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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Inspiration, Perspiration and the Pen

Thomas Alva Edison stated: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. Writers do not perform less work because they push pens and pencils on paper rather than endeavoring mechanical labor.  In fact, a writer’s work requires more labor due inspiration as a necessary component to words on the pages. There are many stories from different perspectives about the writers’ Muse and the things that cause a writer to write. It is my firm belief that, regardless of a writer’s source of initiative, words are not worthy of paper without the effort put forward to create correctly for readers. While not all writers’ efforts are appreciated, there should never be any mistake that a real writer will put forth more than the inspiration without the perspiration.

This does not reduce the genius of writing. Sweatshop copy levels at fifty cents a page for good English does not translate to the work of writing or the value of the worth of most writers.  “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr. delineates the accepted standard for the “Elementary Principles of Composition”. There are rules of grammar, punctuation, and formatting to be followed in writing communities. This does not infer that writing is a mechanical mastery alone. Writing is an art form, regardless of the intended use of the writing.

Many civilizations, dating back to Egypt in 3,400 B.C., lifted up the magic of the art of writing above the common level of readers educated enough to understand what was printed. Writers are not lower than their readers, even though we work to serve the readers’ appetites and needs in many genres and forms.  Writing influences civilizations because writing is a reflection of the culture and life around writers of any given timeframe. Writers must work for their own voice in the midst of the readers- an elevation of the pens that perspire to bring inspirations into acknowledgement. When writers stop writing, civilizations are in trouble. Writers’ words are a reflection of their culture and life.

As in any industry, writers face standards, mass distribution requirements, and production barriers. I have found, in my own career, there is little respect among writers, themselves, for writers in other genres or arenas. Education requirements and elitism have also contributed to friction in writing communities as to validations and acceptance. Many writers over history were not accepted in their time and became valuable parts of our heritages: Virginia Woolf; Jane Eyre; Thomas Payne; Upton Sinclair; and Ayn Rand to name a few. Most writers do not aspire to historical significance. I know, as a writer, I write because it is my nature, my skill and my passions. Without fifty to one hundred years to look back on writers’ contributions, it seems rather ridiculous to declare writing a profession based solely on popularity. Only certain forms of writing find the public eye a better participatory platform.

To my mind, writers do not have to show genius to include both inspiration and perspiration in their works.


8:01 pm edt          Comments

Friday, July 18, 2014

What to Write?/Why Write?

Two questions face an author every time he or she sits down to a blank page:

1) What will I write?

2) Why am I writing?

The answers to these questions are indicative of a writer’s choices in the type of writing, the purpose of writing, and the will to write. Some writers only write for others. Their idea of the worth of words on the pages is completely at the mercy of the opinions of people making choices about their writing. Other writers will only write for themselves and do not take into account the need for writing to reach readers. I have found that there is a balance in writing to keep, regardless of the purpose of the writing, in personal commitment to the words and the need for validation by others that the words carry meaning.  

Subject matter usually must have some sort of target audience. On the other hand, good writing will find an audience. The work to find readers is not separate from the work of writing and what to write/why write are crucial questions for a writer to answer. If the writer has identified this answer in every piece of writing, then readers will not be questioning if the words on the pages belong on the pages. Over time the questions of what to write/why write become second nature to a writer and the writer does not always pose these questions directly to him or her self. This does not mean that, if asked, a writer cannot answer these questions directly.

There is a point in most writers’ development, faced with a blank page, when the words will not come.  If the questions of what to write/why to write are answered, any true writer will find the blank page finally can be filled. Writing is not just spontaneous creation. Writing takes dedication, decision, and determination.

Our individual choices and purposes as writers are never identical. We work in different subject matters and genres with different reasons to provide words for others to consider.  This does not mean that a writer is or is not legitimate in the profession due to answering the questions of what to write/why write differently from other writers. However, legitimacy comes from honestly answering these questions without expecting the reader or muse or editor to provide an answer instead.

I can answer these two questions. “What will I write?” I will write any subject matter that requires my work to put forward content I have agreed to provide or that I personally have a vested interest in attempting. “Why am I writing?” My purpose in writing is to provide communication to the reader worth some sort of value AND my will to write is inborn and persistent. Opinions will always vary across a readership on the success of a writer’s endeavors.  The answers to these two questions, what to write/why write, do not require right and wrong responses. They do, however, demand an answer with every pen stroke and paragraph.


- Kimberly A. McKenzie 


10:38 pm edt          Comments

2014.08.17 | 2014.07.13 | 2014.06.15 | 2014.05.18 | 2014.04.20 | 2014.04.13 | 2014.03.16 | 2014.02.09 | 2014.01.05 | 2013.12.08 | 2013.11.03 | 2013.09.29 | 2013.09.08 | 2013.09.01 | 2013.08.11 | 2013.07.21 | 2013.07.14 | 2013.06.09 | 2013.05.01 | 2013.04.01

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Here you'll learn all about The Rest Room and Kimberly A. McKenzie: Follow the Blog for facts and fictions.

The Rest Room Fact Sheet

1.  The Rest Room is Room 223 at the Motel Min.

2. Hale, South Carolina in The Rest Room is named after Nathan Hale- a soldier in the Continental Army during the Revolutionarly War.

3.  There are many types of shipping containers: intermodal freight, corrugated boxes, wooden boxes, crates, intermediate bulk, bulk boxes, drums and insulated shipping containers.

4.  Insulated shipping containers are a type of packaging used to ship temperature sensitive products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.  In The Rest Room, non-traditional shipping methods are at the heart of puzzeling circumstances for the three main characters: Kervila, Optin, and Henry. 

Look for the sequel to The Rest Room.  The Dream of Keriye will follow with Kervila's journey to find the truth among a web of intricate coincidences. 

by Kimberly A. McKenzie

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Kimberly A. McKeznie resides in Charleston, SC and has been a writer/author for 20 years.  She is divorced and lives with her two cats: Hailey Commet and Phelecia Providence. The Rest Room is her first published novel. 

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