Eloquence In A Question #3

After an impromptu Q&A session at Instagram, there were a few questions that really stood out to me. Since this is the third installment of the series, feel free to jump back to the first and second.

Here’s how it works: Have a look at the question, read my answer, and then do one or both of the following: tell me your response to the same question, respond to my answer with thoughts of your own.

Question:

What made you come up with such beautiful poems and stories? Sometimes it’s like you’re sitting next to me, giving advice. (*Slightly paraphrased)

Answer:

Initially, I didn’t have much of a response other than gratitude and that I draw inspiration from everywhere. But then I saw a post by my friend Kindra here and felt I could elaborate appropriately.

Dealing with complex PTSD, constant anxiety, depression, and frequent migraines is like a living nightmare, but it’s worse when the people around me don’t understand what I’m going through. Oh, how many times have I heard, “You’re over reacting.”

Yes, I know my father is dead and won’t just show up in the middle of the night to prey on me like he did all those years when I was a child, but you know what? My body still thinks otherwise. Sometimes it’s hearing irrational thoughts: the worthlessness, failures, and over analyzing. But really, I’m battling years of learned behavior. Not even sleeping pills can convince my body that it’s okay to relax at night. Because, if I let down my guard for one second, if I’m not vigilant at all times, someone — no, some thing will get me.

Most people in my family didn’t fully grasp the severity of what I deal with until I was blindsided at a wedding reception in a restaurant’s wine room. A full on panic attack with tears and shaking hit me like a truck, and then finally they started to see how much something so small can end up pushing me over the edge. It was an eye opener for them.

Anxiety is no joke, and when you or someone you know is dealing with it, real support means everything. Which brings me to why I write, and why I give it away for free. So many people feel alone in their struggles. And they shouldn’t. Simple as that.

People feel as though I’m writing to them because they connect with my words on a level that, to them, feels very personal. And that’s because it is.

How about you?

Stay tuned for the next question.

Announcing – Mailbox Eulogies

The Mailbox Eulogies Newsletter has arrived!

**Edit: Today is the last day to sign up before the first poetry edition is sent out tomorrow (April 10th).**

You know that old saying, slow and steady wins the race?

It’s taken a few weeks to iron out the kinks and devise a plan to move forward with the newsletter I spoke about before. Considering the complicated nature of what I do and how I envisioned this to roll out, it was necessary to take things one step at a time. With luck, this approach will be enjoyable for everyone.

While between book projects, I’ve developed the proposed newsletter templates, sign ups, and all the fun things that need finalizing before the launch.

The day has come to release Mailbox Eulogies upon the world. I hope you’re just as excited for it as I am. If you’re anxious to sign up, feel free to jump to the bottom of this post or click here.

Here’s a rundown of what’s available:

Subscribers choose what they want to receive and can update their preferences at any time.

  • Everything (all listed below)
  • Important news, like book releases only.
  •  Poetry Newsletter
    • Updates
    • Curated Poems/Books
    • Poetry Advice Column
    • Poem & Prompt
    • Poet Interviews
    • Book Reviews
  • Fiction Newsletter:
    • Updates
    • Fiction Advice Column
    • Snippet from current WIP
    • Author interviews
    • Book Reviews
    • Cover Reveals
  • Depending on preferences, subscribers will receive an exclusive digital chapbook and/or an erotic romance short once they are ready to be released. Once they are released, new subscribers will receive them immediately.

What about the course?

I’m glad you asked! This is in the works right now. I’m hashing out the number of “days” required to cover each course: Online Presence, Plotting & Research, Writing, and Self-Publishing. This might take some time because I want to release courses for “registration” once they’re completed. So stay tuned on that.

MailerLite

Eloquence In A Question #2

This is the second of, hopefully, a series of insightful question/discussion posts. See the first here.

Here’s how it works: Have a look at the question, read my answer, and then do one or both of the following: tell me your response to the same question, respond to my answer with thoughts of your own.

Question:

If there comes a day when you don’t see tomorrow, what’s something that you hope to leave behind? What would your legacy be?

Answer:

When the day comes that I’m no longer here, I hope people, especially my family, will remember me. I will leave behind an amazing little boy that is wiser than his years, who has been empathetic since before he was born. I will leave behind a husband that adores his wife and does everything he can to help me and make me happy. In the end, what will truly remain of me — a part of my soul — will be left in my words. Every poem is a little piece of me. Every piece of fiction, every book, every narrative thought, came from my essence. No matter how fantastical the story, deep down, there are real problems to solve, real issues at stake, real thoughts, emotions and trials to face. These are all things I will leave behind in this world, and I hope they will continue to inspire others and give hope, where there otherwise may not be.

How about you?

Stay tuned for the next question.

Eloquence In A Question #1

This will be the first of, hopefully, a series of insightful question/discussion posts.

Here’s how it works: Have a look at the question, read my answer, and then do one or both of the following: tell me your response to the same question, respond to my answer with thoughts of your own.

Question:

How does it feel when your muse runs his fingers through your hair, resting his palms bare on your crown?

Answer:

My muse is androgynous, taking on the form of whatever is necessary to fulfill the task. But when it comes out, it’s a rather strange feeling. It’s like my thoughts cease and words begin to form in response to some form of stimulation (one or more of the five senses, sometimes including synaesthesia). When I’m writing my fiction, I transcend myself and become whoever it is I’m narrating. It’s freeing and relaxing, and it is definitely something that I cannot live without.

How about you?

Stay tuned for the next question.

To Do Or Not Too

How did you like that little play on words? Apparently, I can be clever at times.

Remember when I talked about newsletters? Well, I’m in the process of creating them and I’m almost ready to open up subscriptions. Yay! I’m back with another poll for you lovelies. If you’d rather not read my thoughts, feel free to jump to the bottom and answer my poll, I’d appreciate it.

I know it’s taking forever, but I’m juggling several projects at the same time while trying to deal with all my issues. The last thing I want is waste people’s time if they subscribe, so I’m trying to iron out as many kinks as possible before everything begins.

That brings me to the point of this post. Some authors like to give away exclusive freebies to subscribers. I thought perhaps I’d do the same, as a thanks for joining. But before I dive in head first, I wanted to test the waters, so to speak. Ask how everyone feels about it.

I mentioned before doing a divided newsletter where people can choose any combination of the following: updates, poetry-focused issues, and fiction-focused issues. Depending on what people set for their preferences, I can offer a small chapbook, and/or a short book. In terms of the book, I’m unsure about the final length, but I’m thinking novelette or novella, and the genre will be romance (no paranormal aspects like the Earthen Witch universe). If there’s no interest, I can set those projects aside and come back to them later.

So, tell me, my friends, would you like to receive exclusive freebies?

If you have reservations or alternative suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

Dealing With Offensive Writers

In the last article, I talked about reader dramatics. Now, I’m going to cover conflict among peers.

I know my choices are not what most would consider, let alone implement, but that’s okay. Writers can choose whatever path works for them. I hold no grudges towards anyone for their choices, just as I hope no one does for me. Sharing everything for free is what works for me.

But writers all share a commonality. Our online exposure helps us find readers. Unfortunately, one of the downsides is that we don’t always encourage and support one another.

The drama writers can stir up is worse than a high school filled with exploding PMS. It’s best to avoid them as much as possible, especially when friends are battling each other.

Pretending nothing is happening is the best course of action. But, every now and again, someone will try to pull others in on purpose. The key is to back out before they do any damage.

But then there’s strangers or people who are not at all who you thought they were. They could be feeling a wide array of emotions, such as jealousy at (or threatened by) what you do, angry they can’t do it, a belief that their talent is superior, or they’re somehow repulsed at your thinking, beliefs, or life choices.

Whatever the core reason, they’re miserable and feel like this behavior will somehow empower them, while belittling someone else. If I see it happening, or someone starts to bully me, I don’t engage. I block them.

But sometimes, I notice writers talking in general about how “some” will do something they feel is wrong or an insult to the craft. Unless they start mentioning people by name (especially if my name is dropped among the list, which, luckily, doesn’t happen often), I’ll treat it as though I never saw it. Engaging in a debate often results in a war between the writers, and any readers that want to jump in to defend their beloved author.

Generally, I follow my instincts and choose the best course of action. I won’t tolerate someone attacking or spamming people that I spent a long time and effort to earn as readers. And I will defend it to the best of my abilities.

So far, WordPress continues to be free from this type of behavior, but maybe I’m one of the few that hasn’t seen it.

Tell me about your experiences with this. Do you have any thoughts to add?

Let’s Talk About Bullies

As a writer who shares everything for free, online exposure is my main resource to find readers. And while being online does that, it also comes with a few downsides.

One aspect of that is reader dramatics: bullies and haters.

Why am I talking about this? Because you can’t please everyone. I aim to give people a little slice of life, but as much as I try to provide a wide range of topics, it happens.

What is a reader bully? These are the ones hiding behind their screens. These people are one or any combination of the following: they’re jealous at (or threatened by) what you do because they can’t, some memory or event was spawned by your words and they lash out, or they’re repulsed at your thinking, beliefs, or life choices and feel they must set you straight.

Extreme examples exist, but the ones I’ve faced tend to jab a little, hoping to stir some response. Then they pounce. Engaging them leads to insults with no basis in truth or reality. Unfortunately, they also know how to hurt you the most. At the first sign of trouble, whether they’re attacking me or a friend, I block them. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.

Haters aren’t much different from a bully, but they might approach things in a different way. Some are vindictive, but others express their dislike. If they’re civil, I’ll draw the line by thanking them for giving my words a chance and for sharing their honesty. It still stings, though.

For me, this group hasn’t yet ventured too far beyond social media into WordPress. I’m hopeful this will continue to be a positive and welcoming space.

So, tell me, what’s your experience in dealing with this?

Next time, I’m going to discuss peer dramatics — writers that take an offensive.

© Sarah Doughty

Chairs

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air (I know, cue the eye rolls). So, I thought I’d share some thoughts about how to appreciate your creative loved ones.

There’s a movie called Phenomenon with a very important message that I think everyone should know. It’s about love, winning the heart of the one you want, and keeping it.

In the movie, the object of the main character’s affection builds chairs. These things are built from twigs of varying sizes. No one buys them, except our hero. And he buys every single one she makes.

In simple terms, he wins her heart because he bought her chairs.

It is that simple.

She created something with her hands. Put her heart and soul into it.

And he bought them.

It didn’t matter if they were comfortable or aesthetically pleasing. They were hers.

People don’t realize how much appreciation matters to creative souls like ours.

If you love a writer, read their work. It’s their soul on those pages. Within those words. Appreciate their words and what they create with them.

If you love an artist, look at their pieces. See the colors they’ve used, the pictures they’ve created. Buy their art and cover your walls with them.

Regardless of their creative outlet, they’ve spent countless hours learning their passion.

Read them, see them, feel them.

Find out what they love. Buy those chairs. Appreciate them.

That will catch their attention.

And that will win their heart.

So, what’s your plan for this Valentine’s Day?

© Sarah Doughty

To Do Or Not To Do

That is the question, my lovelies.

I’ve been thinking a lot about newsletters. Many people love them, many don’t. Some writers swear by them, others don’t bother. Alas, as I’m a rather unique wordsmith, I thought I’d poll everyone to get a sense of things before I dive in head first. Read on for some of my thoughts, or skip to the bottom and do me a solid by answering the poll or leaving me a comment.

Right now, I’m thinking of doing a divided newsletter, where subscribers can choose which they receive depending on their preference, with the ability to update it at any time.

Here’s what’s on the docket:

  • Book releases and other important updates (for those of you that would want the bare minimum)
  • Alternating, bi-monthly newsletter:
    • Poetry-focused issue including personal updates; curated poems and books from friends across the web; a subscriber-only advice column, poem, and poetry prompt (one winner will be featured); early access to things like poet interviews, book reviews, and more.
    • Fiction- and Bookish-focused issue including personal updates; subscriber-only short advice column, a snippet from a current WIP, and Q&A; early access to things like author interviews, book reviews, cover reveals, and more.
  • I might even throw in an exclusive chapbook or short fiction piece for subscribers.

Remember that novel-writing column?

As some of you veterans might recall, I posted an in-depth advice column that included all the bells and whistles I’ve learned about novel writing. They were quite popular until I removed them, thinking perhaps I’d make an informative free e-book from the endeavor. That might still be the case, but I know aspiring novelists out there are crawling the web for information to help them complete their passion projects.

People could sign up for a separate email “course” that would be sent out on a regular basis covering each topic, and subscribers could follow along as they plot their books. Depending on the volume of responses, I might even be willing to offer personalized feedback, for free of course.

Drop me a comment if this is something you’d be interested in receiving.

On that note, polls away!

Looking Forward

So I’ve been thinking…

That’s a bad start to a post, but I don’t usually interrupt your regularly scheduled poems, or eulogies for things of this nature. Cue the shock faces. I know, right? I exist. Who knew?

Okay, enough shenanigans. I’m here to talk about some ideas bouncing around in my head. For you loyal readers out there, I’m curious what you think. Read on for my thoughts, or jump to the bottom and answer the poll.

Right now, every single day, you see a short, sweet little micropoem in your blogrolls and boom, you’re done until the next day. But this doesn’t spawn a whole lot of conversation. Sure, there’s a lot of compliments and thank yous, but those real conversations are pretty few and far between. I’m talking to people more on other blogs than on my own. That’s a problem.

So, in addition to those daily doses of eulogies, how would you feel about more content?

Say what?

Content. You know, a book review or an author interview. Maybe some actual thoughts I’m having about life, writing, or publishing — whether it’s poetry or fiction related, or anything else that catches my fancy. Let me break it down into one line:

Content that inspires conversation.

More information is coming on this later, but I’m also considering starting a newsletter.

Now, before you start backing away in caution, I’m not talking about blowing up your blogrolls with daily poems and a conversation piece — maybe just one or two a week to start. Then I’ll reassess.

Thoughts on this blog?

POLL IS NOW CLOSED