Kellie McGann “4 Reasons You Should Never Write Alone”

I totally agree with Kellie in this post. I was fortunate. The quarantine happened at the exact time I needed an editor. Then I had to get my book formatted & published, then I had to try to promote it in this atmosphere, BUT I can’t wait to get back to having my #WomenWrite meetings! ~ Sherrie (Details about my latest book are below Kelli’s article.)

Imagine the quintessential writer: introverted, glasses, coffee in hand, sitting alone at a small desk, while poking their fingers on a keyboard. Certainly, there’s no writers’ group here—it’s just one person, scribbling away in solitude.

Find Your Writers Group: 4 Reasons You Should Never Write Alone

We all have preconceived notions as to what being a writer looks like, but whatever your idea of a writer, I can bet that one trait is uniform across the board. You probably imagine your writer alone, the Stephen King type, secluded, perhaps in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Interestingly enough, being a writer alone is nearly impossible, and after being part of a writers’ group for almost a year, I’ve learned I could never do it alone.

Why You Shouldn’t Write Alone

Great writing is done in community, and besides having more great friends, there are four major benefits to not being a writer alone:

1. Free Proofreading and Editing

Editing is hard. Also, writers are terrible at editing our own pieces.

Regardless of how much you know about spelling, subject-verb agreement, or colons, all writers make mistakes. I’ve even seen errors in traditionally published books and articles, despite teams of editors.

Editors can be extremely expensive. Why spend all that money on an editor if you and a friend could just trade work? You’ll all get better at editing, and it’s free.

No one wants to publish a post or short story with the wrong “bear with me” or “bare with me,” because that could just be bad.

2. Emotional Support

There’s something about commiserating that feels so great.

It’s when someone has the same deadlines and you’re both feeling stuck, so you ask each other, “What word count are you at?” every five minutes. There’s a deep connection made through the pain of writing. Hopefully, your combined misery will turn to laughing, because you’ll have no other choice.

When you have no one to commiserate with, you also have no one to keep you accountable. We need someone to tell us we can do it, because we’re doing it together.

3. Gain Perspective

When you have friends that read your writing, they bring the perspective of the reader. As we write, and even read over our own work, we have author-brain. We’re never quite objective enough to catch all the problems.

When you write, you are familiar with you entire plot and storyline, but it’s easy forget that your reader is not. Having friends read your work reveals holes, inconsistencies, and confusion.

I have a friend who constantly writes controversial blog posts. I so often find myself saying, “Because I know who you are, I know what you’re trying to say, but what you’re writing isn’t what you mean. You sound harsh.” These conversations are invaluable for your writing and audience. Find someone who can give you this perspective before you publish.

4. Networking

A few months ago, I attended the Tribe conference, hosted by Jeff Goins. It was incredible, and if you weren’t there, you should be there next year.

At my table alone, I met a publisher, a writer for Copyblogger, a fantasy writer, and a couple who want to write a book.  While walking around I met a podcast producer, some Write Practice readers, and Pamela Hodges, one of the funniest writers ever (she writes for The Write Practice, too).

Don’t write alone. We all have different gifts. We all have something to give and receive from one another.

Imagine a team of people fighting for you to succeed. These are the people that are going to help you get jobs, further your business, and give you chances.

That’s what happens when we band together as writers, and push one another towards greatness with whatever we have to offer.“Invest in your writing by investing in the writers around you.Tweet thisTweet

Are You Ready to Stop Writing Alone?

The Write Practice is about improving our craft by practicing, and helping one another grow within a community of writers.

The heart of that community happens in Becoming Writer, our online writers’ group, where writers share their pieces every week and give each other feedback and encouragement. We’d love for you to join us!

And we love to build our community here on the blog, too. That’s why we invite you to share your writing in the comments every day—here, you can find your writing community and get the support you need to accomplish your goals.

As Hellen Keller says,““Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” —Helen KellerTweet thisTweet

Do you have a writers’ group? How do you connect with other writers? Let us know in the comments below.

PRACTICE

Are you feeling stuck? Now’s your chance to reach out with your writing challenges and get support.

Find a blog draft, a chapter you’re unsure of, or a piece you just feel needs help. Or, take fifteen minutes to write a new story about someone who really messed up cooking dinner. Share your writing, old or new, in the comments below.

Then, leave some edits, ideas, or encouragement for your fellow writers. Let’s all grow together!

Kellie McGannKellie McGann is the founder of Write a Better Book . She partners with leaders to help tell their stories in book form.

On the weekends, she writes poetry and prose.

She contributes to The Write Practice every other Wednesday.

“Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents. https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”
Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

“Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” Kindle Sale Extended! Read CIINO first, then SLIES!

“Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK

Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4

Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

Henri Jourdain Critiques My Novel “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans”!

Having grown-up in a working class background, Sherrie Miranda critically understands that experience, thus making it the background from which emerges Shelly. She is the main character of Miranda’s  last novel, Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans. There, we follow Shelly – freshly arrived in New Orleans from Rochester.  She has come with the prospect of being awarded a photographer’s post in civil war torn El Salvador. Another reason for the move is Shelley’s desire to distance herself from family and home. This new found freedom allows Shelly to discover new inner voices as her life unfolds on many fronts. This process will be present throughout the novel. We find coherence to these multiple selves as we further our reading.

The coveted award is not certain, our main character will be competing with other photographers – if successful, Shelly will direct her camera lens to witness the life of the people in the midst of El Salvador’s civil war.  At some point in the story we are made aware that in her study of photography, she learned how to achieve balance in a picture with positive and negative space. A definition of the latter concept helped this writer appreciate how its application educates the reading of the novel: 

Space, both positive and negative, ties your design together. The intelligent usage of space draws the eye away from focus on negative or positive, and instead uses both to tell a harmonious, coherent, complete — seamless — story.

Transposed to the novel, this insight applies to the characters as well as events – the negative space, together with the narrative – the positive space, produce a coherent story. Miranda, herself a photographer, rendered inherent all these elements in her novel.

The story would not be as enticing if the author’s expert knowledge of the circumstances she brings forth in the novel would not inform the reader with historical elements – the FBI and other secret services’  undermining of the revolutionary movements in Central America. During the 1980’s, the time during which these wars were fought, the US was training paramilitary groups in support of campaigns of terror exacted on the civilian population. These facts brought to the page as textbook lessons might have been tedious. However, Miranda weaves the necessary background details in and out of the dialogue and stirs the latter with such virtuosity, that it lends to the issues an immediate relevance and urgency. Not only does it add a formidable dynamic to the novel, it also keeps the reader on their toes. 

 The story engages the reader in a deconstruction of the events and their impact on her main character. Based on historical events, the novel’s narrative weaves in its fabric, documentary facts which impart the story with veracity and a legitimate socio/political reality. Historical facts invite the reader’s imagination to an analytical inquiry, which is not defused by the fantasy of fiction.

Sherrie Miranda’s talent is best illustrated with her mastery of the dialogue. Throughout the novel many voices converse, and sometimes confront each other, or themselves. The reader is allowed to enter Shelly’s mind, revealing her most intimate thoughts. Shelly never leaves us; she stays faithful to her readers as she never speaks to others without letting us know what she thinks. We grow intimate with her; becoming her confident.  As we pursue our reading we are made to listen to the subscript – her inner thoughts.

It is important to remark that Shelly does not address the reader as if making a confession. In keeping us so close, we become witnesses in her life. Early in the novel we learn of Shelly’s rape. The event as recalled by the protagonist is brought about devoid of gravity. The details coming through later on, reveal the violence of the assault; we are left to infer its consequential traumas. And if we do not, further scenes in the novel reveal the rage it has caused Shelly. A rage which fuels her uncompromising resistance to oppression. 

The rape happened, and nothing since then has been the same. A baggage, which together with many other unresolved issues, weighs since then more heavily, on the already anxious life prodding the character of Shelly. Its reference throughout the novel reveals the guilt, the shame, and the self-accusatory statements; none of those are an expression of Shelly’s inability to process “the rape,” her voice only amplifies that of a whole society in denial of its own responsibility. For Shelly this social mass includes her family. She remains the only one – in not abandoning herself, she keeps vigil over her own body. Thus awakened nights – unable to sleep. We come to be educated little at a time about the indelible marks it leaves on the victim. It’s a garment on Shelly’s skin – the one she should have worn or should not have worn; “I should have worn pants.” I didn’t wear a slip.

We, the readers, are at Shelly’s sides when she refuses to wear a skirt to better fit the image of a waitress – the men wear the pants.And we know; she was wearing a dress when she got raped. Though she blames herself for it, I shouldn’t have worn a dress, her consciousness has grown in knowing what the skirt portrays in the stereotype apparel making of a “girl.” Shelly’s reflections, those she addresses to the reader, buttress her self-awareness, and ours. 

However earlier in the novel, the reader is faced with a moral conundrum, Shelly doubles down in accusing herself. “I blame myself. But maybe it’s what I needed…. to get me to move my lazy ass out of this place.” Because we want to read the contrary, and the contrary might be what the author wanted us to read on our parkour through her novel. The agency Shelly has mustered to start this journey was a motivator to a new way of acting. The sequence is reversed. As in a literal revolution. Dreaming a path to a new life is what motivates Shelly to rebel and subvert authority. She will not give her authorization to the wearing of a skirt. Not a victim of forces beyond her control. Now bringing the force under her control. Miranda however is a writer – her pen is not didactic. No explanation is needed. The reader is given a free rein to draw their own perspective. 

Miranda brings to bear her experience in growing up, and the working class values she was bound to honor. Those are put to the test as Shelly affronts the hardship of looking for a job with resilience, and wisdom. She will not compromise her dignity, as she will mount a tremendous amount of resistance at the threat to the latter. She loses her job, ready to sacrifice her means of subsistence to save her pride. Her life so far has been tough, she might not have as yet worn their badge, but she is no debutante on that new stage as a revolutionary actor. Yet at times her working class background reveals a rigidity which righteousness puts her at odds with what she is made to hear. Victor with whom Shelly develops an ambiguous relationship at some point exclaims, “We, Central Americans are all liars, I am a liar” “the war, the poverty, and the repression, we have to lie. All the time.” Paradoxically, later on that evening she will find solace in the same roots, those attachments  between labor and land – her family history. She turns to what she learned at home remembering stories she heard from her dad, “…how his mom would tell “stories” to the bill collector” so they would not lose their farm.

What makes the novel stand apart from vulgar fiction is not only that the author’s experience which serves the rendering of a context with authenticity. But more profoundly, Shelly’s experiences feed a passion that the writer skillfully brings to the page. 

Shelly, the photographer, comments on events with the clarity of the camera. The narrative takes us at some point in the dark sordid waterholes of New Orleans where the villains are, this time, the long time settled in the US, immigrants victims of another period of colonialist rule on another continent. The bitterness of their struggle against the English in India, feeds their anger, which they only know how to deflect by exacting revenge. Thus enslaving the progeny of those who enslaved them. With those chapters, the novel takes a fantastic turn. A dystopian adventure which derails the balance of the novel up till then faithful to an immediately graspable realism.

Those chapters deliver a redemption of the main character who because she benefits from the privileges accorded to her white status, must “naturally” also pay for those with an act of glory. It’s a setback in the novel. Shelly is now cloaked in the myth of the White as a liberator of the enslaved. Was that necessary, we wonder. It relegates Shelly to another time, today a distant past; a period hero. She regresses in the role of the Good White who allied with the good police saves the White child from the claws of the evil black man.

Apart from the parenthesis created around that romantic hero, Shelly has been fierce in the use of her privilege as a shield — she is white and young. Her resistance to her boss insisted on her wearing a skirt. She will find another job. Her right out alliance with her neighbours; she hardly can afford the clothes she buys them, but she has more resources. At some point, Shelly uses her foreigner status as a camouflage. Thus pretending not to understand the soldiers’ harassing questions as she steps on the Salvadorian country soil.  She uses her privilege as an English speaker to subvert an illegitimate authority. She chooses not to understand their questions. They let her go. 

A strong point of Miranda’s writing is her acute focus on the language in translation. She leads interesting inquiries in the centrality of context in giving meaning to language. We are reminded of Paolo Freire who made the context the meaningful center of his theory of critical pedagogy, later on put to practice as the structure of literacy campaigns in Brazil, Nicaragua, etc. Miranda helps us in seeing that language is not neutral, but more so carries the meaning of a contextual reality. Language is not bound to a dictionary edited by the White Academy. In a conversation with Victor, she first uses the word “disappear” in the conventional dictionary definition, however she is quick to remind herself that the conflict of war has shaped the meaning of the word disappear, “I forgot that in Latin America, that word means people who the military pick up, and you never see them again.”Toward the end of the novel Shelley asks Keisha, her ex-student now a friend, “What is the worst to bear: Racism, Sexism or Poverty?” And for Keisha to answer, “I don’t know, because I am all three.” Keisha, does not hide but identifies those 3 spears in her identity, as black, a woman, and poor. In her novel, Miranda tackles the intersectionality of those social markers, focusing the lens of her camera on Shelly’s personal history which in no moments is let to die in oblivion. That history serves as the testimony of what has propelled Shelly to dream and shape her dedication to the revolution. Finding in herself a voice of resistance, and the power to subvert authority – thus discovering her own.

“Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK

Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too.  https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4

My radio interview: https://cloudcast.us/drew-schlosbergs-spotlight-on-the-community/author-provides-insight-into-1980s-new-orleans/

Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

When you finish reading CIINO, check out SLIES:

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador: http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y

Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch5chkAc

“Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” Kindle Version on Sale thru Dec.! Just 99 cents!

“Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK

Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4

My radio interview:https://cloudcast.us/drew-schlosbergs-spotlight-on-the-community/author-provides-insight-into-1980s-new-orleans/

Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

When you finish, you can also get SLIES for 99 cents!

Since my newest novel deals with the protagonist witnessing racism, I am sharing this opportunity to hear a discussion on writing about racism.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
6 to 7 PM EST / 3 to 4 PM PST

Recommended Reading senior editor Brandon Taylor talks to Ross Feeler about “Parisian Honeymoon,” a story about a man who discovers that his new wife is a bigot. They will discuss their editing process, and how to write anti-racist stories with racist characters without being morally didactic.

This event is presented by Penguin Random House

Brandon Taylor is the author of the acclaimed novel Real Life, which has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and been named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. The senior editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Lit Hub, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction.

Ross Feeler’s short stories have appeared in The Common, The Potomac Review, Story|Houston, Hypertext, New South, and others. In 2019, his novel-in-progress won the Marianne Russo Award from the Key West Literary Seminar. He reads fiction submissions and occasionally writes for The Masters Review. He lives in Central Texas, where he teaches English at Texas State University.

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y

Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch5chkAc

Watch for the prequel coming any time now! “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.

This Nonfiction Book Helped Me Write Scenes from My Novel! Sadly, this BS is still happening …

Please share my KS campaign: Publish “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans”

I’m doing the campaign for the publicity, not the money so I’d really appreciate if you’d share by clicking on the link below.

Thank you so much!

Sherrie Miranda – Author of Secrets & Lies in El Salvador

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sherriemiranda/publish-crimes-and-impunity-in-new-orleans?ref=project_build

Publish “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans”

The prequel to my debut novel called “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans; Shelly’s Journey Begins” takes place during the Reagan era.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sherriemiranda/publish-crimes-and-impunity-in-new-orleans?ref=project_build

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch5chkAc

‘The Hypocrisy of War’ – dedicated to All Veteran Soldiers

via ‘The Hypocrisy of War’ – dedicated to All Veteran Soldiers

I wrote this in 2015 but it is more important now than it was then.

 

National Guardsmen killed four college students in Ohio in 1970 How Kent State Shootings Changed Protests Forever By Nina Bahadur

Image may contain Funeral Human Person Crowd and Derek Trucks

HOWARD RUFFNER/GETTY IMAGES

On this day 47 years ago at Kent State University in Ohio, four students were killed and nine others wounded when armed members of the National Guard opened fire on a crowd of protestors. The students had organized to protest President Richard Nixon’s announcement that the U.S. would invade Cambodia as part of the Vietnam War.

Decades have passed, but we are still protesting the deaths of unarmed innocents at the hands of armed policemen, like the deaths of Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, and Jordan Edwards. And law enforcement officers are still using unnecessary force on peacefully protesting crowds, as when police reportedly used tear gas and water cannons on Dakota Access Pipeline protestors standing in subzero temperatures. Oh, and Republican lawmakers have called for legislation that could criminalize peaceful protesting.

The Kent State shootings caused further protests nationwide, inspiring many young people to get involved in activism. The incident became a benchmark in American history that brought young people to action and launched a generation into activism. Here are a few things you should know about the incident.

Protests had been going on for a few days.

A chronology of the week’s events from the Kent State University library details the confusion both on campus and in the city of Kent just before the incident. President Nixon made his announcement about the “Cambodian Incursion” on April 30. Students rallied on May 1 and planned another rally for May 4. The evening of May 1, vandals damaged buildings in town, breaking windows. According to the [library chronology], the mayor of Kent “heard rumors of a radical plot, declared a state of emergency, and telephoned the governor in Columbus for assistance.” Bars were closed, and those in the street were tear-gassed by riot police. On May 2, the mayor made the decision to call in the National Guard after hearing about threats to local businesses and rumors of radical protestors trying to destroy the city. That evening, there was a large demonstration happening on campus, and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) building was set on fire. Another demonstration on campus occurred on May 3, where tear gas was fired. And the protesting continued on May 4, resulting in deadly violence.

It’s not totally clear why the guardsmen opened fire in the first place.

The students protesting were unarmed, but 28 guardsmen opened fire on the crowd. They fired between 61 and 67 shots in just 13 seconds.

Two of the students killed were protesting, and two were bystanders who were walking from one class to the next.

The victims were all white. They were Jeffrey Miller and Sandra Scheuer, both 20, and Allison Krause and William Schroeder, both 19.

The shootings caused even more protests.

NPR reported that colleges and universities across the U.S. were forced to close when the shootings triggered a nationwide student strike. Historians estimate that about 4 million students went on strike, causing 800 institutions to close.

And tragically, students at another university were shot and killed just days later.

On May 15, 1970, police confronted a group of African-American students protesting at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University) in Jackson, Mississippi. Apparently, students had been throwing rocks at white motorists driving through campus, and tension heightened when a false rumor spread that a local politician and civil rights activist, Charles Evers, had been killed. Police fired more than 150 rounds into the crowd, killing 21-year-old Phillip Gibbs and 17-year-old James Earl Green. Twelve other students were injured.

People credit the Kent State shootings with waking them up, in the same way police violence sparks protests and rallies today.

“Up until that incident, I had been a pretty conventional young person,” one woman told NPR. “I was 20. But when I saw my government killing innocent students who were just walking to class, I was radicalized, totally radicalized. From that day forward, I began to immerse myself in national and international news and politics and have never since allowed myself to be so ignorant of what’s going on as I was before that day.”

Related: College Students Are Totally in Favor of Free Speech With One Exception

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador: 
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

COVID: Jokes about the ironies of an elongated epidemic

 


Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador: 
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too: