Writing

How an Instagram Challenge Improved My Writing Life

The battle proved long but victorious.

She Writes Press came up with a challenge for writers at the end of April and I thought, ‘why not.’ This seemed to be an easy way to post on social media and see what other people experienced in their writing life.

Scanning my feed on Instagram is quick because I don’t follow a bunch of people, after weeding out those men who post 101 selfie pics. Some guys use Instagram and FaceBook like online dating sites. Not interested.

But back to the topic and the 31-Day Challenge:

WhySheWrites Challenge

The questions lent themselves to introspection, figuring out how to show an answer, and exposing some of the more challenging parts of the writing life.

Here are a few of my Instagram responses.

Share the reason you write:

Growing up, I didn’t read any books with Latina characters who reflected my experiences until I was in college. Those books were few and far between, written mostly by men.

So when I began recording my words (about ten years ago), I found myself writing about loss, abandonment, and other challenges encountered by women and girls to amplify their strength and resilience. In doing so, I increased my own.

 

Why I write? alvaradofrazier.com

Share a photo of your writing space:

My grand-kitty Heidi Ho lets me know when she thinks I’m staying too long at my laptop. She has a routine: jump on my chair, leap to my desk, and if I’m still typing she wedges herself behind my computer where she glares and meows until I shut it and pay attention to her; which means taking her outside in the garden to stalk lizards.

She helps me balance my writing day.

 

Share your writing space.

 

What is the first/worse job you’ve ever had:

My first job and my worse job involve strawberries. I grew up in and live in the strawberry capital of the nation. Mom made us work in the strawberry fields, para que sepas (so you’ll know). We had accompanied her on weekends to pick walnuts before but picking strawberries at age 11 or 12 was harder. Walnut trees had shade. The strawberry fields went on forever, the heat blasting your back, the hot dirt. I lasted two days.

My worse job was working in the strawberry packing house on the graveyard shift the summer before college. I was not well treated by older women. As far as they were concerned, I took a job away from a mother, but that was the only decent paying two-month job I could find at seventeen.

I sorted strawberries on a conveyor belt while standing for eight hours. The cold water running through the belt splashed with each rotten or damaged strawberry I flicked into the dirty reservoir. The best fruit went to Japan, and the rest were sorted by better, good, average, and jam.

Overhead fluorescent lights beamed down, making the warehouse seem otherworldly at three in the morning. Strawberry and dirt odors lingered on my body the entire day and in my sleep.

What is your first and your worse job?

 

Women writers who inspire you:

There are so many, so I listed the ones who authored the books I buy/borrow. Usually, I have three or more books written by the same author.

 

Share one line from your own writing:

She was sober enough to remember that liquor and men were a bad combination, but drunk enough to think she could drive.

I’m glad I took the challenge, and in the process, I found out more about my own writing life and what informs my writing.

Finding several like-minded people, who run the spectrum of age, life experience, and writing backgrounds, was a plus and illustrated how the ‘social’ in social media work.

Over on the right hand column I list my Instagram and Twitter account links if you’d like to visit my sites or follow me so I can follow you.

Thanks for reading.

Encouragement, Inspiration, Wisdom, Writing

Why Do You Write?

This quote resonates with me.

Quote on Writing-Audre Lorde. www.alvaradofrazier.com
Quote on Writing-Audre Lorde. http://www.alvaradofrazier.com

In my blog bio, I say something similar about the type of fiction I write for young adults and adults.

In my youth, violence, gangs, and drugs surrounded my neighborhood. During my adult career in juvenile justice and corrections, the same issues were part of my daily life, but I was on the other side.

When you live with violence, poverty, racism, fear, or trauma you can develop some coping mechanisms like acting out, repression and denial.

For many women, one of the coping strategies is silence. But when we stuff our thoughts, push the words down, stifle our voice in fear, we sometimes think we’re okay.

But we’re not.

Our feelings go somewhere deep into our muscles, into our blood, and into our soul, where we bury the pain under a facade of everything is fine, “don’t you see the smile on my face?”

That’s why I write. I tired of stuffing thoughts and reactions down into the corners of myself.

I tired of seeing others do the same thing, over and over again until their throat got so thick with unsaid words they would get sick, or develop masks, or self-medicate.

Write down your words, somewhere, anywhere. Let your pen flow with the unsaid things in your heart. Write through the fear, the terror, the uncomfortableness of the pain until you can’t breathe anymore, or the tears come and then write some more.

You will get to the other side.

That’s why I write.

Why do you write? When you leave a comment, please leave the name of your website so you can share your stories.

Thank you and enter September with an adventurous spirit.

poetry, Writing

Why I Write

Langston Hughes quote on Journal-VickieHallmark, flickr.com
Journal-VickieHallmark, flickr.com

 

I cannot NOT write.

I write to tell stories about people and issues that matter, 

to me,

with experiences which may be different than your own,

or the same.

I write about the ugly & the beautiful

the abandoned & abused

the loved & unloved

the saved & the unsaved.

I write because I’m fascinated

by the hope and faith broken people

can show

in the middle of their pain

something that pushes them on.

I write because I know that

no hay rosas sin espinas

there are no roses without thorns 

I write to feel, to stay alive, 

to have hope, and because I’m grateful 

Why do you write or create?