Revisiting Old Favorites

Growing up I found inspiration in the books I read. I loved anything that could pull me out of reality and into a new, exciting world. I especially loved the book if it made me believe that magic, elves, and even secret castles could exist in this world. This stories stuck with me throughout childhood and into adulthood. They left me with a sense of wonder and curiosity that drove me to continue writing and researching and believing in the unbelievable. They’ve influenced almost everything I’ve written and chosen to read since. I owe a lot to the stories I read as a kid and to my parents for allowing me to read some stories that were deemed controversial for children at the time (cough, Harry Potter, cough).

I can remember picking up Lord of the Rings for the first time and trying as hard as I could to understand it, at about nine. I was still interested in other things, though, and I think this kept me distracted and unable to comprehend the story. I tried again at eleven and something must have just clicked because suddenly, it made all the sense in the world. I devoured these books. Tolkien’s stories became my life. I tried to teach myself Elvish, I could write Dwarfish, and I could recite poems and songs from the Halflings culture. My very best friend and I went by Merry and Pippin. I watched the movies every single weekend until I was burned out. I was deeply obsessed with this story, as many others are to this day. At 22, I finally got my first (and only, for now) tattoo of the one ring on my shoulder.

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This was fresh four years ago.

Now, at 26 I realize how important it is to revisit these old favorites when your think tank is running a little low. I have both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings by my bedside, allowing me to read and draw that old inspiration I ran on back then. It’s one thing to want to pull all imagination and inspiration from yourself, and I find that quite admirable, but I love when writers are able to create an homage to those that have inspired them over the years, those considered masters or have worked and studied for years to create masterpieces. I don’t really care that Lord of the Rings is extremely “mainstream” and I feel the same way about Harry Potter and how wild the fandom can get, I adore both stories and I feel they’re excellent sources of inspiration for myself. Everyone has stories like these.

Discussing those stories that you love, the ones that really get your fire roaring inside is a good way to find new stories that do the same. Talking about those books you loved as a kid can open new doors for writers and readers. I feel no shame in admitting I read a lot of YA literature now that I’m out of college and don’t have to read stuffy old white man bullshit anymore. I think the stories written for kids can be some of the most important, as they incite and foster that sense of self as a person and a writer for years to come.

So, break out your copies of Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Mortal Instruments, Glass, or any other work you read while in high school or middle school. There’s a reason they captivated you and inspired you. Sometimes it’s good to go back and find those reasons and maybe borrow them for yourself. Let that writer know how much their hard work means to you.

Or, just simply enjoy a story that brought you joy then, and still does now.

-Lauren

A little note on Thanksgiving

Hey, everyone. It’s Jonathan. While I haven’t been here quite as long as Lauren or Patrick, and I’ve been here just a little longer than Brittany, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are e x t r e m e l y thankful for all of you, our strange, weird, and new age writers and artists. For some, it may be your first time in a literary magazine, others may be in billions of them, but we appreciate you all the same. Our little corner of the literary and artistic world wouldn’t exist without your ideas and your work. I personally love reading through our social media and seeing the little community that has been developed with everyone, both our participants and the followers of their work.

Me with Takashi Murakami’s “Mr. Pointy”

This post isn’t necessarily just about that. This post is about the other things I’m thankful for in art. I was in Chicago over the weekend, visiting the Art Institute of Chicago museum (one of my favorite art museums). From art of the earliest civilizations, to contemporary work, you’re seeing history and opinion presented in a visual, tangible way. More importantly for artists and writers, you’re seeing years, decades, centuries of successes, progress, and failures. I’m thankful for everyone that paved the way before me, that carved a path with all these different media, to learn from, to study. Without their successes, and more importantly, their failures with the media, we’re able to learn from them to avoid making those same mistakes.

Ivan Albright, “Picture of Dorian Gray”

I’m thankful for the community of artists and writers that are connecting each day, both in person and through the internet, and the friendships and relationships that blossom as a result. I’m thankful for the creatives that hold you accountable, that give you criticism, feedback, and uplift you when you’re feeling uninspired or unconfident.

Francesco Buoneri, “The Resurrection”

I’m thankful for newer creatives who are experimenting, excited, and hungry to be creating and learning . You keep us inspired with fresh ideas, breaking from the mold, with a young, uninhibited passion for making your art. I’m thankful for all of the creatives who leave their day job to come home to create, to sacrifice their time, their sleep, and their energy to make the world a little more beautiful, weird, and strange. Your dedication and passion keeps this community as vibrant as it is, and I’m glad we’re able to be a small part of it. Thank you all.

Keep making things, and keep sharing it. Everything’s a little better with good art.

-Jonathan

Promoting Yourself Through Social Media

Today’s blog post is a topic near and dear to my heart: Social Media.

Let’s get started.

So you’re a writer, and you’re amazing, I’m sure, but no one will know until you get yourself out there. In our modern day and age, we have been blessed with social media, an underestimated tool that writers, companies, celebrities, and normal people use on a daily basis to reach others all over the world.

Some of the main social media sites include:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Tumblr

Snapchat

WordPress (more of a blogging site, but I’ll get to that)

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The first step is creating your image. You may already have these social media sites and now you have to decide if you want to use your personal accounts or make a professional account. There’s no right or wrong answer here as long as you 1.) represent yourself, and 2.) keep it professional, or keep your image consistent.

The benefit of creating a professional account is being able to separate from your personal life. For example, you could be having a bad night and you decide to impulse tweet about your ex or a co-worker. Do you want the public to view you in this light? Or you can also just put it all out there if you like. Some people appreciate the honesty and humanity of personal tweets from authors.

Facebook: Almost everyone has one and in my opinion, for business purposes, it’s becoming the least exciting. On the other hand, Facebook is very vital to your image. Think of it as a dating profile: You need to have an account so people can find you because honestly, that’s probably one of the first places they will look. Here, you need to put all your vital information, links to your other social media accounts and POST REGULARLY, even if it’s not getting as much traffic, post here just as often.

Twitter: My favorite social media! Back in the day, Twitter used to be a place for young people to post random one-liners and “sub-tweet” about others. Now, it is an amazing market for writers and journals, not to mention news outlets, businesses, and celebrities. The key here is to again, have a profile that represents yourself and to share and promote your work. Twitter allows you to share only limited text, so this is a good site to share articles, links and quotes of your work. It’s also an amazing and easy site to network with. You can follow, retweet, like, use hashtags and contribute to trending topics, which is a lot to get into, but easy to grasp once you start.

Instagram: Some writers and journals stray from here because this is a pictures only site. In my experience working with The Ginger Collect, I’ve found that there’s still room for lit mags on Instagram, in fact, it works similarly to Twitter with the hashtag game. This site just requires you to be a little more creative in sharing text, like creating an image with a quote from your work, or you can be more personal with it and still share photos of your everyday life. Again, people like personable people. Just remember to use your hashtags!

Tumblr: I do not use this site professionally, but I wanted to mention it because there is still a market in it. Tumblr is basically a blogging site to share and repost anything: text, pictures, links, GIF’s, videos, music. Whatever you’re promoting, you can always share it here too.

Snapchat: I am only mentioning this because it’s a very popular form of social media, but there’s really no use in it professionally for a writer. A lot of celebrities use it, but in my experience, it seems to be more of a personal interaction among friends.

Lastly, I am mentioning WordPress, not really as a social media site, but rather as a website. If you are a writer and you want to get yourself out there, you need to have a website. WordPress offers a free site that you can customize freely (or you can pay for a private domain). A personal website is important because it’s like a home base for fans. Here you can tell people more about yourself, link all of your social media sites, share to social media sites from here and if desired, run your own blog- which is another way to get yourself out there and connect with others.

Overall: Social media is vital to promoting yourself and getting your work out there for others to read. Be confident! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me or respond below.

-Brittany

Knowing your threshold

 

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This one is short and sweet. I’m reading Stephen King’s IT for reasons I’m still not sure. I think it is because I like his writing and I hate myself. Well, I mean I know I hate myself.

Moving on.

I pick large books curious to see how an author can continue to write after page twelve. Sadly, when I’m writing fiction, that’s the magic number where I either decide to keep going or throw what I’ve been working on in the trash and call it a day. Twelve pages, to some, is a whole lot of nothing, but to me, if I can’t seem to find the right fit at that number, then I know I’m finished.

Knowing your threshold is something that I think we should all be aware of. If you’re not sure if you have a threshold, go back and look at all the things that you have written but not finished (THAT’S EVERYTHING FOR ME) and see what page number you’re stopping. If it’s all over the place, average them out. Then you take that number and the next project you work on, when you get to that number, take a moment to see if this project is worth pursuing. This way, you can decide to keep going or stop.

We are here for a short while and many of us have a limited amount of time to spend working. I’ve been guilty of writing a hundred pages on a project realizing that it was going nowhere. And though you do learn something from those mistakes, I think having a threshold is healthy. That way we avoid getting bogged down, because that opens the door for a writer to hate themselves, and self-hate is the most destructive aspects that anyone can have.

Keep writing. Stay healthy. And if you’re ever drowning and need a hand, we’re here.