Saturday, March 11, 2017

I am not a Feminist

This post has been long in coming. I've got so many different versions of it in my drafts and I hate all of them. So, again, I've scrapped everything I've written on this topic before and started over. This one will stick and hopefully not be so, so, well rant-y or negative or any other horrible adjective anyone can think of.

Every so often in the news, in social media, and other outlets there is something huge which happens which makes people bring up the "gender" discussion. Most recently it's been the entire election in the US what with certain comments being made. I'm sure you know what I mean. If you don't then you must have a cozy place under your rock *winks*


The entire situation with the election and many, many situations prior and after have spurned me to write this. Why? Because with the discussion of gender comes the discussion of feminism, what it means, who is or is not a feminist, and of course, the people who insult the "femi-Nazis."

I am not a feminist.

I know this might come as a shock to anyone reading this blog considering what I write about, particularly taking into consideration the kind of characters I write about. Let me explain.

I am an equalist.

What does that mean, exactly? It means I believe everyone deserves an equal chance in life no matter their skin color, religion, gender, sexuality, age, abilities (physical or mental), or anything else which defines us as different.

Does this mean we should be ignorant to people's differences? No, not at all. But these differences should not stop a person from obtaining a job, home, loan, vehicle, citizenship or anything else which certain people are denied.

For instance:

Individual A is a 30 year old black lesbian. Individual B is a 25 year old white heterosexual male. They are both applying for a job in a business position which is normally male-dominated. So, what happens? Individual B will get the job even if both are equally matched when it comes to qualifications and experiences.

I know we all like to believe this is untrue in 2017 but it is still difficult, if not impossible for women to get jobs in what are considered "male" positions. It is made worse if you happen to be anything but heterosexual or CIS. It is made even worse if you have a visible disability (like being in a wheelchair) or an invisible disability (like being deaf.) And almost impossible if you are a woman of color.

I believe people should be judged on their personalities, their qualifications, their talents, and their ability to do the job. Ideally, if a person has the experience, is qualified, and can do the job then they should be hired without anyone needing to worry about what having someone "different" on board might do for the overall image of the company.

I want people who are coming out as transgender or gender-neutral not to have to worry about the fact they might lose their jobs for it or have to keep their not-true-to-them personality at work alone. I want women of color to love their dark skin and not worry about skin bleach or white-washing themselves to fit into society's view for the "perfect" skin tone.

I want people to be proud of their religion and not have to worry about being told they are terrorists. I want people to be able to come into the country without having to worry about their faith, skin, or country of origin. I want women to be able to whip off their shirts in hot weather if they like or men to wear skirts, dresses, and make-up if they want - both without ridicule.

I want people to be able to be them without having to worry about their lives being in danger, or whether or not they can get a job or a home or even travel.

We have made a lot of progress since the 1950s but there is still a far way to go. Transgender or homosexual teens are still kicked out of their homes. Women (of color or not) are still treated as inferior in some markets based on the fact they are female. People of different religions are still not tolerated and there is still every kind of -ism out there.

Will we get to a point where everyone is treated equal? I hope so but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. People, humans, are not comfortable with change nor are we comfortable with what marks us as different from one to another. The definition of "normal" is different for everyone and I doubt there will ever be a time when people forget about normal and accept people for "them."

Until next time: you know what to do.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Writing Tip #21: Who You Are

If you've made it to Tip #21 then you're now thinking to yourself: "Um, Renna, I'm a writer. Duh." Obviously. But like everything else in the complex world which is writing, you're more than a writer. Author? Sure. Editor? Yep. Promoter? Probably, well, should be. Social media royalty? It'd likely help.

This is not about you being a writer or any of the above. It's about who you are as a writer. Do you plan and plot out every detail? Do you open up a blank page, have a theme in mind and go with it? Are you a mix of both?

We'll go deeper: do you find you write better in the morning, afternoon or night? Are you more productive in small bursts or long sessions? Do you need to work on multiple projects at the same time or are you the kind of person who has to get something completely finished before moving onto something else?

Do you have to turn off spell check and grammar check to get a chapter done? Do you have to go back and read what you wrote before to get back into the groove? Do you have to edit as you go? Do you have to write in silence or can you write with background noise?

Do you write old-school with pen/pencil and paper or is everything stored on your computer? Do you need to use a fancy writing program or are you okay with the basics? Do you write linerally or write whatever scene catches your interest?

Why is this important?

Well, figuring out who you are as a writer will help you succeed in you know, writing. If you don't know what makes you reach your peak word count goals per hour/day/week/month/year then you'll never hit those goals.

The problem is figuring out what kind of writer you are can take time. It can also change over time in drastic ways. Finding out your most successful approach to writing comes with experience and investment. It can also come with changes in technology as the world around us ages.

See, I used to hand write everything on paper with pencil or pen. I would never finish anything and never planned. I would write whenever and paper didn't have spell check so naturally I didn't edit as I went.

Now, everything I need for a novel can be found in one Word doc with a supplimentry document usually called "planning." I can still write whenever and I need to go back and read what I wrote to get back into the groove. I edit as I go and I always write from beginning to end, never deviating from the timeline to write a cool scene I'm looking forward to ahead of what comes before it.

I'm also a mix of both plotter and pantser. I have a large picture understanding, characters, a timeline, and maybe a few subplots but the majority of details and sometimes even entire scenes are written on a whim.

Heck, sometimes the entire story changes as I go and I end up with something better than I thought I would. I have to have music playing in the background or my brain will wander off and I won't get anything done.

Knowing all of the above has helped me win multiple NaNos, Camp NaNos, and has allowed me to successfully write a million words for the past, er, four years? Yeah. Something like that. It's allowed me to finish forty-someodd novels, a bunch of short stories and start Avalora (which is never-ending I swear).

I've also been able to plan my life around my writing. I know what I need to hit my optimal word counts and know how many hours it would take me to bang out a medium sized chapter. This means if I know I'm getting up early (or need to) I can plan some extra time to write during the week. I can plan around life-stuff and writing-stuff and not fall behind on anything.

I have time to socialize, to plan trips, work, and STILL make the million in a year. Mind you, I have gone from "must work on one project at a time" to "can work on more than one project" mainly because of the sheer size of Avalora and man, sometimes I need a break from the universe despite how much I love it.

There isn't a magic pill or special trick to figuring out who you are as a writer. You have to try everything in order to find the perfect flow but once you do then you'll be better for it.

Until next time: you know what to do.