Hidden Words, Hidden Works

Hidden canyon5

Hidden canyon5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I’ve been trying to find homes for some of my writing, I’ve had to take into consideration which pieces I feel comfortable sharing.  There are some things, which may only ever be shared with select people in my life or may never see the light of day unless I was to die.  There are some things I’ve written that I know in my heart I want to share one day, but some time will probably have to pass first.

There is not much I hesitate to write about as I’ve spent too much of my life being quiet.  Too many days not speaking my mind and saying my peace.  Writing gives me the freedom to get things out, even if it’s not shared.  There are some things I’ve written, which I keep hidden so no one will find and read.

Even though I write about most things, there are still things I’m afraid to write about.  I don’t think it’s really the things themselves are scary, but rather I think it’s like Natalie Goldberg points out in her book Old Friend from Far Away : The Practice of Writing Memoir, we’re afraid of what others will think.  Most all of us have either secrets in our lives or things we hope for, but don’t want others to know.

In a section of her book I love she emphasizes, “You have a right to write it.  Throw it out, rip it up, swallow it down.  Build up a capacity to bear up–don’t let fear run your writing life.  Hide your notebook in a good place.”  In other words never let fear stop you from writing.  I like the freedom to be able to say and write things.  Write things even if you have to burn it after you wrote it or hide it.

Kind of a side track here, but wanted to share.  There are two other great resources I’ve found for finding homes for writing when you’re ready to share something.  Duotrope has market listings, response time stats, and you can even do a specific search to find the right place for a piece you’ve written.  NewPages.com has information on magazines, publishers, calls for submissions, writing contests, and many other useful things.

 

Thoughts on Books about Writing

Amazon Kindle DX Graphite displaying Pride and...

Amazon Kindle DX Graphite displaying Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I have mentioned before, I love bookstores and love to read!  This week I got a new book on my Kindle from Amazon and also picked up a new book at Barnes & Nobles in the mall on a trip with my daughter.  I have spent way too much time reading this week.

The book I put on my Kindle is Crafting the Personal Essay : A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction by Dinty W. Moore.  Actually saw it in the mall, but just wrote down the title for future reference.  Well, ended up deciding to get it sooner than later, so did the Kindle version.

The book was so good to me, I have already finished reading it.  It contains so much information on writing personal essays.  Many different types of essays are discussed : memoir, contemplative, spiritual, gastronomical, lyric, nature, travel, and humerous.  I found out there are way more types of essays than I even knew existed.  The author does a good job of providing personal, historical, and more modern examples of essays.  There are also plenty of ideas provided for writing exercises and prompts.

The author shares essays are in a way like poetry as you have the freedom to explore any subject without being forced into a certain mold.  As with other forms of writing, details are important.  Again I saw the recommendation I’ve read in other places of the importance of “show, don’t tell.”  Making a point to try to include the reader of your writing into the world you are sharing with them.

There is general information and recommendations in the book, which would be beneficial to any writer.  Things such as expect the first draft of anything to be bad, expect rejections, and write anything as long as you are writing if faced with writer’s block.  There are sections about blogging, writing groups, and preparing submissions as well.

Even the appendixes in this book are great.  They contained lists of essay examples, books about writing, and places in print as well as online that will accept personal essays.  Overall it was an easy to read book written in a friendly tone and the only sections I occasionally skipped over were if there was a rather lengthy essay example that was not catching my attention.  It is a book I plan on referring to again for pointers and ideas for writing essays.

The other book I got at the mall was Writing The Life Poetic :  An Invitation to Read & Write Poetry by Sage Cohen.  Besides writing essays, I have found a true love of poetry and enjoyed this book on my initial thumb through.  It has 80 short chapters and instead of reading it straight through as I do most books, I’ve started on chapter 56 and read about 10 chapters so far.  So far so good.  Has lots of examples of poetry, good information about writing poetry, and how to share your poetry with others.  I will try to share more once I finish reading it.