Writing: Blissful Release

In today’s changing world, a break is needed therapy for most of us. As writers, we know the value of a bit of blissful detachment.

A brief disconnect can be a good thing for most of us. Put the phone away or keep it off for a few hours. Ignore social media for a day. Don’t watch any media for a day, real or fake. Aren’t we told that taking a hiatus from external stresses is good for both the mind and the soul? Not forever. Just long enough to re-connect with ourselves.

When we slow down, we tend to pay more attention to our own surroundings. Internal stress might travel with us, but an attentive mind may see the world at a calmer pace. This simple skill is a quintessential requirement for writers. We tend to be observant. We pay attention. In fact, silent observation often leads us to our craft. We see it. We experience it. Good or bad, we write it down.

Most of us will witness or experience hardships leading to various levels of internal stress from low to extreme throughout our lives, with or without media. The results have a way of weaving their way into an author’s work. A result our readers may appreciate.

In fact, writers dealing with stress is a common phenomenon. Click on stress in writing in your search bar and literally hundreds of results will appear. Suggestions range from journaling to relieve stress, writing prompts for stress management, and what causes writing anxiety.

Yes, I realize that last one can lead to even more stress. This is not a perfect field by any means, but most of us acknowledge that a page of utter junk causes us more satisfaction than staring at a blank page. At least that mess is out of our brains and may lead to a highly edited perfect pitch just waiting for the appropriate editor’s eyes.

Non-fiction is fairly ripe with all levels of external stress from politics to natural catastrophes, human crisis and wars. It also takes us to outer-space, honorable land mark events, and calm waters surrounding a barrier reef. Imagine a world where the lessons and horrors of past world wars went unprinted or the beauty of our serene but changing natural world escaped our libraries’ bookshelves.

The fiction writer is given much heavier license to ease or release stress into their stories. The very reason we write a novel may be based on stressful life occurrences. How many fictional stories begin with divorce, death, or separation from a loved one? Usually, the writing process takes over and the reader is eventually navigated through the characters’ challenges, consequences, and eventual outcomes from these huge life events. The ending may not always be a happy one, but the voyage occurred with some lessons learned for both writer and reader.

Beyond the motives external and internal stresses provide a writer, there are also logistical or linguistic areas to observe. We call it Lexical stress, or word stress. It is the emphasis placed on a given syllable in a word. Prosodic Stress or sentence stress takes us one step further, accentuating a certain word in a sentence by using italics. As in, I love writing about stress or I love writing about stress. The first puts all the pressure on me, but the second puts it on the emotion of love.

Maybe combine those two. “Love I” a little more. Treating ourselves as we would treat others or would wish to be treated. An old rule that should never go out of style, reversed or otherwise. Besides, a little kindness may go a long way towards reducing our anxiety
So, keep paying attention to the world around you. Good or bad, there is something of value to be learned. When it stresses you out, write about it. Feel the bliss.

Please remember that the South Carolina Writers Association offers many opportunities to learn, observe and take a break. Visit the SCWA website for more information regarding local chapters, The Quill (Newsletter), members’ published works, The Petigru Review, past blogs and much more. We hope to see many of you at the beach for the 2018 Pawleys Island Writers’ Conference next week.

 

Sue Cryer is a member of The SCWA Board of Directors and works as a Freelance Writer in Chapin, SC. She is a former Newspaper Correspondent and Feature News Writer.

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The Quill: Member News

If you’ve got news, send it to us and we’ll add it to the list!

Member Liz Gilmore Williams has a book signing and talk at the State Library on Nov. 8 about her book, No Ordinary Soldier: My Father’s Two Wars. See information about the event here:https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/4670820

COLUMBIA II

Bonnie Stanard’s two poems, “Bringing in the Cow” and “A Drought in the Shoes,” have been accepted for publication in County Lines: A Literary Journal 2019, an annual publication compiled by the Franklin County Arts Council Writers’ Guild. The Journal’s Launch Party will be held Nov. 29 at 7-9 PM at Vance Granville College, 8100 N. C. 56, Louisburg in building four. Upon publication, the 2019 issue of County Lines will be available on amazon.

SURFSIDE

Patty Wain Smith is pleased to announce that her book, A Letter to a Friend: The Story of Abuse in America, earned Finalist awards in the 2018 International Book Awards competition, in the categories of Best New Non-Fiction and Self-Help: Relationships.

GREENVILLE

Bob Strother’s third book in the Kindle to Be Fired series, Embers On the Wind, will be coming out in late October. He has scheduled a book launch at Fiction Addiction on Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 5:30-7:30.

Allen Guest’s poem “The Classroom of Great Currents” was accepted for publication by the online poetry journal Cathexis Northwest Press. AND, his poem “Friday Afternoon Requiem for Robert Zimmerman” from the Fall 2018 edition of The Esthetic Apostle has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

Toria Amarie Dale had two pieces place as semi-finalists in the Faulkner Wisdom Creative Writing Competition:  her YA Novel-in-Progress, entitled “Command,” and her poem, entitled “Strange.”

Also, Torie Amarie Dale announces the opening of her small press,V Press LC. They currently have two contests:  a Nonfiction Book Prize and a Chapbook Contest, In addition, they are open to submissions to an anthology.

She has been asked to teach “The Art of Writing the Sex Scene” for the Queens Alumni Professional Development weekend in October. She will also be part of a panel discussion on “Continuing Education: Alums offer their views on workshops, conferences, conventions, and residencies outside of the MFA program.”

CHARLESTON

Check out Matthew Foley’s Contribute Your Verse. He is currently teaching a writing workshop called 12 Weeks of Conscious Creativity. Check back in to see when his next series is.

ROCK HILL

Coming November 2018 from Yellow Wood Press: A Pocketwatch, Spray Paint, & Morphine is Kimberly Lynne’s quirky, soft science fiction debut fleshed out with Southern-flavored themes of kinship, tenacity, and the survive-at-all-costs spirit.

“A more enjoyable read than most survivalist literature… A kinder, gentler, post-apocalyptic novel.”

—Suanne Schafer, author A Different Kind of Fire

“A post-apocalyptic adventure with the smarts of Michael Crichton. An addictive read.”

—Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

“Author Kimberly Lynne writes about a mysterious world-altering event with incredible compassion in a compelling debut that explores the connections between strangers, and the power of hope. A Pocket Watch, Spray Paint, and Morphine is a novel brimming with humanity.”

—Hayley Stone, author of Machinations and Counterpart

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Whether the Weather Influences Our Writing

Does weather influence our writing? Most of us would agree that just about everything in the universe influences our writing, but weather could be the box most checked. Would Ahab’s confrontation with a whale have taken place if not for a typhoon? A sun streaked afternoon turning into a windswept evening can quickly change your character’s attitude, attire, or agenda.

Having just observed the ravages of Hurricane Florence, as it made landfall in North Carolina before making its way to South Carolina, we know a very serious human and environmental impact was made. If we did not experience it first hand, we were able to read about it. Continue reading

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The Quill: News from Surfside

Meet an alien from a planet whose inhabitants come in three sexes, a Maryland ship-owner smuggling slaves to the north in the years before the American Civil War, or a young man searching for butterflies who discovers the mysteries of Asia. Hear about a bigamous scoundrel in a small Pennsylvania town at the start of the nineteenth century, love letters between a young couple separated in the years before and during World War II sharing their lives in ink, and a strong, sassy woman finding modern day love and a medieval princess surviving in a male-dominated society. Those characters mingle in the air of our conversations when their creators and writers get together at SCWA Surfside Chapter meetings. Oh, and let’s not forget the spiders who slip through a portal in Maine to devour human prey.

The Surfside Chapter is one of many writers’ groups dotting the state within the South Carolina Writers Association. We are small in numbers at Surfside, but big in imagination. We have writers at all stages of their writing journeys working in a variety of genres. Short stories, we have them. Long family sagas, yes, we have them as well. Some of our authors create a series of books because their characters have too much to say and do to be constrained to just 80,000 words. We share stories of horror, fantasy, fiction, and non-fiction. We support each other as caring people as well as imaginative writers.

The Surfside chapter is preparing to launch a series of public presentations entitled “Everybody has a story.” We welcome new members wherever they are along their writer journey. Are you just getting started? We can help guide you—if you have that great novel in mind, or wish to write about family legends to share only with your children and grandchildren. Further along on that journey? We are supportive cheerleaders and can offer advice from those among us farther down our shared path.

Anyone in the greater Myrtle Beach area wanting to know more about this writer’s group and the benefits of joining us in Surfside, please contact me or check out our Facebook page. We usually meet the first and third Saturday of each month, 10 am at the Surfside Library, as the library’s schedule allows.

kmfdhc@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sswwsurfside/

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