P / P Master Class Four: Open Up

Photo credit: Heart Chakra by Art by Adelaide

Editor’s Note: It took me four tries to write this P / P Master Class. This published piece is on the heels of writing a free writing session entitled, “Take Time (open up.).”

“Take Time (open up.),” was written after hearing the song, March 14. A song I didn’t notice at the end of the album, Scorpion. I thought the record ended with “Final Fantasy,” but I found it after digging into the album for some time. This is how you become a Master. You dig in and listen because anything that is well crafted will a) teach you how to craft your own work b) teach you to never underestimate art. I like the album “Father of Asahd” as well. 

When you dig into art and listen for days, weeks and months, your thinking becomes clearer, thoughts come to your mind, you’re reminded of memories and finally, you’re convinced because it’s ok to open up because someone was brave enough to do it before you ever had the notion to do so. You begin to attain the ability to tell the unadulterated truth of your vulnerability, your innocence and your heart.

This Master Class piece is about guts. You don’t always have to spill them but you’ve got to lay them on the table and bring them with you everywhere you go.

P / P Master Class Four: Open Up

Your most painful moments will eventually become your most fruitful writing processes.

Writing, creative work and working as an author is not just about how you craft sentences. It is about being able to be as transparent as possible. Being a writer is a solitary job. Yes, there are teams who write songs and textbooks, but for the most part, you’re on your own. You’re job is to do something alone. It is what it is. So, when you’re trying to write while going through a deeply painful or traumatic time in your life, you’re going to feel extremely lonely. Most writers like to be alone. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Being lonely and hurt can inspire your most vulnerable and valuable pieces of writing.

You’ve got to choose what you fill your mind with.

If you fill your mind with Bugs Bunny cartoons, you’re going to think like Bugs. I know that sounds silly, but some people love cartoons and that’s ok. I have to reiterate this simple concept because you cannot truly open up unless you live in a state of mind where you are modeling yourself after a lot of information, which in this case, would be artists who are honest, forthright and well-articulated. If you don’t, you’re going to eventually get clogged or what many would say, “blocked.” Continue reading

Advertisements

P / P Master Class Three: Affordable Hacks When Investing In Your Writing Career

Now that we’ve gotten passed lesson one and two which covered Time Management and Surviving Rejection, I still believe before we get to actively searching for jobs, pitching stories and writing proposals, it’s good to make sure we know how to make small investments in our home office and career to have the tools needed to have a stable foundation for your career.

I am pretty sure I have written that I usually work from my home office. I work also on site when I am teaching or in meetings. I also have some newsroom experience. But whether you are looking for a staff position or a sustainable full time freelance/contract career, an office is an office. It’s great to be organized where ever you are.

.je

Photo Source: Source: The Writing Cooperative

Make sure your office is mobile.

It’s a great idea to invest in a backpack, a decent laptop bag or large purse so you can carry your laptop and other tools in order to be able to write and take notes wherever you go. You can work or write on a train or plan while traveling at a coffee shop or in offsite meetings.

Building your home office and library.

Once again, whether you want to have a full time freelance writing career or a staff position, I can promise you, you will be getting emails and edits back from your employers and editors after regular work hours. My advice is to have a designated place for your books and desk so you can work on projects from home.

Why having a collection of books is the most important thing you need as a writer or creative person.

Reading is the basis of success to writing, point blank. There’s no way around it. Having non-fiction books on history, writing, biographies of successful people, best seller books on business book and marketing, books on topics of your personal interest and studies gives you an important set of references besides just using Google. I know we are in the digital age and you may find yourself working on more digital platforms, but writing and creative work will always be an intellectual, vulnerable, fast paced career. Continue reading

P / P Master Class Lesson Two: Commitment to Surviving Rejection

P / P Master Class is a series of writing advice for aspiring writers.

I know there are some writers that, from the outside, make their careers look easy. But attaining, and more importantly, maintaining a professional writing career, whether it be creative writing, nonfiction or journalism can take decades.

I personally began writing as soon as I learned how to write my letters and structure sentences, around the age of 5 or 6 years old. By the time I was 8, I was filling drugstore spiral notebooks with imaginative short stories. The stories ranged from innocent love stories, to fables to scary vampire tales. Once the internet became accessible to the public (1998 or so), I began blogging and building my own websites that functioned as glossily designed journals where I could digitally share my thoughts and youthful perspective of the world with anyone who wanted to connect with my writing.

Nonetheless, my writing career didn’t begin to gel and open professional doors until 2010 when I created a music blog called, TPR-Mag.com, which covered experimental, shoegaze and underground psych rock music from North America, Asia and Eastern and Western Europe.

Stroke of luck – you can network at any age.

In 2009, I moved into an old, refurbished loft building in Brooklyn, NY filled with dozens of young, ambitious, diverse people who were jump starting their creative arts, fashion design, performance and writing careers. We were a community and threw parties, spending as much time as we could together, bonding, making music and using our live/work spaces to craft and further whatever creative pursuits we were chasing at the time. It was a really fertile (and affordable) time in New York City. My neighbor, Isabela Raygoza (who has gone on to edit for MTV, Audible and is currently a regular writer for Rolling Stone), got a job as music editor for Remezcla.com, the largest English language Latin American culture website in the United States. Isa offered me a job as a writer and I jumped at the chance. Remezcla gave me a name for myself as a popular niche writer who covered underground music in Central and South America.

Respecting your paid opportunities.

When I created TPR-Mag.com (TPR was short for a small record label I started called The Process Records in 2008), I made sure I didn’t cover Latin American music on the blog because I wanted to respect my job at Remezcla. I know that seems like a very simple decision, but respecting the boundaries of your paid work opportunities is incredibly important. Continue reading