Tag Archives: artists

How To Get Better At Your Craft


This week, I received rejection letters in my email for two short story submissions. I thought, Okay, back to the drawing board, people.

I could have used those competition winnings,for sure, but I learned early on in this business, you don’t cry over cryptic rejections. Trust and believe, those fiction pieces will be proofed and re-edited for submission in due time.

Get this: You can become better at your craft!

Those of us in the business of using our creative gifts, in hopes of making a sustainable living , understand this process. It takes time to create something great! Success will not be a walk in the park. But, every writer,  poet, author, entrepreneur business owner and artist, can become a winner if they keep practicing their craft.

The late comedian Bernie Mac learned the lesson of rejection and practice the hard way. He started doing standup in various venues and really won over the crowd . When he got an offer to appear on stage with Arsenio Hall, at a famous comedy club, Bernie knew he had finally made it.

His wife remembers asking him if he was going to write his monologue for the gig, but Bernie reportedly told her that he didn’t have to write any jokes because they were all in his head.

Needless to say, Bernie Mac bombed. He was mortified and it took him four months to regain his confidence and get back to what he loved doing most.

This time the comedian came prepared. He took notes on some of the biggest names in comedy. He studied their movements, mannerisms, timed their improve; took note of their deliverance and zingers. When The Kings of Comedy came knocking, Bernie Mac answered and became a rising star in comedy, film and television.

A participant in the creative arts have to develop a thick skin and persist. Rejection comes with the territory and are mere stepping-stones to seeing that return on your investment. You have to keep going; take classes in your area of expertise and study the experts.

(Study the experts,creative; don’t try to emulate them. Be yourself)

I can’t guarantee continued practice will make your work perfect, but I do know you will become better at your craft.

Today’s quote sort of put things in perspective for me. I hope it brings a smile.


“Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.” — Timothy Egan

The ‘Comfort Foods’ of Personal Story


I’m a country girl raised on comfort foods. And I have to tell you after 4 decades of city living, whenever I’m feeling out of sorts and need a soothing pick me up, off to the cupboards I go to see what I can whip up usually something without much-needed preparation. I’m a foodie for sure, but never would I win the grand prize in a cooking competition:)

Comfort foods much like the personal essay/story can serve up heaping spoons of warm cathartic healing. When I write or mentor from personal life experiences, I’m giving freely of my love in service of others. I retained my mother’s compassion for the less fortunate or voiceless as memories arise of how she’d often stop what she was doing in order to fry up a batch of fish for the ‘homeless’ man who routinely happened by the house because he had no one to offer to feed him. That man would eventually wander back the way he’d come, only now he’d have a full stomach and a cheerful air that came from knowing that somebody cared.

As I grew older, I wanted to do work that brought a smile or made a difference in the life of someone less equipped to face the world, like my mom did with that old man. Over thirty-five years of Nursing gave that to me. Life experiences, coupled with those remarkable skills afforded me the intuitive guidance of knowing how to use the touch of compassion and caring in my services to others.

The older I become, the more the ideology of comfort foods mesh with how I perceive my work. Perhaps, I’m destined to be that bridge where my mother’s compassion would end and mine would, without fanfare, begin. It’s not up for debate this gift, like comfort foods, warms my heart.

How would you categorize your creative gifts?

Friday Shoutouts, Updates and Apologies!

Hello to all of my new Clara54, Authentic Woman, Clara54T blog and Twitter followers out there! Don’t think I haven’t noticed ya! and  boy,do I heart you 🙂  For my regular readers, let me offer an apology for holding your interest and not delivering upon the anticipation in regards to a review of SILVER RIGHTS, the memoir of how one African American family in Mississippi during the 60s Civil Rights Era were the first to intergrate white schools ( my friend since 4th grade family) . The review copy was since lost in the mail YIKES! But, another enroute, so the setback has led me to plan B.

Including an interview on Monday with Artisan Jewelry Artist, Wendy Van Camp. Wendy has an interesting story of how she gave up a lucrative career in television to design her own jewelry. You must return on Monday! While you’re waiting & anticipating Wendy’s interview, why not take a peek at some other wonderful happenings in the life of Clara54 these past weeks?

Anne Wayman’s About Freelance Writing  http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2012/02/6-ways-new-writers-can-overcome-fear-write-their-truth-a-guest-post/


Featured Member Post here: http://www.blogher.com/exploring-race-friendships-america

Hope to see you there and will meet you back here on Monday:)

Awesome writing updates? Please share!

Call For The Short Story…

Do you write short stories? I do. I’ve always loved the short story, as well as flash fiction. It’s because brevity works for me and the short story doesn’t require the loads of research that other forms of writing call for. I’m not a fan of doing a lot of research, unless it’s a nonfiction piece I’m covering & factual data becomes a must. I’ve written fiction & nonfiction stories and find them easier than long drawn out novels, the autobiograpy, memoirs & such. (although I’m procrastinating on a memoir that started out as a biographical work- decided less is more in order for me to actually get the work out:) The short story fiction competitions are hot & heavy this month of Sept. I just missed the deadline for Goodhousekeeping’s short story submission. But, I’m more than ready for Essence Magazines’ Sept 30 deadline…

Other hot spots for the Short Story:

Poets & Writers
Writers Digest
Women On Writing Ezine
Do you have a soft spot for the Short Story? Revamp those gems & join the party…
BTW: Clara54 wanna give a shoutout to Brenda Broger, a nurse practictioner in Florida(& her fav sis-in-law) for having her work “Fathers’ Coping Mechanisms Related to Parenting a Chronically Ill Child: Implications For Advanced Practice Nurses” accepted in The Journal Of Pediatric Health Care…Yay! and to Mr. Henry L. Jones, a former Illinois poet/artist based in Tennessee, for the publication of his book, Run Into Blackness: Feeling My Poetic Gumbo. Way to go Mr. Jones! Clara54 has been inspired by you guys to keep-a-going!