Sunday, May 17, 2015

"I Wish I Had The Courage To Publish My Book"

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." – Jack Canfield

The Washington Post ran a story about a Alexandria, Virginia resident, Nancy Belmont, who set up a large blackboard in her Del Ray neighborhood that she called a "Courage Wall." On top of the board was written: I WISH I HAD THE COURAGE TO. On each side of the board is a bucket of chalk for visitors to fill in the remaining part of the sentence with their hopes and aspirations. 

Nancy Belmont was recently interviewed on NBC's Today show and prior to the interview, she set up the Courage Board on the NBC plaza and allowed passersby to write what they wish they had the courage to do. Interestingly, in finishing the sentence I WISH I HAD THE COURAGE TO, one person wrote, PUBLISH MY BOOK.

Why do you need courage to publish a book? What's there to be afraid of?  It isn't hard, is it? It seems as if everyone is publishing a book these days, right? No. Many authors would love to see their manuscript in print but fear and trepidation comes upon them simply at the thought of going through the publishing process. 

While there are various reasons for this, one of the primary reasons why first-time authors are hesitant to publish their work is due to a fear of rejection. What first-time authors must realize is that not everyone will like their work, but that should not stop them from accomplishing their goal of publishing. 

While authors have their own personal reasons as to why they are afraid to publish their books, there are two main reasons that many first-time authors cite: 
1. Rejection. Rejection is part and parcel of the publishing process but authors must have the courage to believe in what they created. Whether it's rejection from a traditional publisher, family or friends, authors must face the fact that everyone will not like their work. While authors should take constructive criticism of their book, they should not use rejection as a reason not to publish their work.

2. Publishing costs. There is a variety of ways to publish: traditional print books, electronic books (also known as e-books, including Mobipocket e-books for smart phones and personal D assistants), and audio books. There are specific costs to each method of publishing, so first-time authors should determine which method will best their budget.

Admitting your fears to others, in this instance writing it on a public blackboard for all to see, is the first step in making a decision to publish your book. But the next step to take is having the courage to actually carry it out.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Mother Shares 82 Years of Living History In "A Collage of Family History"

What was it like during the Depression? What was it like during World War II? How did women cope? What made families so special in the 40s and 50s? Were there women ahead of their time? How did a divorced young mother cope in the early years, when this was not “common”? Etta Wilson Lawrence’s book, A Collage of Family History: Sharing the Memories answers these questions and more.
She shares eighty-two years of living history with her readers. She has worked in a wide range of jobs. Quite frankly, there is little she has not done and not seen. And there are those fond and funny moments when she would visit the farm and enjoy the butterflies or the family pig. Then, she shares her experiences as she traveled in the US and in the Caribbean. And what about that bull and outhouse?
Etta Wilson Lawrence introduces you to her family members and the stories behind each one: 
Granpaw, William Ervin, was called "Erv." He was about six feet, had lots of dark brown hair which often fell across his brow. His eyes were very blue and he loved to joke and tell stories, especially about his Moonshiner days...He was about eighteen when he married his schoolteacher, Mary Elizabeth "Bettie."
I never knew Granmaw's real name until I saw it in her personal Bible that Aunt Maude had until she died early in 1994. Aunt Maude was Margie's mother ... Granmaw Bettie was a tiny woman, about five feet tall with dark hair that she wore in a bun on the top of her head. She was full of life and her brown eyes would sparkle when she told some of her stories, many that we had heard before...
For an enjoyable read and a book that may inspire you to write about your own family history, check out A Collage of Family History: Sharing the Memories by Etta Wilson Laurence by clicking HERE

Saturday, May 9, 2015

32 Essential Asian-American Writers You Need To Be Reading

From BuzzFeed Books:

Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month by reading these 32 incredibly talented writers. For the purpose of this post, “Asian-American” refers to Americans (or those who identify as American) of any Asian descent. To read more, click HERE:

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cruising Through A Creative Writing Course

Cruises have specific destinations. So, do academic courses. Dr. C, a community college professor, decided to take a different approach to teaching her weekly creative writing course. For starters, Dr. C. used the metaphor of a cruise for her course which began in January. Instead of referring to herself as the "professor," Dr. C served as the captain of a "crew," which were members of her digital class. Dr. C's goal was to prepare her crew (students) to work on his or her own cruise line (improve their writing skills and complete the course). 

Each week, Dr. C documented her crew's adventures of trying new forms of writing in a blog (that can be read by clicking HERE). Prior to the cruise ship docking (the course ending), Dr. C published a collection of short stories, plays and poems for adults and children that were written by her crew members. Community College Students' Literary Collage is now available for purchase through MANA. Read a sample of the collection below. Not only are students benefiting from their experience, 70 percent of profits made from the sale of the collection will go the Humanities Division of the college.

Dr. C's Academic Creative Writing Cruise is an example for educators, teaching on any academic level, to take course and turn it into a creative experience for yourself and your students. And, having your students become published authors is a bonus. 

If you are an educator and would like more information about adding a new "twist" to your courses, Dr. C can be reached via MANA at purchase Community College Students' Literary Collage click HERE.