Kill Your Darlings

As a writer, I’m sure you’ve heard this before. We love killing things and people, (metaphorically of course) so why is it so hard for us to “kill our darlings?”

Easy – We are writers, which means we are lovers. We get attached easily, especially to the most beautiful string of words we think we’ve ever written in our lives. Are you like me? Do you tend to somehow insert real-life scenarios, thoughts, people, feelings, and whatnot into your writing, even if it’s not labeled nonfiction?

You may not, and that makes you a much better writer than me because that’s the exact issue about killing your darlings. It feels good to write out things. You want to share your passions with people who can relate, but that’s not where the best writing comes from, and we all know that.

When writing, it’s easy to get swept up in the process of it and forget why you’re writing. As much as we wish it were true, writing is not for us. Writing is for your readers. I struggle with this constantly. It’s important to remember that the title, “writer” also goes along with “entertainer.”

You are not the only person who is going to read your writing so stop writing it for yourself. Who or what are the darlings that you need to kill? Is it a long lost family member? Maybe a shitty ex-lover who will never read or ever read your writing anyways? Stop writing for them.

This is not to say, don’t use them as inspiration. Absolutely use people. We do it all the time. But don’t pour your heart out in a poem or memoir saying all the things you wish you could say to them.

Instead, maybe try writing a fiction piece about how you hired an evil spirit to haunt them and write from the perspective of the spirit, or even the person being haunted. Try writing outside your own perspective and see what happens.

Kill. Your. Darlings.

 

-Brittany

Music & Writing- the lover’s quarrel

There are two things I love in life– music, and writing. I love some other things, but those are irrelevant right now.

I’ve always felt what I would call a ‘lover’s quarrel’ in putting the two together though. Kind of opposite to loving, let’s say– wine and cheese because those are two very different substances and they actually go very well together.

Better analogy: Singing and dancing go well together– if you’re talented. They require different parts of the brain and body. Music and writing require different parts of the body too, but I would argue that they share the brain and maybe that’s why I have such a hard time with listening to music and writing.

I feel that I am both alone, and not alone on this topic.

According to an article by Mary Lee MacDonald, there is a lot of research on the topic and it includes a multitude of varying factors. One study done in 2001 by researchers S.E. Ransdell and L. Gilroy, found that “Background music significantly disrupted writing fluency.”

Another study in 2016 by Kristian Johnsen Haaberg found that students used music “as a tool during study situations to increase well-being and motivation, to isolate themselves in a personal ‘bubble’, and to avoid other temptations and feelings such as hunger or boredom.”

MacDonald’s article goes on to further explain variations such as the genre of music and volume. Then she conquers the question– does music help or hurt? In her case, she was able to find that at one point, a certain soundtrack did help her revisit a feeling or state of mind and helped to complete her prize-winning chapbook, The Rug Bazaar.

After this, she references an interview with Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita and Pale Fire, who was asked about writing and music. He said his ideal writing arrangement was “an absolutely soundproofed flat in New York, on a top floor—no feet walking above, no soft music anywhere.”

By the end of her article, she sides with silence: “I’m with him. To write from that true, deep place, we must coax ourselves into a state of deep meditation. We must make friends with silence.”

Then you have people like Stephen King who apparently jam out to metal music while writing, but let’s be honest-– at this point, after all the books he’s written, his brain is just a production factory of words that’s probably running on auto-pilot. But hey, whatever works, you know?

To pull my thoughts together– I think music can be helpful to writers when needing inspiration or brainstorming, or as MacDonald used it- to revisit a feeling or state of mind. But all-in-all, with whatever type of writing that you’re doing, creative or academic, I believe you will be much more focused, clear-minded and productive in silence.

-Brittany

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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