Writing Experience: YAYWORLD

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Even writers find themselves taken away from writing of all sorts by busy schedules. Apologies for less posts shared this month.

Today, I’m going to talk about a content creation marketplace that you should check out not just for utilizing writing skills, but also making some money. It’s called YAYWORLD.

Launched in June 2017, YAYWORLD is a start-up content creation site where YOU write and share your opinions, hobbies, experiences, and so on. If you’ve visited my blog before, you might have noticed the “YAYWORLD Posts” page in my portfolio. Here, you find posts I’ve contributed to their site. When I recently remade my blog, I added a photo of a box containing my pens. Above the picture was a caption reading, “LET ME WRITE FOR YOU!” If you click on it, you’re led to my YAYWORLD profile and their website as a whole. This has become another way of promoting the site while also showcasing my work. I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experiences with YAYWORLD and letting people see other things I’m interested in outside of writing and music. We are all quite multi-faceted people.

So why should you check out YAYWORLD and what’s in it for me besides money? Well, you have a chance to give more attention to something you love, especially if it’s local! For example, let’s say there’s an independent bookstore I love visiting that I feel people in my home state of Massachusetts should check out. Besides writing about my experience with the employees or their inventory, I can take it a step further by getting the local business to sponsor me. I can propose to the bookstore about what writing about them will do for their business and give them another option for attracting the younger generation. We would then negotiate a reasonable fee for my work. I would have photos, some ideas, and more to craft a great post. Plus, with YAYWORLD having so many websites specifically linked to state, country, and city, I can narrow down my posts to a specific audience. For my metaphorical post, I would choose YAYMASSACHUSETTS or YAYBOSTON if the bookstore I visited was in the Boston area. Besides promoting what you can do, you are also giving businesses and franchises another opportunity for advertising and promotion.

But remember, your sponsor needs to register with YAYWORLD before you can go forward. Your posts are also NOT reviews. They are about sharing your experiences and talking about a business people should check out or consider. Your posts are also about the hobbies and interests you enjoy that you think deserve some more attention. With music posts, for example, I’ve written profiles about favorite artists; chronicling their careers, some of my favorite performances and so on. With travel, I talk about what stood out to me and how the trip made me feel. I also make sure to include images and videos that will draw people in. Having a post with just words is not enough to entice people to your sponsors or your work.

Plus, social media can be a viable asset for promotion of not just the business, but you too! Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more to reach a larger audience and generate interest in what you have to offer.

I regret that I haven’t done many posts lately…but maybe it’s because we all get scared sometimes. We have a lot to offer, but sharing opinions – especially on the Internet – can be frightening at times. Plus, you want to promote places or people that you care about, but you don’t know how they will respond until after you ask. My advice would be to give YAYWORLD a chance and take a deep breath, and let go of fears. Write to your heart’s desire and do what makes YOU happy. That’s what writing should be about. But you never know until you try.

To get started, just create one post and then you’re ready to go! For more information, check out yayworld.com.

Happy writing!


Taking the First Steps

Image: Leland Davis (freerangestock.com)

I apologize for no post last week. Personal things took up my time…and sometimes you don’t want to write. You want to give yourself some breathing time. I think a lot of us see change as a bad thing once in a while because we sometimes have to grow in order to move forward. We want to stay where we are because it’s safe and routine. We fear the unknown.

Because we like the idea of knowing what will happen so there are no surprises.

You might have noticed some changes to this blog: different featured image, color scheme changed, and so on. I’m still thinking of how else I can change this blog so it better represents ME and speaks to more writers. It was scary as this was the third time I was rearranging things. You don’t want to change things too much to alienate your audience, but at the same time you want things to represent your growth and changing perspective.

I have felt this change, a lot, in my writing lately. You may have read two recent posts from April regarding a sudden motivation to write again and opening up about my struggles to write a novel. These have been steps, for me. Being real about my failures as a writer, but also about the opportunity to change where my passion is headed. Since last week, I found myself going to my local library for research. I was suddenly struck with inspiration and wrote the ideas down in a notebook.

Another step reached.

I’m not sure where my current project is headed, but I like where it’s going so far. If you’re struggling to write again, remember to be patient with yourself and have faith. Take it one step at a time, and everything else will follow suit.

Happy writing!


Starting the Novel Over: My Story

Image: Pexels

One of my biggest writing goals since I was a teenager was publishing a book. I can imagine for my fellow writers, that has been yours too.

Last week, I talked about going through my notebooks, binder, and flash drive. In it, I came across MANY poems that I forgot about over the years. As I read through some of my works, I felt the passion I had when I was younger budding again. There are many reasons why a novel is never finished: writer’s block, fear, life getting in the way, and so on. Sometimes you even come up with multiple ideas for a story, but they never go further than that.

I got the idea for my first novel in 2015 while on vacation in Maine. Upon entering the cottage my family and I stayed at, my brain was buzzing with ideas. After two weeks, I had a notebook filled with fifteen pages of ideas, characters, scenes, and more. Now and then I touched the story, but my final year of college took priority over sitting down and writing.

Upon graduation, the job search also took priority. By November 2016, I was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and wrote over 26,000 words. But…nothing happened after that.

Image: Pixnio

I have felt like a failure as a writer. I even found myself questioning my passion. Maybe if I was passionate for something else, life would be easier, safer, better even. Maybe I was kidding myself all these years about my writing.

That’s why I had shared what I did last week about a friend commenting on how much I wrote. It felt like much-needed motivation, a revival of my passion after other things buried and burned it out. Also, my opportunity to review books for Hallmark Publishing has revived the desire to write again. Seeing their guidelines, reading the books that I have so far, and reading about a writer recently get her book published…awakened this drive I haven’t felt since before starting college.

I may not publish the book that I’ve started. The other ideas I’ve developed may never come to fruition. But, my writing isn’t dead.

It’s just starting over.

Writers, whatever may come, you will get that book out.

Happy writing!

Encouragement and Revisiting Influences

Image: Ramdlon (Pixabay)

I apologize for no post last week due to Easter and a busy week ahead of the holiday. I hope you all are well and writing to your heart’s content and reading great books!

…this week was interesting in terms of writing. One of the biggest things, I think, a writer needs once in a while is encouragement. Whether it’d be from a friend, family member, fellow writer, and so on. Another is realizing how much authors influence other authors.

In late February, I had received a comment from a friend that stayed with me since. The comment wasn’t about how beautiful, honest, or raw, etc etc my work was (writers, of course, do appreciate those compliments when we receive them). Instead, the comment referred to HOW MUCH I wrote.

Image: StockSnap (Pixabay)

I have felt discouraged as a writer because I don’t write every day like others do. I don’t have a set schedule even though I’ve struggled to make one for a few years now. I also get discouraged when people don’t think I’m writing because I don’t do it on a daily basis and comment on that to me. Just because a writer doesn’t write every day or on a schedule doesn’t mean they’re not a writer.

Earlier this week, that comment was on my mind again. So I went through my drawers looking for my binder and growing collection of notebooks. I also checked out my flash drive.  I was quite stunned by how much I found, some writings from as far back as high school that I forgot about. That discovery got me thinking, a lot. If I could write as much as I did before…what’s stopping me from writing that much, or even more, now?

Sometimes you receive encouragement when you least expect it. When it happens, hold on to it when the doubts come. I’d like to thank this friend for his comment about my work; I really needed it.

bronte statue
Image: Philip Halling (geograph.org.uk)

Another piece from this week involved revisiting a writing influence. I have admired and found writing influences throughout my life. But there was one–make that three–I had discovered in college: The Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne). If you’re a big Brontë fan like me, you’ve probably read Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, and so on. You may have also read their poems.  Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is currently on my to-read list.

I found myself revisiting how their works stirred my love for classic novels, particularly Victorian literature, and changed my role as a writer, by writing about them. When that post is complete, I’ll add it to my portfolio so you all can read it. That piece was my first time writing about an influence on literature and how I want to write my stories. As I wrote about the Brontës, I thought back to reading their novels and poetry. Later, I’d come across documentaries about them, a reimagining of Jane Eyre called Jane Steele, and books that imagined what their lives were like while also staying true to historical accounts.

I believe the Brontës are the reason I fell in love with more classic authors including Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and more. Plus, I have realized how much the Brontë sisters influenced many other writers to this day.

Take courage from people and writers, past and present. You never know when you’ll need it most.

Happy writing!

Writing Prompt: Spring

Image: Leland Davis (freerangestock.com)

Spring is almost here!! With a busy week ahead, I’m going to share a writing prompt to get you guys thinking about spring, and some much warmer weather. Last week, I shared with you all about my past adventures in writing showcases. One of the showcases was Spring Fling. Even though the theme was about connecting with people, I think the season of spring could also apply. You can check out my story for that showcase here!

Here’s the prompt:

  • Write a story around an object associated with spring (flowers, warmer temperatures, sunny days, rainy days, etc.)
  • What does the season of spring mean to you?
  • Write a love story that takes place during springtime.
  • Write whatever enters your mind about spring!

The word count should be between 500 and 1,000 words. Try writing for an hour if you can to start off.

Happy writing!

Writing Throwback: Participating in Writing Showcases

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Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

Having been blessed with so many amazing writing opportunities in the past couple of years, I feel it’s time to revisit a few of them. This week, I’m going to talk about Pen and Muse. I stumbled upon this writing website back in 2013 when their Twitter account showed up in my “Who To Follow” box. Curious, I followed them. At the time, I had a poem published in my community college’s literary magazine a year earlier and was looking for ways to build my writing connections.

Over time, I got to know the founders of the website, Jolene Haley and Kristen Jett, and began reading articles about the use of pen names for authors, publishing tips, and more! Soon, the website held Writing and Illustration Showcases for writers and artists to submit their own short stories and art. The stories centered on themes and holidays including Halloween, Christmas, and spring. Having the opportunity to participate in these showcases helped build credibility for my writing, try out short stories, and learn about writing great stories with a limited word count and set deadline. Routine was established, and so was taking time to edit and revise my work. If you want to check out my showcase stories, just go to the Portfolio and click on Short Stories.

Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

What I really appreciated about Pen and Muse’s showcases was the chance to show off my work. I’ve read articles over the years from magazines and websites that have debated the issue of submission fees for contests and submitting work, so it was nice for a website to give writers free exposure to their gifts and not having to worry about paying a fee.

In 2014, I had received an email revealing that the stories and illustrations from the Dark Carnival showcase in October 2013 were going to be put together in an anthology and published as an e-book! I was stunned. This would be my first publication for the masses. The e-book was later released through Amazon and Goodreads in November. Even though I wasn’t paid, I had my very first publication credit outside of a showcase. Plus, it did very well, reaching #1 on Amazon for the horror category, surpassing Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft!! Recently, the anthology was featured in an article on Bustle after the film version of Stephen King’s novel, It, was released.

Although the website is no longer active as of 2015, you can still access some of their past articles and stories from prior showcases. Now and then, I still keep in touch with Jolene and Kristen. Jolene is still writing, running blogs and a small publisher called Hocus Pocus & Co., while Kristen is running her own marketing business called Starlit Strategies and helping people find success. I am forever thankful to them for what they did with Pen and Muse and am so happy about their recent endeavors with writing and business!  Please lend them your support and check them out! If you go to their websites, you should be able to find them on their various social media accounts.

Happy writing!

A Soundtrack to Your Work: Writing to Music

Image: Chance Agrella (freerangestock.com)

I write this just as I hear the news that Icelandic composer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, has died. He composed music for films including Sicario, Prisoners, Arrival, and The Theory of Everything. I had the chance to watch The Theory of Everything in college and was mystified by the beautiful soundtrack. So hearing this news today shocked and saddened as I’m sure it has for many of his colleagues and fans. In tribute to a man gone too soon from this world and to focus on the idea of writing, I want to dedicate this post to music.

As a writer, I always found myself looking up music from movie soundtracks, particular composers, and more to help me get a feel for a scene I was writing. My creativity would be motivated by the music and sometimes even create ideas I never considered before! If I wrote in silence, I always found it harder to come up with anything even though I could hear my own thoughts better. Music took away those distracting thoughts and allowed me to focus on my work a lot better, too.

Music while writing first entered my life my first year of college during a Creative Writing for the Theatre course. My professor always started off our class by taking five minutes to free write. He had instrumental music play during the duration so we could focus on our writing. Some days we were given a specific prompt, others were up to us. I always found these free writes stimulating and our class discussions interesting because we all had our different styles of creativity. We also came up with some ideas we never considered and sometimes kept them for later use. As the semester went on, using music to write helped me produce scenes for my monologues and short plays, pieces I still hold on to to this day. Since that class, music while writing is a part of my process.

If you need ideas for composers to listen to, here’s a list of my favorites:

  • Hans Zimmer (he also has a MasterClass on Film Scoring)
  • Alan Menken
  • James Horner (RIP to him as well, he passed away in 2015 :'()
  • James Newton Howard
  • Craig Armstrong
  • A.R. Rahman
  • Two Steps from Hell (you might have heard many of their pieces in your favorite movie trailers)

To make your search easier, consider looking up playlists of the artist in question or looking up your favorite movie. Sometimes you have to play around with the music you hear until you find ones that fit your scene, or entire story, well. I know not everyone listens to music while writing, but if you’re someone who does, I hope the habit has been productive for you as it has for me!

Do you listen to music while writing? Who are some of your favorite composers? Feel free to share! Also, in honor of Jóhann Jóhannsson, please consider looking up his music online.

Happy writing!