Moms Who Spawned Writers And Artists… I Applaud You

Being a creative person, i.e artist and writer, I’m the first to admit: being talented can be tough. It’s a privileged blessing and fun first and foremost! And I would choose to be a creative again in my next lifetime. But, to rise above so many other talents and be seen by a very large world of art and book buyers – is tough.

The highs of selling the first art piece or book is often very quickly followed by the lows of sustaining sales – or even just getting a foot in the door, or a little bit of recognition. Almost every artist, illustrator, designer, writer, author – any creative person – will agree to this.

In my world, the one person who has kicked my creative butt out the ‘this is tough gutter’ – is my mom. Yes of course friends and siblings have done the same. But moms just know how to make you knock that ‘tortured artist’ hat right off! Moms know exactly when to have a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to a sorry sod artist, or when to be completely sympathetic when a writing block hits.

The first person to see my art or a new book, is my mom. Not because I seek approval, quite the opposite. My mom can be brutally honest! Recently I read a book summary to her… and she yawned! Rude? No, not really. Honest. That yawn alone saved me from posting a boring summary! I wrote a new summary that same night, and guess what? Sales went up.

Moms, we creatives need you. We won’t always say it, but we do. Many of us are complicated beings who see the world from very different perspectives. In fact, we create whole new realities! My mom keeps my escapist behind firmly on the ground. Her advice is worldly, and I apply it in my business, books and art clients. Her common sense very often adds reality to my ambitious dreamscapes.

All you moms with artists and writers as children – your kids are architects of new universes. We bring new worlds, thoughts and experiences to the readers and art buyers of the world. And that’s quite a job, being such an architect. We often times hit the ‘weird’ button or do something completely inexplicable. But, that’s why we have our maternal units – to just smile and accept us. Or, maybe pull us back in line (I for one sometimes need that! ;)).

So! Mothers of the world (especially my own) – I salute you! This blog post is totally dedicated to every mother who loves her creative child! Even though you may sometimes wonder what alien pod we crawled from… 😉

Many hugs and thanks to you all!

Jeanine

 

 

 

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The Artist & Writer’s “Disease”

Dear Jen’s Personal Blog,

I have a confession to make… Today I coveted mine neighbour’s w-

WAIT! Wrong blog!

OKAY, moving swiftly along. For today’s ‘theme’, I’ve decided to ‘discuss’ a specific debilitating disease that’s been crossing my path of observation lately. The disease is called: AWLB which stands for – artists and writers with limiting beliefs. “That’s not a disease! That’s just a chick trying to be ‘creative’ and funny, and it’s so, like, FAIL!” you say… I say, it IS a disease because too many talented people suffer from it. And they’re passing it around like it’s a Sunday family fudge cake, of which everyone at the table want seconds and thirds, whilst sharing the same spoon with the sickest member licking the icing off with lip-smacking glee… Guess how I feel about this disease…

Recently I met the most amazing people, many of whom are artists, designers, illustrators and the like. They’re all different, unique, gifted with a touch of the obligatory “weirdness” that we creative types are labelled with. Hey, historically, the most gifted creators were all slightly touched by the mad finger that swirls the martini… See what I mean? That whole sentence was odd. Not that I’m saying I’m that gifted or even like one of the greats, but, just in case I do go down in history as one of the greats right next to Picasso or Dali or da Vinci – it would be nice to be known for that odd sentence “the mad finger that swirls the martini”…. no wait no maybe not so much… Anyway – let’s get back to the talented people who believe they suck. That’s right – they BELIEVE they suck at their talents. This might be you, reading this, right now.

You PILE the pressure on yourself, tear up your sketches, probably chew it and spit it out because ink tastes funny no matter how hard the self-destructing anger is ravaging your veins. Writers delete whole pages if not whole manuscripts in a fit of tormented self-loathing and whacking of keyboards. Cue the days and nights of; “why am I even trying? I’ll never get this right. My style is crap. My sketches are poo. I’ll never make money from this. I’m just not that talented. Check out that guy’s art – I’ll never draw like that! Check this woman’s book, I can’t write like that…”

STOP with the limiting torment people! You are gifted with a powerful LANGUAGE of the mind and the most prolific artist and writer you will ever meet: your unconscious mind. You have NO IDEA what you can do once you choose to stop attacking yourself now, and listen to words I am structuring and see what I say… You think that you are consciously drawing that character or writing that action scene. No. You’re not. All of that is coming from your unconscious mind. Did you know that your unconscious mind is in control of more than 95% of YOU. That includes your mind and body. You don’t think so do you? Well, while reading here, do you consciously remind your lungs to breathe in, and out, in, and out? No. That’s your unconscious mind doing that. Or, while you’re reading here, are you telling your bladder to not (literally) release? No. Unconscious mind again. Your unconscious mind takes in everything around you. Most of the information it captures – you’re not even aware of consciously – but it goes right into your unconscious mind where it’s sorted into all its necessary folders for later recall or use. Your essence, experiences, feelings and memories – all there. You consciously forget about these files – but the unconscious mind can retrieve what it needs in an instant.

The unconscious mind does not speak. It communicates in symbols. Pictures. Metaphors. You, as artist and writer, hold the key to literally be the ‘channel’ in art and writing for your unconscious mind to deliver treasures of thoughts, creations, interpretations, visualizations, patterns, puzzles, premises, stories, wisdom, worlds, new realities, new universes – an infinite horizons of creation

So when you tell yourself “I’m useless”, you are placing a massive wall between you, and your unconscious mind. You are closing the tap to a flood of amazing creation. Why would you do that? It seems almost… limiting, does it not? Why would you limit yourself? You do know why though, that answer will pop into your head right now, “why do you limit yourself?” Delete the negative reason to why you limit yourself, now, and override it with a positive goal.

And what’s the rush?! SO many artists have absolutely no patience with their creations… Those characters you’re writing and drawing are YOU! Did you know that? They’re little parts of you. Yes, even that disgusting monster skinning a rabbit in the nude – that’s you. The rabbit too. That came from you, didn’t it? You made that. Do you like it when people are impatient with you? No, who would? (unless you have a bizarre impatience fetish…but then you’d be part of a different ‘demographic’ of personality, and good luck with that). Yet, you’re impatient with those little parts of you that you’re creating… So should the question be “why am I impatient with myself?” Answer that… Hear if it’s really even such a valid reason, then override with a positive goal.

Choose to re-connect to your unconscious mind. Allow it to take control of your hand and draw what it wishes. Let your fingers on the keyboard be the carriers of the images and metaphors your unconscious wants to deliver. Become CONGRUENT with yourself, your talent, your unconscious mind. Draw what you feel! Visualize on paper and onscreen what is inside you (just don’t be literal people, no one needs to see what’s literally ‘inside you’ okay?).

When you draw without pretence, and write in your true voice – you’ll feel FREE. You’ll ENJOY what you’re creating. You’ll become addicted to the process again. And that’s the key to a successful artist and writer: the PROCESS. Not just the end result. Because the end result is dependent on the PROCESS – which all starts with you, tapping into your unconscious. Speaking in the language of symbols, and writing the pictures of thoughts…

…K, enough from me now…

Go think and prosper!

@JenVinci

NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA
US: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA

Blogging is WORK… Just Saying!

I want to make an official mention: Blogging is work! Sheesh!

I’m working with my editor to finalize the summaries for Nhakira’s 3 books, so in the meantime I’m building this blog to be in time for the official launch of NHAKIRA “Chosen” (August 2012, Amazon Kindle)

Dude… I totally get how blogging can be a full time job! MUCH respect to you bloggers out there! Giving you guys the ‘bro fist’… But have no idea what to give you girls? ‘the knowing pout’? Or… ‘high heel click’? Or…ideas please?

OK, this is me for now…I have summaries to write! 😉

Over and out!

Jen Henning

@JenVinci on Twitter

6 Unique Tips For Writing… The “other” Tips…

No I am NOT going to list the Top 7 tips for being a successful writer… No I am NOT going to quote anyone OR punt my own books… No I am NOT going to sound all wise and sage-like.

But I WILL share certain tips which I personally use… And these aren’t really ‘tips’. They’re ‘things’ I do. Things you might be doing already – or if you’re not – you will because its FUN. And FUN is truly the Nr. 1 Writing Tip EVER.

TIP #1: Get out!

No I don’t mean ‘leave’ my blog, silly. I mean take your laptop/iPad/whatever tablet – and go to a coffee shop. Or a park. Or a restaurant. Or to a Magic The Gathering event, or a graveyard, or a lingerie shop (who knows what tickles your genre!?). I find the white noise in a coffee shop to be very writer-friendly. I order my favorite flat white coffee, open my Macbook, and TYPE. Awesome things then flow from these finger tips. And when my creative flow needs a break – I check people out. I love people watching. By observing your environment you actually create new ideas – you just don’t know it yet.

TIP #2: Also read the Great Greats

We’re in a world where we are blessed with amazing talents like Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Kathy Reichs, James Herbert – and many many more. I personally find that reading the mental meanderings of the ‘Greats’ inspires me greatly. Yes, I do read William Shakespeare! I love how he used words like his own brush on a canvas that speaks. Lewis Carroll? C’mon – that’s just raw genius! The ‘Greats’ were there when our industry truly began growing its skin. The knowledge they shared in later works is precious. Their imaginations were unaffected by modern social media, thus I believe their stories and worlds were so much more part of THEM, their true selves. And I find that to be refreshing.

TIP #3: Tweet-tweet-tweet!

Twitter. It is a wondrous tool! NOT just for marketing. In fact, I use Twitter for everything BUT marketing. I literally Tweet stuff that just randomly pops up in my head. Most of it is pretty weeeirrrd but based on my Follower count – my Followers like my random Tweet-bursts. I won’t ‘sell’ on Twitter. I will however share my work and journey. And when my journey includes the release of a book – HELL YEAH I’m going to share that! I really am not on Twitter to push product, I’m there to interact, chat and learn – and yes, share my work. ALSO, Twitter is the ultimate linguistic gymnastics for any writer because you must say something funny, insightful or intelligent in just 140 characters… And WOW, some of the conversations on Twitter is sometimes ingenious in its random creativity!

TIP #4: Get weird

Yeah, I actually mean it. For some of us ‘weird’ comes easy. And when I say weird I actually mean – loosen up! Even better, why not meet up with a group of like-minded people on a regular basis. A group of creators and writers. I have an awesome group of creative friends. We get together for ‘creative meetings’ – but somehow it always ends up with chilli poppers, beer and lots of laughter! But – we always walk away with fresh ideas. And very importantly – we feed each other’s imaginations with intelligence, humor, creative blabbing, brain storming – and honesty.

TIP #5: Experience

Nah not the type of ‘experience’ employers ask whether or not you have during interviews. I’m talking life. New things. New places. New people. New food. Challenges. Thoughts. Treats. Books. Music. Cow photos (#joke). I thrive on new experiences! Some have been amazing, some [CENSORED], some delectable, some inspiring – even life-changing. A creator NEEDS experiences because you are constantly creating new worlds and universes, right? So go out – EXPERIENCE… But please, I’m not saying go swim naked in the mall’s fountain, or slap a hyena on its butt, or believe you can fly after drinking chai tea… Keep it constructive people!

TIP #6: Write with your organ

Hey, eew, what are YOU thinking?! I actually mean it in a most sincere way… Write from your HEART. Lately a lot of authors write for money. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I believe in writing a story and creating characters that are infused by tiny parts of you. And with that I mean – write with honesty. Believe in your stories, believe in your characters as if they’re real people in your life. Yes, you HAVE to write FOR  a specific target audience and niche. But keep it real. I’m a fantasy writer – but I promise you – there is truth in my fantastical worlds. The truth lies in the words… As long as you are congruent with your writing and intentions, your readers will pick up on it. And they will like YOU, the creator…

TIP #7: I like – big – BUTTS – and I cannot lie!

Heehee… Just kidding 😉 No, Tip #7 – WORK. Yeah, hard work. Writing is dedication, persistence and discipline. Yes you make it fun and I’ve given you awesome reasons to walk around and have coffee in various places. But writing – STICKING TO THE STORY – takes discipline. Writing your book is the easy part. The work that comes after that is the true bulk of your journey. Especially if you self-publish on Amazon and the like. Once you accept that you will be working everyday to achieve your goals – you’ll have FUN! You’ll be proud. You’ll be so excited… And you’ll absolutely love the journey as writer and creator…

Thanks for reading you awesome reader you 🙂

Jen Henning

http://www.jeaninehenning.com

Why will you buy my books? Because I think about Unicorns…

Why will you buy my books? Because I think about Unicorns…

Really! I DO think about unicorns… and Smurfs. And jelly-obsessed Orcs. And squirrels that fight crime at night in mini-Batman suits…

Lately I think about unicorns a lot. I’ve always thought about unicorns, mostly because I love magic – and I have a horse – and voila! Unicorn!

But this renewed unicorn-thinking could be 1 of 2 possible reasons. One – because I recently visited beautiful Scotland where the unicorn features almost everywhere! And Two – because I think outside the box. No, not even outside the box. I choose to NOT see a box – because to still be inside or outside a box – that’s still limiting, isn’t it?

And I do not want to be limited. I don’t want to think limiting or live limiting or act limiting or illustrate limiting or write limiting!

I cannot sit and attempt to write anything akin to Terry Pratchett, John Locke, Patricia Cornwell, Karen Slaughter, Paulo Coelho, JK Rowling – or the Greats like Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dr. Seuss etc etc. I can admire all these writers though for their talents and clever sales acumen…

But then I’ll go back to thinking about unicorns. And still write what I write. And no – I don’t write about unicorns. Not yet anyway. I MIGHT add a unicorn in a book I’m currently planning with dragons in it…Meh, we’ll see.

What I DO do though (love that; “DO do) – is write from the heart. I just want to tell you a story. I want you to download my book onto your Kindle, go to the beach, have a cocktail…or 2…or 3…or more… And still be able to read my book and not have to reread whole chapters cos I lost you in detail or saga twists.

I want you to have a giggle at conversations not really ‘apt’ for Fantasy. I want you to RELAX. I want you to forget about the war on CNN. Or how guilty something made you feel. Or about all the STUFF that bugs your brain. Hey, it’s all about you…

I want you to have FUN when reading my books.

Yeah sure I too have serious moments in my books. Heck, I ‘teach’ as much as fantasy-swear. And I absolutely have some subliminal social commentary. BUT, its all done in a fun way. I have weird heroes. Very evil villains. Almost over the top villains…Cos yes, I base my characters on people and situations I know or have heard of. How REAL is that? Very… And I share it with YOU. In a fun easy-read way… I do not limit my writing in trying to be the next big award winner of some big prize. I let my imagination go to strange places and bring back stories for you to read.

And all because I think about unicorns…and Smurfs… Smurfs still boggle me even though I collect them (feel free to send me Smurfs as ‘thank you’s’ for enjoying Nhakira so much! 😉 #joke …

I’m just a storyteller. I do not aim to win accolades. Yes I want good reviews though, but I will learn from the bad ones too. I just want as many people as possible buying my books and having fun with magic, adventures, odd characters, really evil bad guys… And some surprising soul-touching depth…Because a teeny bit of my soul goes into every character I create and I share it with you.

Maybe I’ll write a whole book about unicorn trials and tribulations later. Or, a world where unicorns are normal and wear suits, drink beer, text on Smartphones, read on Unikindles (how clever am I !? ) and ponder whether humans ever really existed… Now THERE’s a future best seller!

And with that unicorn thought – I bid you adieu for now! I have unicorns to think about…

Cheers awesome reader!

Jen Henning

PS: I owe someone unicorn eggs… o_O Not even joking…

NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA
US: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA