Category Archives: Blogging, Freelance Writing, Business

Freelancer: Hits, Misses & Mentions


Good Monday morning! I hope the juices of all creatives are flowing like water in a river baptism this fall season . I can’t complain because I’m still loving what I do, although, it can get hard out here for a creative pimp-tress:)

So, today, I’m updating my loyal readers and followers on a few things happening in my neck of the writing woods, with a brief run-through of some of my freelancer hits and misses, along with a big ole congratulatory mention to a well deserving poet and visual artist.

Misses:

You guys recall me writing about how thrilled I was to open an email from Quaker Oats contest a while back, informing me that my delicious recipe submission had been selected?  Well, just like most of the five hundred thousand hopefuls out there, I waited with bated breath, months even, to claim my winning prize…

Not! The three finalists have been selected and yours truly is not on the list. Bummer! But,  because I love to eat my share of delicious foods instead of demonstrating my culinary skills or lack thereof, I’ve gladly moved on. It’s always a good thing when we release and let go, because something great hangs in the balance.

Misses : #2

I will be sharing my thoughts on traditional book publishing from my own experience with Unleash Your Pearls, including the ups & downs one might experience after signing on the  publisher’s dotted line. I will discuss research findings on the industry, including the length of time it takes from initial contract to actual book release. Patience is truly  required and a couple of glasses of spirits can’t hurt much. Anyhew, when those people call my people about my book release, we will have a celebration!

Hits:

I’ve learned not to wallow in feelings of freelance defeat or rejection and to just keep going with other interesting and oftentimes lucrative distractions.  I recently sold my 2nd nonfiction story to the Book of Hope Anthology, scheduled for publication after the holidays.

My contributing story appearing in the “Lessons from Losers in Love”  Anthology recently went to YouTube.

Dr. Alonda Alloway-Higgins, PhD, LSW,  Author and Life Coach

Uploaded a video to talk more about her book and upcoming series:

I’m working on my fourth assignment as part of How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women from Iowa University’s free Writing Workshop. This class is mentally challenging and educationally inspiring. We’re penning new stories to upload every week and so far, the feedback from class participants have been encouraging and useful. My love of learning is evergreen and when I feel the need to advance my writing aspirations, I always do.

There are numerous narratives on the informational highway in regards to getting something for ‘free’ and I’m of the opinion that one should always be a cautionary ‘buyer’. When it comes to free learning modules, however, in the form of free classes in writing, website design or advanced YouTube tutorials in your field of expertise, I’ve found them to be quite beneficial, and in some ways an advantage over many fee based online workshops.

For example, free classes offered by college institutions oftentimes differ from online writing workshops that cost, in that these curriculum based classes are taught by esteemed professors of writing, with several book fellows and awards under their belts and do not in any way, fashion or form, diminish from  a freelance writer’s creative abilities – they can, in fact, impact ones’ productivity and profit-making capabilities.

I’ve taken my share of online fee based and free classes since 2010.  Before the internet surge, I thought nothing of hopping a train in real-time, to attend fee based writing classes at Harold Washington Colleges. So, my advice, when in doubt, is to go for your gusto the way it works for you and don’t be swayed by negative  hype.  If you haven’t done it, then you can’t speak on it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Mention~

A big ole congratulations going out to Henry Jones; Poet, Artist, Entrepreneur and friend out there in Nashville whom I hold in high regard. Mr. Jones just won the National Gifted Artist Neo Soul & Poetry Artist(GANSPA) Award!

Congrats to you, Mr. Jones!

Quote for today:

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

A Heartfelt Reminder,Writing Updates and Contests!


Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction….
The chain reaction of evil —
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars —
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength To Love, 1963 

Hello Creatives ,

I’m back to continue in the spirit of creating and promoting meaningful works to help you learn and live by. I hope that we continue to have compassion and empathy for one another and that Dr. King and other fighters of wrongdoers did not die in vain. Let’s stay prayerfully awake, aware and continue to speak on the need for accountability.

I’ve been writing tirelessly during my blog sabbatical and have received many emails seeking help on meaningful projects from other creatives in their work to combat bullying, hatred and violence.

You can view links to some of these concerns here:

https://wwwclara54.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/back-stabber-tv-show-on-amazon-com/

I’m not overly concerned about winning a popularity contest with my blogs by way of comments or followers. I’m more interested in making a positive impact that leads to change in the world, and so I sent an email to Arianna Huffington, (former founder & editor-in- chief) of Huffington Post, where I shared some of what I, as a woman of color could bring to the conversation on violence and race in America, as a Huffing-ton Post contributor. I will share bits of her response at a later date, but you can read my latest article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-media-trolls_us_57cafbfde4b0b9c5b738cb47?

I’m also writing, editing and submitting old and newer works to various publications, and recently, among some poetry and short story rejections there have been positive results and I’m grateful and thankful for my gifts: https://thebluenib.com/tag/Clara-Freeman/

I contributed to this anthology on true life lessons learned from failed relationships. The author will compile a series of books on the subject. Check her out here:  www.BloggingDrAlonda.com

lessons_from_losers__cover_for_kindle-194x300

https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Losers-Love-Relationships-Valuable/dp/0578184141/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474035618&sr=1-1&keywords=lessons+from+losers+in+love

I always write to maintain balance in my life and I’m blessed to be well versed in several genres. I’m sure you all would agree that writing is therapeutic. My writings keep me grounded and humbled and feeling blessed (I’m too blessed to be stressed, y’all!) Anyhow, I haven’t gotten any new  updates on the release of Unleash Your Pearls Empowering Women’s Voices from my publisher, which is a bummer, but patience is a virtue:)

Here are some great upcoming contests for y’all to check out and hopefully find something  of interest in your genre. Some contests are fee based and some are not.

Oftentimes, we writers think we’re not making a living with our work, unless we are seeing dollar bills. Ms. Robbie of Welcome To Sweetie Pies, coined the phrase “if it don’t make  money it don’t make sense.” That’s all good when you’re business minded and only centered on making money, but those of us who use our writings to make a difference are not solely centered on the grind for the sake of the almighty dollar.We are successful at sharing our work,  knowing that somewhere and with someone, we have aided in making a life better.
September kicks off my monthly blog postings, unless more exciting news find me. I’ve decided to pursue new projects that will expand under my brand leadership that includes influence-rs, motivators and thought leaders, armed with a common goal . I will always appreciate every voice who stops by Clara’s Writer’s Blog to share in this awe-inspiring world of literary creativity.  Writers, innovators and critical thinkers, I heart you all.
Be blessed and be a blessing!
“Where love is God is”~ CF

 

 

 

 

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Congrats, Contests and Casting Call


TS and MD at IndieHappy Friday Wordsmiths! I hope everyone have a great weekend ahead. I’m a bit under the weather of aches and pains that accompanies a visit from Arthur, but that won’t deter me from going out to support my granddaughters dance performance this weekend.

We have a lot of ground to cover today, starting with a hearty congrats to authors Michelle Duster and Trina Sotira of the musewrite community for being honored with a 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist Award.

Their anthology, SHIFTS,  won in the women’s issue category.  Congrats ladies. Enjoy your medals and bask in your achievements.  Readers can find more info about their great achievement and how to grab a copy of their book at www.musewrite.com or by emailing Michelle Duster at musewritecommunity@yahoo.com.

The women’s next anthology is due out March 2017. It will center on thoughts about the first lady, Michelle Obama. My poem, Brown Girl Challenge, also makes a cameo.

Changing gears

It  was such a pleasure and an honor these last weeks to bring you Andre West for my special guest interview. The owner of DreamQuestOne really did the thing! If you haven’t read his informative and inspiring writing insights, please do go back to read part one and part two. And be sure to visit Andre’s website at http://www.dreamquestone.com…

Contests accepting May submissions

My colleague and friend, Evelyn Cogdell sent me this competition. Epiphany, a literary Journal, is calling for poems and short stories. They have a June deadline.They also have a chapbook contest in the works. Check out their website and you’ll find other publications open for submissions.  http://www.everywritersresource.com/literarymagazines/epiphany-a-literary-journal/

I’m thinking about subscribing. Thanks Evelyn!

epiphany-cover-final-540pxWide-199x300

Here are more sites that are open for May submissions.

www.dreamquestone.com

writersrelief.com/watersedge-poetry-chapbook-contest/

Short Story award for new writers@ https://mastersreview.com/short-story-award-for-new-writers/

Chicago Casting Call!

Usually, I post about celebrity news, reality television and Chicago happenings over at my celebrity news and views blog, but this is an exception because I’m only posting monthly over there, but that might change in the coming months:)

Here’s the info for all of you wanting to get a chance at being cast for   Reality TV Chicago Ladies

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To learn more about the women who are already cast for the show, formerly called Chicago Girlfriends, go to https://wwwclara54.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/the-ladies-of-chicago-girlfriendschicagos-first-reality-television-show/

Quote for today~

When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.
—Ellen DeGeneres

 

Special Guest Interview With CEO And Publisher of Dream Quest One ~Andre West


DreamQuestOne120x120Maya Angelou — ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

I really got serious with my writing in 2000, whereas, before, I’d write stuff and put it away in my file cabinets. Submitting my poems and short-stories in competition, in hopes that one of my babies just might get published, was a bit intimidating. I felt awful whenever my work came back solidified in a cold detached form letter.  One day, I opened another rejection to another submission, only this one differed from the usual cold form letters, in that small side-notes of encouragement were written along the edges of the paper.

The editor had taken time to encourage me to keep writing, telling me that I was an “excellent” writer!  Since, then, I’ve written numerous articles, stories and poems and even managed to write and publish a book or two. My writing definitely improved.  And I never forgot that rejection letter.

How fitting that on the last week of National Poetry Month,  Clara54 gets to interview the person whose kind words kept me from throwing myself a ‘pity-party’ and motivated me to keep writing… Please join me in welcoming CEO and Publisher  of DreamQuestOne, Mr. Andre West to the blog:

Welcome, Andre! We haven’t met personally, but I feel like I know you through  your creative ‘rejection’ of my short story and now, our  LinkedIn connection.

Can you share a bit of background with my readers?

Clara, first and foremost, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a gracious host and for interviewing me to be featured in your prestigious Clara54 Writer’s Blog. I truly admire and respect your undaunted encouragement, warm-hearted inspiration and endearing support for the fine arts and writing community.

I appreciate that, Andre. Thank you.

About me, hmmmm? Well, uhhhh, mmmm, okay! In my early childhood, besides playing with Lincoln Logs and Army Men toys, I remember reading books and learning Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Particularly, I really loved the times when my mother would read bedtime stories to me. So about the age of five or six years old, I began reading books on my own. This is when my mother would let me read bedtime stories to her. She enjoyed my reading so much that I would read her to sleep. Of course, it was supposed to be the other way around. Heh heh! Enthusiastically, and with childlike confidence, I wanted to read stories and nursery rhymes to my dear mother, in order to show her that “I can read.” In doing so, it made me feel great to start and finish reading a complete book. As a child, my favorite book to read was “The Bike Lesson” by Stan and Jan Berenstain. I guess you could say that I was hooked on phonics at an early age. I still have my old favorite book to this today!

I’ve learned that a picture is worth a thousand words. Noticing that many children’s books contained illustrations, I saw that those pictures only reinforced what I had already read. My imagination teleported me to far off places in the universe, where I may visit kingdoms by reading just words alone. Therefore, in my youthful mind, pictures had become redundant. Not that there was anything wrong with a colorful illustration, but pictures seem to replace words I could be reading. I then asked my mother to get me books without pictures. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a word is worth a thousand and one pictures, I imagine. Mother brought me all sorts of new and exciting tales to read.

My imagination began to grow and develop as my mind opened to new concepts. I lived with my family at a government housing project in the row houses called the “The Village” at the A.B.L.A. Homes, in Chicago, Illinois. Located on the near West Side, I lived right across the street from Fosco Park. Donnie, my big brother and I use to play in the dirty field, ride bikes, skateboard, roller-skate, fly kites, and even ice-skate during the winter months at Fosco Park. We always had what we needed, so being poor didn’t bother us that much. We hardly even thought about it sometimes, but we knew the deal. Occasionally, we use to eat maple syrup and bread sandwiches back then. Hey, it kept us alive. I’d still eat one today, but I prefer wheat bread.

As the years went by, I was considered a “gifted” child at Medill Elementary School. I really didn’t know what “gifted” meant, since I didn’t receive too many gifts back then. All I remember, is that a few other students and I had to take more advanced classes than homeroom peers. I went to different instructors for reading, music and art classes. At this time, my reading comprehension, vocabulary, and verbal skills were considered above average. I didn’t understand what that really meant. All I wanted to do was have fun and play with my friends. Although it was nice taking a break from the monotony of being in the same classroom setting all day.

So from first grade through junior high school, I remember attending Junior Great Books reading classes. We read stories such as “The Velveteen Rabbit,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Then we discussed what happened in those stories, as a group. It helped develop the essential skills of reading carefully, thinking critically, listening intently, and speaking and writing persuasively. I enjoyed participating in those group discussions and did very well in English grammar. We wrote essay compositions and poems for classroom exercises and homework. I never stopped reading books. My teachers would always praise my ability to produce interesting creative writing. I felt great while writing, whether it was a short story or a poem, transforming thoughts and feelings into words, conveying messages to readers, or producing a desired outcome or effect. I love writing. It’s that simple.

At school, I remember having my essays, stories and poems posted in classrooms and hallways. I continued writing but there was something else about me. I always wanted to fit in with the popular students. And being smart was not very popular in these circles. Also, there were some negative influences from family members, and so-called friends that steered me to mischief at times. So I became shy and timid about showing my gifts and talents in writing to those around me. I tried to please everyone as I grew up. In doing so, I was never fully able to express myself or “be myself,” so to speak. I usually wrote a story or a poem or two, as required from my teachers. Once in 5th grade, I kept a composition book filled with essays that I wrote throughout the school year. There was a time when I went home with a note from my teacher to my mother. She told my mother that she didn’t believe I had written a certain composition and ‘please don’t do your child’s homework for him.’ Well, my mother didn’t help me. I wrote the story while sitting alone in my room. The night before turning in my homework, my mother couldn’t believe I had created such a great story. Nonetheless, I wrote it. Unfortunately, at the end of the school year, my composition book thrown into the trash. I really regret throwing those stories away. My mother said she wanted to keep that book, too. Usually, I write a story or poem when inspired or motivated by a profound person, a memorable place, a wonderful thing, or an outstanding event in my life.

Mrs. Smiley, a strict and disciplined school librarian, at Gallistel Language Academy, once pulled me aside. She said, “Andre, you really have a talent for creative writing. Keep it up. I want you to remember that.” She even wrote her wonderful praise to me in my elementary school graduation autograph book. At the time, writing a book became somewhat of a dream that might be possible. But I never went deeper into the thought of it.

Why do you write?

There was always the fear of rejection that haunted me for many years. I always sought approval from others for fear of being criticized. I was also afraid of failing and succeeding. Thinking disaster would come to bring me down and out, of my introverted comfort zone. I was scared too, of taking risks, making mistakes, letting go, and living life as I believed in my heart. Sometimes family members mean well, but they may also discourage one from pursuing her or his ‘calling’ in life. They may sound like Glum from Gulliver’s Travels saying, “You’ll never make it”. They are called, “dream-killers.” All the wasted time I spent trying to be whatever someone else wanted me to be, has passed. I got tired of being afraid to venture off into the unknown. In spite of any opposition from others or within, I choose to write because I feel more alive while writing. I’m able to express myself freely and creatively through the art and craft. In my heart, I’ve always been and always will be a writer, a poet and a dreamer, but not in that exact order. I’ve always loved poetry and writing even through high school and college. I wrote more stories while taking English courses. Upon receiving an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts Education and Business Administration, I continued pursuing a degree in Finance. To support myself I have been a landscaper, a front-end maintenance worker for a major supermarket chain, a postal mail-carrier, and a computer information systems expert. “In whatever job I choose to do, I like to do it right or I won’t do it all.”

What does Poetry mean to you?

During high school, I occasionally wrote poems and stories about my life and the things that I have done. In the year 1986, there was a local writer’s newsletter, which sponsored a poetry contest. Inspired by a girl, whom I liked very much during my sophomore year of high school, I entered the following poem.

“Imagine This”

Sweetness is for her, body’s motion on a staircase

About seven feet down the lane, staring upon that lovely face

Looking upward as a matter of fact

Walking forward to be exact

 

Gracious is her style, thus owning one principle

Glorious is she, who audaciously attracted me

A host to her mind, the waiter for her heart

Frequency of the wave, the commencement of a start

Imagine this,

Knowledge of love, it has no definite flaws

Throughout friendship we understand

there’s certain common laws

Thresholds of peace, insinuations I may

Intimations I may. Instilled visions of rhymes

Instituting our day

Imagination,

is a powerful tool. Don’t interpret me wrong

I’m nobody’s fool

There is just so much that you must see

Imagine this, you and me

Though this is the beginning and not the end

Imagine this,

my marvelous friend.

By © 1986 Andre La Mar West

To my surprise, I won an honorable mention and received a big red dictionary. Clara, that contest really gave me a healthy dose of inspiration and confidence to continue writing poetry. I began reading and sharing poems with students at school. When a poem makes your feel as if your head is spinning and you are falling off planet Earth: that is poetry to me. When I can read or write a poem that makes me think and feel like I’ve been turned right side up, to me: to me that is poetry. If it moves me to feel pure emotions such as; joy, anger, empathy, sadness, love, hate, pain, ecstasy, fear, or enlightened, because its composition is a true self-expression: that is what poetry means to me.

Andre_West-DreamQuestOne

Are you all enjoying this interview as much as I am?!  Want more ? Great, because we’re not finished… Part two of my interview with Andre West continues next week! I wanted to give you all of Andre’s powerful writings, publishing and living life as an artist insights!

You don’t  want to miss part two of this interview. Andre shares his vision for Dreamquestone and gives us his take on winning poetry and writing contests. In the meantime, you can access Andre’s site to get the 411 on upcoming submissions – http://www.dreamquestone.com/rules.html

Happy writing!

18 Gifted Writing Quotes For Your Holiday Enjoyment!


thquoteHappy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all avid readers and writers!

Good evening. You guys know by now just how much I love collecting  and sharing great writing quotes from every caliber of writers. It doesn’t matter who said it, as long as there’s a bit of sage advice in the  message. So, I decided what better gift to share with my awesome comrades in readership than writing quotes to enjoy along with their holiday festivity? I know, I done good, right? 🙂

Anyho, without further ado, here’s 18  memorable writer quotes to top off your holiday reading:

  1. “Don’t write to become the next great somebody, write to be the next you- the one and only you, the writer/author our world needs to meet” – Wayne Dyer
  2. “The only limit to your success is your own imagination” – Shondra Rhimes
  3. ” Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry” – Mark Twain
  4. “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way” – Ernest Hemingway
  5. ” I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose” – Stephen King
  6. ” Writing is its own reward” – Henry Miller
  7. “You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed” – Larry Niven
  8. “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme” – Herman Melville
  9. ” A poet can survive everything but a misprint” – Oscar Wilde
  10.  ” Never use a long word where a short one will do” – George Orville
  11. ” I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick skin” – Harper Lee
  12. “Write drunk, edit sober” – Ernest Hemingway
  13. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt” – Sylvia Plath
  14. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader” – Robert Frost
  15. “The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination” – Richard Wright
  16. “Wait, wait, wait, wait. Don’t try to write-through it, to force it. Many do, but that won’t work. Just wait, it will come” – Toni Morrison
  17.  “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching  the live of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’ about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay?” – Stephen King
  18.  “You can’t rest on your laurels. Your own body of work is yet to come” – President Barack Obama

So, there you have it folks, 18 holiday quotes from esteemed writers and authors for your reading pleasure. My gift to all of my loyal and faithful readers, colleagues, writers and authors everywhere.

Have the warmest, healthiest and happiest Christmas and New Year possible! I hope to see all of you along with new friends, readers and followers back here in 2016:)

BTW : If you felt good vibrations from today’s post, feel free to chime in and let us know the quote that resonated with you, on your writing journey.