Hello there my lovelies! This week we're hosting guest blogger Lashun Williams! Her guide to self-discovery is an interesting read and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Lashun Williams is an African American writer of self-help, fantasy fiction, and romance novels. Her debut fantasy series, Element Princess, was published in 2013 under the pen name Jenaia Williams. She also published her short story Sea Comedies in DG Sentinel in 2022. Lashun’s upcoming works are co-creation projects with Healing Soul Collection.
You can find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenaiaW (FB Page)
And her book "Element Princess" is available on Amazon: https://a.co/d/bDOdoos
Thanks for reading my lovelies! I hope you enjoy Lashun's story and I'll be back next week!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Author: Lashun Williams
Title: Thirst For Self: A Writer's Journey to Self-Discovery
People learn how to write, but that doesn’t make everyone a “writer.” The skill to write is required for communication, no matter the language. But to be a writer, the person crafting stories, living and traveling within and between worlds, and merging with the story of your choosing, whether fantastical or personal and sentimental, is to become one with yourself through yourself.
My early writing career started before I even recognized it. I’d always written as a child. Crafting stories of my Bratz and My Scene characters seemed like second nature to me. My preteen years were filled with ideas of fanfiction and writing about some of my favorite shows, mainly animes. My first novel didn’t manifest until I was fourteen, and my first published work, not associated with the aforementioned novel, wasn’t published until I was eighteen. I adopted a realistic view of becoming a successful author, though I battled with the romanticized idea for the next ten years.
This writer’s journey introduced me to self-help and spiritual communities, where I studied the occult, metaphysics, multidimensional travel, soul recovery, spiritual alignment, akashic work, and everything under the sun. Why bring this up? Because it all led me here, where I can confidently write a post about the journey of a skilled and professional writer that is still mastering her craft. Through fully embracing being a “writer”, I cultivated a lifestyle that not only enhances my growth and self-understanding but provides a space to further expand and enhance myself, my community, and my readers. I learned many things throughout this time, so here are the top five things I learned as a writer and how my experiences can get you thinking about your own writer’s journey.
The 5 Teachers of Development as A Writer
1. Writer’s Block Doesn’t Make You Relatable
Almost every writer’s advice post mentions something called “Writer’s Block.” There is some debate about whether this problem is real or imaginary. I thought I had writer’s block for several years. Come to find out, I wasn’t suffering from a “block.” I was starved of joy.
The lack of joy, emotional support, and hope in the world, even fictional worlds that I wrote about, seemed lackluster and the words did not flow out of me the same way. I couldn’t push myself to write a paragraph a day or finish a chapter in a month. Writing prompts didn’t work well for me. Joining support groups only proved that I work best solo. Visiting new places for inspiration led to hours of watching funny videos and procrastinating on articles that I partially remember to this day.
I thought I could empathize with other writers since they experienced the same “blocks” as me. The reality is that my lack of joy, the repetitive patterns of depression, anxiety, and sadness, led to my writer’s downfall (an entire process that deserves a post in and of itself). Jeff Goins addresses some common causes of writer’s block, such as timing, perfectionism, and fear. Even though I did go through those ailments, they didn’t stop me from publishing my debut fantasy series.
If you suffer from “writer’s block” then I totally understand. The experience for any of us is harrowing and nerve-wracking. For this, I’d suggest looking at Jeff Goin’s article How to Overcome Writer’s Block. On the other hand, if ideas flow through you and you don’t experience this “block” then don’t try to relate to those that do. Empathy is a beautiful human trait, though so is people pleasing. Experience what you do and how you feel without guilt. You can offer support without needing to experience the exact thing as someone else. It’s best to identify what you’re going through and how you feel. Determine if you’re experiencing a “block” or if you’re congested and out of sorts, yet words are still present within you.
2. Remember Your “Why”
In January 2023, I committed to overcoming this downfall. This was not a New year’s Resolution. This was a dedication to myself that I intended to achieve by the end of the month. To truly live my ideal writer's lifestyle, I worked to get myself back. I dedicated the entire month to finding my reason for writing, my reason for being a writer. I figured this ten-year dedication to the craft must have meant something.
Near the end of January, I found a course by Rachel Giesel that changed my writer’s mindset. Within the course, I had to identify my “why.” Why am I writing? Why am I continuing to write? What is the purpose of this? Mark Manson wrote a hilariously insightful article called the 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose The article helped me not only identify my why, but it got me out of the ridiculous “life purpose” jargon that traps people, especially writers, in a bubble of self-gratification.
When I was a teenager, I remember thinking, “I was born to write. That’s the only reason I’m here.” Now, at 28, I strongly believe that I’m on this planet to write, and I’m here to enjoy myself, too. My “why” isn’t to impress God or become a deity to the writing community – though the latter would be fun to do. Discovering your why will shed some light on why your fingers touch the keyboard every day. Is it for enjoyment? To prove something to someone? To journal and reflect? Your truth is your find. So, find it.
3. Constant Courses Don’t Make You Productive
I semi-shamelessly admit that I took courses to feel productive. This didn’t happen on purpose. I signed up for writing workshops and courses with the genuine desire to improve myself, network, and surround myself with like-minded people. After a few years, and hundreds of dollars, I realized how unproductive I was and how selective I needed to be.
I followed the advice of several writers online: too many to name – so many articles. I also saw how many writer’s resources there are, and I ended up paralyzed by the number of choices. There are so many qualified writers and even more certified coaches. Getting advice, following their guidance, and being productive surely means I’m making progress, right? Nope. For me, it was a waste of time, energy, and money; and I floundered about trying to find the best coach for me.
Finding my “why” actually helped me filter through the thousands of choices that I had. I chose to follow my heart and ultimately, I learned that I work best with writing coaches, and I found one coach that resonates with my, my genre, and my target audience. I would not be this confident without this important step.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got to mix and match, stumble here and there to find the best fit for us. But sometimes, we just know. When we know ourselves well, we know who we need to work with and who we need to avoid. There will be courses, programs, and trainings that spark you then there are others that awaken you. This happened to me in February 2023, so who knows where my journey will lead me?
4. Find Your Writer’s DNA
Rachel Giesel’s The Real+Good Writer’s DNA is an online course where you learn your writer’s DNA, identifying how you work, what your writer’s voice is, and how you operate as a writer. I originally found her blog through Pinterest, of all places, and I simply couldn’t get enough of her content. The course is a $29 investment and worth every penny.
At the end of January, I found her article about the Writer’s DNA and found her course, however, I was not emotionally ready for it until the beginning of February. I flew through the course and isolated myself to my thoughts so that I could define what makes me, me. A writer’s DNA is unique to them, and finding your own spark and identity makes the difference as a writer. Granted, not every single writer knows their set DNA, but they do know their own patterns, their niches and cliches, their style and themes, and they can perfectly identify their favorite authors and why they’re an inspiration. Identifying your DNA opens the doorway for exploration, honesty, and loyalty to yourself. Ultimately, thus love and loyalty will be picked up by your beloved readers and they’ll thank you for finding yourself in your storm of choices.
From 2018 – 2021, I went through my pre-downfall. I itched for growth, for support and networks, and for expansion. I was stuck in a circle of met wants and desires through people pleasing and a form of isolation that centered around being in a 3-man group that led to nowhere. In addition, I wrote some new stories and started new projects, but I was hyper-focused on the outside world and lost myself in the process. I became an entirely different person without recognizing I was turning into Dr. Frankenstein. Everyone has moments similar to this one. That’s why it’s vital to discover what drives you and what your passions are. That way, if you experience a block or a downfall, you’ll be able to bounce back easier.
I praise Giesel’s course (link) (without sponsorship) because I absolutely adore this course. Not only did I remember my “why,” but I was also able to identify my How, How Long, my When, and Where. I answered questions that plagued my mind for years, and I saw myself as a successful, financially wealthy, and happy author. It’s possible. I can have my cake and eat it, too. Recognizing my DNA was a huge percentage of this success mindset.
5. The Pages Love You, Too
This may sound strange, but I fell in love with writing. Occasionally, I’d ask myself if being a writer was an identity that I had adopted onto myself, or if I was focused on one occupation because it made me comfortable. That’s not the case at all. I fell in love.
I love the way I feel when I use a big word in a sentence correctly, when I write a scene so well that I stun myself and want others to read it, when the once blank documents transform into written pages, whether technological or handwritten, and I adore researching new ways to write, and marveling at writers who might have mastered a particular writing form better than me. I fell in love with being a writer.
The thing is, the pages love you, too. They love when you fill them up and when you’ve written something down. Who cares if it’s crap and doesn’t make sense? You did it! Writing is so much more than a singular experience. Loving what to do and knowing why you do it enhances your love for the stories you create, and you grow as a person and as a writer, too.
Becoming a writer is so much more than having an idea, sticking to your imagination, and then “aspiring” all over the place. I discovered myself through a decade of anxiety, worthlessness, and fear that crippled the words sitting on my fingertips. My studies, both from college and from the internet, brought a whole new realm of perspective that I hadn’t thought about before: Solidarity. I met myself in the center of my soul and found the strength to recognize I am my best self. Now, I will be better with the accumulated wisdom of my own experiences.
Goins, Jeff. “How To Overcome Writer's Block: 14 Tricks That Work.” Jeff Goins, https://goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block-2/.
Manson, Mark. “7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose.” Mark Manson, https://markmanson.net/life-purpose.
Giesel-Grimm, Rachel. “The #1 Tip That FREED Me As A Writer: The Writer's DNA.” Rachel Giesel Grimm, 1 Feb. 2016, https://rachelgieselgrimm.com/blog/the-1-tip-that-freed-me-as-a-writer.
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