In the last four months, I have met many intelligent individuals, people who share the dream of becoming a writer. These men and women have lots of stories to tell. Sadly, however, they fear that there is no space for them to broadcast their voices. They worry about being categorized or isolated for being part of the minority group. They approach writing with hesitation, a little hopeless and defeated.
I identify with their pain and worry, but it also makes me sad. I know there’s space for their voices too, and those stories have the right to be told. These aspiring authors did not feel supported or had a conductive space to write without the fear of social judgment.
Which brings me to another question. How do we find safe and conductive spaces to write?
How do we write without letting the fear take over? How do we create a safe and conducive “writing space?” I’m not an expert on the subject, but here are some of the things I’ve learned as an amateur writer about writing (and a writer of color):
- Write for yourself.
- Don’t allow anyone else in the room (in your head). Write the story you want to read and forget about pleasing others for the time being. If you are passionate about a story, write it. There are people out there that will like your story too, and those are the people for whom you’re writing.
- Reach out!
- Find a group or workshop that makes you feel safe and respected. All writers should have a safe space to share their work, to learn, and to make mistakes. If you know what kind of book or genre(s), you love to write, then find a group that supports and respects your genre or style. There are so many out there!
- Aspiring romance writers might benefit from joining the Romance Writers Association.
- Participate in workshops.
- Share your work on Wattpad.com or FictionPress.com.
- Go on Twitter, follow and support other writers. If you identify as a member of a marginalized group, follow the #ownvoices and support writers like you. Read their books! It’s a great way to make friends.
- Identify your strengths and weakness as a writer.
- If you know your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, then you know the areas that you need to work extra hard on to get better. My biggest weakness is grammar (if you haven’t noticed) and my tendency for repetition of images. My strength is my persistence in becoming a writer and my ability to be descriptive when describing settings.
- Find supportive readers or “peer readers.”
- It has to be someone you trust and that makes you feel conformable. It’s a gift to have friends willing to read your work and give you constructive criticism. I have three friends who have proven to be exceptional peer readers. Two of them are writers, and one is an avid reader. They should be people who enjoy the genre. I have never gotten any judgment or discouragement from them, only encouragement and honest, constructive criticism.
- Let go of perfectionism.
- You are never going to finish writing anything if you’re waiting for your first chapter to be perfect. Perfection inhibits your potential as a writer, and it’s the biggest source of writers’ block. Write because you want to write, and write without the fear of making a fool of yourself. It’ll set you free.
Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts, and tell me about your habits or tactics to create a safe and conducive “writing space.”
P.S. I revised and moved this entry from my old wordpress account. I hope it was helpful. Thanks for reading!