriela Pereira’s DIY MFA’s month-long book club. I’m excited to meet new people and I’m looking forward to the prompts that will help me dig deep and understand myself better as a writer.

Prompt: How did you become a writer?

Writing is a superpower and every superhero has an origin story. What’s yours? When did you realize that you wanted to write? What motivated you to get started?

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As a kid, I drew way before I even knew what writing was. I read a lot of books, but I didn’t quite understand the process of how books were made. When I was eight, I started getting away from drawing sketches and began drawing paper dolls. I would make characters up in my head, draw them from head to toe in outfits showing their personality, then I would cut them out. I played with my paper dolls more than the toys my parents bought for me.

Before long, I found out when I recorded details about conversations my paper dolls had, feelings they felt during my playtime, then when it was time to play again, I could continue the previous session. From there, my jotted notes turned into paragraphs; my paragraphs turned into pages and pages of different scenes. My little child mind just didn’t know what it meant.

In the seventh grade, I took a creative writing class. Mrs. Kirby taught us different story elements and gave us writing assignments to help us tap into our creativity. I loved every second of it. I wrote short story after short story after short story, not losing momentum. From my class notes, I even taught myself how to draw and write better comics. I was always obsessed with mystery (who am I kidding–I still am!), so all of my comics involved kids in junior high forming a detective club for their friends in class and for the kids in the neighborhood.

In the twelfth grade, I took another creative writing class. This time from a published author. He pushed me to be better and told me one day he’d see my name in print. I always held onto that and figured I could definitely be a writer as an adult. In this class, we didn’t just focus on short stories. Our teacher also taught us how to write screenplays, poetry, personal essays, etc.

Growing up, my family thought I’d be a children’s book illustrator. I was always with a sketchbook and a box of colored pencils. It really threw them for a loop when I became an author instead. What can I say–I like keeping people on their toes 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Schedule

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month (even though WordPress will probably say it’s already Jan. 4th, I promise it’s only Jan. 3rd 7:25 pm EST). Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

January’s question–What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for writing and publishing?

I’m a pretty fast writer, being able to write a first draft within a month or two. My problem is that I’m a slow reviser. I plan on doing something about this in 2018.

Joining the 365 Writing Club 2018 on Facebook holds me accountable to writing at least 300 words a day, or 10 minutes a day. I plan on using my phone as an alarm (or stop watch) to set 1 hour every day to write. 2-3 hours if I’m editing. I think this will help me tremendously. Granted, I’m pretty realistic and don’t really think I’ll write every day, but I’ll try my best.

For every story I create, I’ll draw myself a mock book cover. This will be motivation to get it into print. If there’s a goal I can see tangibly, then it won’t just feel like a dream–a dream that I can stall with.

Instead of writing multiple drafts at once (and working on them in different stages), I plan on focusing on one story at a time. I’m going to see if this will help me with productivity. I’m always looking for writing buddies, someone to swap feedback with. I’m back on Absolute Write forums again, instead of just lurking. Hopefully, I’ll stay in the groove of helping other writers as critique partners and beta-readers. Maybe one day they’d like to pay it forward and help me back. If not, then at least I’ll feel good about helping them. Reading stories before they publish makes me feel like I’m in on a secret.

Hopefully, my new process will work. If not, then I’ll go back to the drawing board.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. I’m excited to see who made it into the IWSG Anthology!!!

2018 Writing Goals

HAPPY 2018!!!

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It’d be awesome to see readers holding my books 🙂

My 2018 Writing Goals:

  1. Try different promotional and marketing ideas to get my books in hands of readers. Instead of always blogging, I’m going to try YouTube and getting on podcasts too.
  2. Continue learning the craft of writing and learning the business side of self-publishing. Right now, I’m taking a free online course: AZ of Self-Publishing by bestselling horror author Iain Rob Wright. Trust me, when I say, I’m absorbing all of the information he’s willing to share.
  3. Utilize websites like Critique Circle more, plus join writer forums to meet authors looking for beta-readers and critique partners, so we can swap works-in-progress.
  4. Instead of working on multiple projects at once, I’m going to try a different approach of writing one story at a time. This way I can stay focused. I’m going to draw a mock cover of my work-in-progress as motivation to finish in a timely manner.
  5. If Createspace ever ceases to exist, then I’ll have to rethink my strategy with paperbacks. I love doing local book signings, but I may have to stop if there’s nothing affordable. Createspace allows author discounts. I’ll have to do research on other companies. As of know, KDP Print does not have author discounts.
  6. Submit short stories (I just finished a 52 week challenge of writing a story each week!) to magazines, anthologies, and online journals. I also hope to share more shorts with my newsletter subscribers and this blog.
  7. My biggest wish is to one day have a book of mine in a multi-author box set. I’ll have to research how other authors do this. And, I had so much fun working with Avrin Kelly on The Glass Witch. I’ll look into collaborating with other horror and suspense authors with stories.
  8. I joined the 365 Writing Club for 2018. This Facebook group keeps me motivated to write at least 15 minutes a day. In 2018, I’ll push myself to write at least an hour or an 1 1/2 hour each day. Much longer on the weekends. Wish me luck 🙂

For all the writers out there, what’s your goals for 2018?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–My Regrets for 2017

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

December’s question–As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

If I could backtrack in 2017, then the first time one of my books only had 1 KENP read on Amazon, I would’ve contacted KDP select help support. I let it go, and that dropped my rankings significantly on some of my books. Researching, it looks like many authors were having the same problem as me during those few months. Something about a glitch in the ‘page flip’ feature on kindle. My silence resulted in lost income, and a decent ranking on Amazon. Bad ranking=no visibility for readers to find your books.

I also would’ve never given up contacting bloggers for interviews and reviews for my books, especially Twisted Obsession. After a handful of no’s and non-responses, I got frustrated and quit. No promotion online=no visibility for readers to find your books. Trust me when I say I learned my lesson and am being proactive contacting bloggers for my new release Six Plus One.

If I could backtrack, then I wouldn’t have quit my Duotrope subscription. For the past year, my writing buddy and I have followed Ray Bradbury’s advice of write 1 short story every week for 52 weeks straight. We only have 4 stories left!!! I’m proud of us. If I was smart, I would’ve kept my Duotrope in order to search for online journals and magazines to submit to. I could’ve had a presence in the short story market…plus, I’d love to be in more anthologies. It seems like I’m always late to the party when it comes to finding out deadlines. Duotrope would keep me in the loop.

Those are my biggest regrets for 2017. Instead of viewing them as something to be upset about, I’ve grown and can admit I’ll do things differently in 2018. Lesson learned.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby