End of the Year Inspiration: Black Authors Speak about Storytelling

We all need some inspiration. Writers especially need to be inspired, and below you will find 10 quotes by 10 authors to assist you on the journey.

“To know how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live.” -Dorothy West (The Richer, the Poorer)

“For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” -James Baldwin (Sonny’s Blues)

“The writer cannot expect to be excused from the task of reeducation and regeneration that must be done. In fact, he should march right in front.” -Chinua Achebe (The Novelist as Teacher, New Statesman)

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” -Maya Angelou (The Heart of a Woman)

“When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.” –James Earl Jones

“… the truest writers are those who see language not as a linguistic process but as a living element….” –Derek Walcott

“You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” –Maya Angelou

“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?” –Alice Walker

“An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.” –Langston Hughes

“In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.” –Alex Haley


Please feel free to use these quotes in your social media updates and shares. Print one out for your own personal (m)use.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, share a quote by them in the comment section. Thank you.

Web Roundup of Some of the Best Writing Advice this Year

New and veteran writers need wise counsel. This post contains 8 of the best online articles to assist you in your writing business, but also to help you become a better writer.

Writer’s Digest

10 Things Every Writer Should Know About Amazon Publishing, 10/7/16

Writer’s Market Companion Excerpt: Freelance Writer Pricing Guide (Download)

The Writer Magazine

Agent/author Regina Brooks gives advice for authors, 10/7/16

Ask the Writer: What tense should I use when describing a novel?, 9/27/16

Jane Friedman

When Should You Write for Exposure? 5 Questions to Ask, 10/11/16

How to Leverage the Power of Someone Else’s Platform, 9/19/16

Jerry Jenkins

If You Really Want to Make it as a Writer, 9/13/16

“Am I Too Old to Write My Book?” 7/19/16

There you have it; 8 blog posts with wonderful advice. The year is not over, so can you imagine what else we will learn before 2017?

From My Archives: 4 Posts about Creativity

Creativity is limitless. I believe in a Creator who has no limits to His creativity or the creativity He blesses each of us with. So obviously creativity is important to all we endeavor, including those of us who write for a living. That said, I’ve gone through my archives to pull four posts that deal directly (an indirectly) with the creative process.

If you’re the praying type, pray and ask God to stir up your creativity. If you’ve ever read any parts of the Bible, then you know the stories of how people live their lives are endless. You also know the endings to those stories are not all the same. You know, too, that the people are without limit to their dimensions from the utterly despicable to incredibly good. There is no reason for your story to be like anyone else’s, but you’ve got to surrender the need to create your way.

Some of the best-selling books of all time took creative license to tell a story. My hope is that you tell stories that are true to your purpose, and inspired by your dreams.

Stuck? Write the End of Your Story First

Sometimes stories write themselves from beginning to end. However, most times, stories take work and you – the author – will become stuck during the outlining process. If you’re stuck, try this age old method of ungluing your story. Write the end of your story first.

We all know how we want a story to end? Or do we? Experiment a bit, and write a synopsis for the end of your story that counters your normal way and even the expected way.

  • Synopsize an unhappy ending. Your character can still be victorious but without the outcome they desired or deserved. Imagine an unhappy ending and write a few paragraphs detailing what it looks like.
  • Synopsize no ending. Perhaps your story is one of those ‘to be continued.’ Write an ending that is questionable, and leaves readers wondering what happens next. For example, your character just spent an entire novel or novella fighting a bank to keep their home, winning the last but not final round; it is okay to end your story with them sitting on a park bench, reviving himself for more. You can save the real ending for part two.
  • Synopsize a happy ending with twists. Maybe you end the previous chapter with the problem of the story solved. However, you can write a happy ending with outcomes no one saw coming. Your protagonist ends up with another partner or spouse, whereas, your readers were certain they’d be with someone more predictable. You can do this by carrying your story into the future with an epilogue.

As you write your ending first, you will realize that it’s not the ending that unsticks you. It will be loosening of your creative juices. Do not be surprised if your story begins differently as a result. Have you ever written the ending first? If so, share the results in the comment section. Thank you.

10 of the Best African American Genealogy and History Blogs and Websites

There are countless blogs and sites dedicated to African American history and genealogy; this is a list of 10 of the best. They are diverse and potentially helpful for writing as well as doing personal genealogy work.

FreeAfricanAmericans.com provides information on free blacks during colonial times in colonial states. There are links to information about Native American slaves as well as blacks freed after 1782.

Christine’s Genealogy Website is truly a labor of love. It contains information about slaves and emancipation.

Crestleaf’s 80 Resources for researching African American ancestry is amazing and pretty exhaustive. This is a page you will want to bookmark for later.

BlackPast.org is another great resource that not only provides information but resources for your searches and research.

Afrigeneas is a site for searches and for historical information.

Bernice Bennett’s Blog Talk Radio program is dedicated to history and genealogy. Her guests run the gamut from helpful to extremely helpful.

PBS’ History Detectives is a gem for learning how to research and learning the whys of research. You can also use their site to learn about investigative techniques and there is a section for educators, which is also a blessing for those of us in need of educating.

OurBlackAncestry.com has one of the best black history timelines found online.

The Library of Congress slave narratives are first-hand accounts of slave life and emancipation. The people interviewed can tell you best about slavery.

The Smithsonian magazine online has great articles about African American life. Do a keyword search and you will find little known information as well as long-form articles about historical facts.

Details are very important to writers and even in personal genealogy research. The hope is that these resources will help your writing become richer or help you learn more about your ancestry.

6 Resources for Writing Found on Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com is more than a genealogy site. Yes, you can create a family tree on Ancestry but you can also research historical information that helps you build a fiction story or tell a non-fictional story involving rich details.

The Ancestry Blog contains scores of stories about successful family searches on the site. It also contains things like coupons for some of their paid services, how-tos and tips for using registries, and search help. It’s incredibly organized into categories, so it you will find it easy to use.

Hire a Genealogist/Expert is a great way to ask someone adept at genealogy delicate and complicated questions to shape your story.

Ancestry Academy is the organization’s visual classroom on genealogy. You will find tons of instructional videos to assist you in a personal search or professional.

Message Boards enable users to ask questions and conduct queries. The easiest search is the surname search. Connect with others who can assist you in writing and with facts too.

Fold3.com is their affiliate site that houses military records and other government-related information. There are weekends and durations of free use, depending on your Ancestry membership type.

Newspapers.com is another affiliate that houses a wealth of archived newspapers from around the world.

Finally, a bonus is the LifeStory feature found on each person entered on a family tree. LifeStory offers historical context of the person’s life. To test it, sign up for Ancestry and fill out your personal information, then look at your own LifeStory entry. It’s pretty neat to see your life put in narrative form.

New Fun with Facebook Pages

Facebook pages were kind of blah and bland for a long while. Most page owners struggled for participation and activity that engaged. Facebook just added a few changes that could make using your page a little more fun, and make the page even more useful to you.

  • The look has changed.
  • You can now use the @yourpagename for a username.  If you’ve already set your username, then it will convert automatically – depending on the length of the name. If you haven’t set a username, use this link to do so. (Log into your account and follow this link https://www.facebook.com/username)
  • You can also link your other social as well as find your page links easier. Even your call to action will be found right underneath your page’s profile pic. All of  your apps appear there too.
  • There are more options for posting photos. You can create an album, post a photo singularly, create a photo carousel or create a slideshow video complete with music. I suggest using a tool like Canva to uniform the sizes of your photos before uploading to a carousel or slideshow.
  • The ABOUT section is on the right and more visible. And …
  • You can search for posts on your page, because there is a search bar also on the right.

The new look and features are great for people with no personal website. You can be very creative in arranging the pages content and how you showcase your products or work. And don’t forget you can use hashtags on Facebook too.

Play around and let me know how you like it in the comment section below.