I haven’t blogged in over a month. I decided to blog today even though I don’t really have anything to talk about. I like to blog when I actually have something to say or share. My life is pretty mundane and peaceful.
I’ve been reading a lot because I’m on a project that requires me to read several books. The fact that I was even offered the project is a huge honor. Initially, I couldn’t believe I was chosen. I really just wanted to do a good job. In the midst of completing this task, I’ve realized it is a lot of work. A lot of work for free. I’m kind of burned out.
I’m frustrated that this project is taking up so much time. I want to finish writing and publish a well written follow up novel to Descendants of Hagar. I can’t give Daughter of Zion the kind of attention it requires because I’ve got reading goals I’ve set for myself so I can keep up with this project. I am also trying to finish a poetry book. I am also doing tons of research. I am also earning income writing and editing on other projects. I work full time. I’ve started painting. Lot going on, doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in a day.
On top of all that, I’ve got to market. Marketing is a way of life once you seek to make a living with your art. You always have to be on, telling people what you do, trying to see if there is anyway others can benefit from your gifts. My life has gotten very interesting in that respect. I’ve met some cool people. I’ve found some artist I can barter with…
I started writing grants last year to finance my projects. I haven’t actually ever gotten funding, but it’s been good practice. I am starting to get a calendar together for writing grants.
I’ve always seen art as actions fueled by passion and impulse. Considering how I will live off my work long term or how I will fund projects has taught me to create schedules. Like I’m not free to edit anything else until around June 2015 and then I don’t think I’m going to take on any outside projects because I want to get my own projects completed.
I guess I could write about how my dream is very different from waking up and accomplishing it in reality. Things are a lot more calculated. I am grateful I learned patience before I got to this point. I am grateful I don’t take rejection or not winning grants as set backs. Whether I get a grant or not, the next step is still the same, I go write. Sure I want to receive funding but I don’t write for money I write because it is my calling and gift. So, not being funded doesn’t actually stop my progress. It could expedite some research but it wouldn’t stop anything.
Now I’m praying the people in my life won’t focus on external accomplishments or numbers. I don’t want my work to become about statistics or comparisons to other writers. I can only be as good as I can be and I’m constantly striving to be my best self not just in writing, poetry, performing or art. I want to be the best human being I can be. Which means I’m always looking for opportunities to grow or trying to find the lesson in every challenge.
My goal has never been to be better than any other writer or about competition in general. My goal has always been to be the best writer I can be and tell the best story I can tell based on what I know and I’ve learned. I am not just researching the time period for my historical novel, but also how to write better. I do writing exercises to see what techniques work for me or speak to me. I practice writing poems. I’ve started reciting and rehearsing for when I return to the stage.
A few nights ago I went to see Saul Williams and Suheir Hammad. It was a benefit reading for the legal costs of Ferguson protesters. It was a beautiful experience that reminded me of why I became a poet. For a moment I was at home again, within myself. It also reminded me that artists belong to the people and speak for the people. It motivated me to return to the poetry I first loved.
Being among poets reminded me that I needed to start seeking to be in poetry cyphers. For a long time, years ago I went to poetry readings more often than some people go to church. I hosted poetry readings. Poetry, good poetry was my religion. I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without being in someone’s cypher.
Maybe 2015 will be about me remembering who I am and being in that knowledge. I feel like I’ve been searching for home for years. I think, I am home.
I prayed the people in my life would start to value what I gave so much of my energy. On so many levels, people have changed their conversation with me and about me. No one is saying, well you could write at any time. Or trying to make me feel guilty because I am so busy. People actually ask me about how my writing is going and respect me as a writer. People are encouraging me instead of attempting to discourage me… It’s an amazing transition from just last year.
I am grateful I have some regular income from writing. I don’t make enough to live off of, yet. But I do receive regular income. Which is a huge step in accomplishing my dream. I often compare this time to others going to college. I pray it doesn’t take four years to get into a position anchored in art, or where I do some form of art to pay for my living. Still, I’m keeping my head down, doing the work and keep showing up to the page.
Recently, Facebook shifted. Some of the writing groups I’m a member of on the site started to show up in my feed. As a result, I began participating in several groups. Which by the way, if you are a writer it helps to network with other writers. I was reading and exchanging information more than I was writing. I am learning so much from the groups regarding publishing, web hosting, formatting and marketing. I don’t know how much time went by before I realized I wasn’t writing or researching.
I have a new phone. I had to send the one I got myself for Christmas back, I think before Christmas. This one works like a charm. Well, after a certain man in the hood worked his magic for a small fee. So I think I love it. I also like when I feel like I’ve got some little known information… I have a phone guy and a mechanic. Life is looking good. I might be becoming apart of this community.
Love Love Love