A “Best Practice” That Didn’t Work for Me

“It took me years to realize that someone else’s “best practices” were useless if I didn’t test them out and adjust them to my own style. Now I know better.”–Gabriela Pereira

Share a “best practice” that didn’t work for you.

Have you ever tried one of these “best practices”? How did it go? Did you make adjustments so the advice would suit your style? Most important: What did you learn about yourself as a writer from this process?

IMG_0981

A writing “best practice” I once read was: write every day. No matter what. Put your butt in the chair and type/write your book. I was NOT GOOD with this practice. If I wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t force myself. I didn’t want writing to feel like a chore. It should be fun. Being productive is fun, right? That “best practice” doesn’t really factor in personal lives. What if you’re sick? What if you have an unexpected visitor all week? What if you’re depressed? What if you’re tired from your full-time job?

Instead of thinking I have to write every day because an expert told me so, I dabble in my stories. To adjust, I write at least 15 minutes a day. It can be my actual story or notes for a story. This way there’s no pressure. I have good days where I can write at least 2,500 words, and there are some bad days where I don’t even break 100 words. My mindset–there’s always tomorrow.

I learned a lot about myself as a writer, regarding how I dealt with this “best practice.” I’m starting to think maybe I should step back as writing for a business and go back to writing as a hobby. I was probably much happier…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Advertisements

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.

IMG_0979

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

Book Review: Not Broken by Meka James

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

Calida Jokobi doesn’t see it that way. Surviving an abusive relationship with a sadistic, manipulative man changed her. She has spent the last two years carefully constructing her new persona with two goals in mind: to keep the remaining pieces of her heart safe and her deepest secrets buried. One man puts it all at risk.

Malcolm has been a part of Calida’s life for as long as she can remember. A friend. Her first teenage crush. Now he’s asking for something she swore she’d never give again: her heart.

Calida must decide if she should risk the fragile facade she’s created and give Malcolm the chance he’s asking for.

They say love can heal all wounds…

Malcolm Frankel wants to prove to Calida it’s true. She survived a hell most people couldn’t fathom. He’s been by her side fulfilling whatever role she needs him to play. All except the one he wants most. It took nearly losing her to make Malcolm realize he couldn’t keep denying his feelings.

He knows no one goes through an ordeal like that and comes out unscathed, but the closer they get, the more he learns just how deep Calida’s wounds go.

She’s the only woman he’s ever loved, and Malcolm is ready to put his own heart at risk for a chance at mending hers.

**This novel is a follow up to my debut book: Fiendish. I have constructed it so that it may work as a standalone for new readers.**

41X27pO9bfL._SY346_

I loved this romance novel. It switched between Calida’s first person point-of-view and Malcolm’s first person point-of-view. Calida was my favorite character because of her inner-strength. It took a lot out of her pretending she was normal in order to please her family and friends. I loved every scene of Calida opening up to her therapist. As a reader, it gave me relief that she’d make it.

Meka James provided great sexual tension throughout the book. Malcolm was a total gentleman, loving Calida but respecting her boundaries of not liking to be touched. But, oh boy, when Calida felt comfortable around Malcolm toward the middle, those sex scenes were sensual, explosive, and hot, hot, hot!!!

From beginning to end, the book had interesting conflict, inner-struggles, and lots and lots of drama. I shed a tear when Calida was drunk and finally revealed to Malcolm what her abusive husband did to her in the bathroom. I wanted to give Calida a hug throughout every scene.

My favorite lines: 1) This kiss held emotion, it held promise, it held hope. This kiss was a new beginning…Our beginning. 2) I didn’t want to go into the dark and empty place alone, but that was my only choice. 3) With each passing day, he looked more and more like Seth. He haunted me through our son. 4) “Calida, stop shutting me out. Please. I’m not the enemy. I promise you.” 5) How had I lost control? Did I ever really have control?

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

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?

IMG_0966

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?

IMG_0967

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?

IMG_0961

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

Book Review: Cushion by Tamela Miles

***I received a free copy voluntarily for an honest review***

Natalie Kliebert finally has the perfect life she spent years dreaming of. She’s on the fast track to her fantasy-come-true career as a therapist. If she can help pop star Billy Chambers, it will be her greatest achievement and even sweeter than earning an “A” grade.

The last thing Billy Chambers wants is anyone’s help, especially when he doesn’t see a single thing wrong with his life. When bossy Natalie becomes his court-appointed personal therapist, sparks fly from day one. Annoyance was never so arousing. Hooking up should be easy, but an undercurrent of evil is coming for Natalie, which may force her to reveal her deepest secret.

The problems of their pasts are no match for today’s demons. Natalie and Billy must come together and be the allies they were meant to be in a supernatural fight that may cost them their lives.

512X8MmrilL._SY346_

I really enjoyed this supernatural romance novella. Billy and Natalie’s third person point-of-views switched throughout the book. The beginning was pretty intense and grabbed my interest right away. She was pretty bad ass, and I loved every second of it. I’d speak on it more, but I don’t want to give away the plot twist in the middle of the book.

My favorite lines: 1) “Good God, ghosts are real.” His voice was soft with wonder. 2) She couldn’t draw in a breath as she trembled, fighting back bitter tears. 3) She stared blankly into space for long moments, her mind spinning. The scratches on her arm were probably her own doing, but the wall…

The author did a great job with dialogue. I loved Billy and Natalie’s back and forth. Their sexual tension showed in their body language. Plus, there was a STEAMY love making scene to make any reader blush (in a good way).

I wish there would have been more to the scene of Billy and Natalie fighting the bad guy, especially considering who the monster was, but I really liked the drama from the situation once Natalie finally told Billy the truth.

It was cool how the nickname Cushion tied into the title. I loved the main characters as well as the supporting characters, especially Billy’s mom.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby