Category Archives: Writing

For people who talk to God over cocktails…

I talk to God a lot. Sometimes he talks back. A week ago, over the ocean and caiprihinas, I reflected on a previous conversation we had and considered my friend who passed away, almost fifteen years ago to the day. Below me were fishermen who continuously tossed their nets into the ocean, and several times their efforts resulted in nothing measurable in return. Until it did.

(Disclaimer: I could have been drunk, but I wanted to share this all the same, just in case it helps someone else.)

We are vessels.
At an early age, we are inclined to know our truest gift(s). Be it empathy, resources, compassion, intelligence, humor, wisdom, or an ability to love, we have no preoccupation about using them. To give what we have is simply all that we know.

With time, and as life unfolds, we presume ownership over these things. Sometimes an experience may lead us into believing that our gifts are ours to disseminate at our will. An unfortunate experience may make us believe that our blessings are ours to stockpile and to share only at our own discretion.

The false notions of scarcity and conditional reciprocity take hold. We withhold good and love, when its in our power to share it, under the logical guise of self-preservation.

And for a while, we are preserved.
We feel safe.
But something usually feels off.

Perhaps, it’s because we forgot that we are merely God’s distribution system. What we have is not for ourselves.

The very things we want the most are usually ours to give first. I can’t be sure, but maybe this is why the ancient sages said: GIVE and it shall be given unto you. GIVE and you shall receive.

But God can’t do much with a pitcher that doesn’t pour.

If you want love, give love when its in your power to do so.
If you want money, give money when its in your power to do so.
If you want support, give support when its in your power to do so.

Your well will never run dry. No such monster exists. Give widely. Love freely. Hope abundantly. Keep tossing your nets wide. And there’s a good chance that you will find that your cup will always runneth over because your supplier has an overflowing storehouse just for you

(Blog Challenge, Day 21): The thing I am least afraid of after writing Lotus…

The first time I believed Lotus was finished on May 27, 2013, I felt a sense of bittersweet pride.

The second time I believed it was finished on December 26, 2013, I felt anxiety, excitement, and relief.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth times I believed it was finished, I felt confident, yet mildly insecure.

The seven and (final) time I believed it was finished, I was just plain old exhausted..

Despite the 187 years that it took me to complete Lotus, my gratitude for it being out there for consumption continues to trump my fear of it not being well-received.  Believing that it was truly my best effort has been an award in and of itself.  Even after rereading the last five chapters of the book today, I noted things that I wish I would have added and things that probably would have served the book better if they were left out.  Yet somehow, none of that seems to keep me up at night, which is an astonishing feat for someone like me.  In a strange sense, my illogical lack of anxiety forces me to believe that writing this story is exactly what I am supposed to be doing at this point in my life.  So whatever comes from this path is much easier to accept than if I never tried at all..

 

-Kay

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

(Blog Challenge, Day 15) My post book launch Oscars speech

 

I know that I’m behind on this blog challenge but don’t worry! THE BOOK has officially been launched out into the stratosphere and now lives among the interwebs alongside gossip websites, adult entertainment, and NETFLIX (in case you were wondering).  It will go down as one of the most nerve-wrecking and magical days in my life, primarily because I didn’t expect it to evolve into what it became.  The honest truth, the truth that will probably reveal the extent in which I need to see a shrink one day is this…I really didn’t expect many people who I know personally to buy the book.  I mean, I expected my mother and her bible study crew to purchase it, my older sister’s friends, my brother’s girlfriend, a few cousins in Mississippi and my in-laws in Louisiana to support it, but that was pretty much the extent of my expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in my book.  It was a joy and delight to write Lotus and I think it’s awesome in the way that awesome things sometimes can make you cry, reflect, and eat chocolate cookies.  It’s just that I also figure that people get sick of being “sold to”, especially when they aren’t looking to buy something.  So I spent weeks deciding to focus my marketing efforts outside of my own networks and that almost proved to be a mistake of epic proportions.

It is only because of the people who I know, that Lotus has already been propelled much farther than I could have ever imagined. It turns out that people around me, physically and virtually, just won’t allow me to be mediocre.  This book has been loved on and supported and passed on by people who have known me before I was born and by people who I have never met.  Whenever I try to do the math to figure out why so many people have been willing to carry this book further than I can see, I still come up short.

So I am only left to thank God.

But before I drop the mic in Jesus’ name, I also think it’s only fair for me to thank a lot of people whose support I couldn’t acknowledge in my book, but who I would like to thank now.  My husband, kids, parents, siblings and best friends have already gotten their shine, so now, my heartfelt thanks go to…

Brooke Martin, who after reading the first version of my first chapter (which was pretty bad) convinced me that my book was going to be made into a movie…

Margaret Diel, for showing me how to give my readers something to see, taste, feel and smell…

Marty Dryk, for the 10 line edits and for allowing me to challenge your use of the Oxford comma…

Julie Vassilatos, for that one conversation you probably don’t remember which encouraged me to go back and rewrite that first bad chapter…

Jimmy Greenfield, for allowing me to win Best Blog Post back in 2012, when I needed desperately to win something…

Akeya for being one of the first people to tell me that I had some writing chops and for connecting me with people time and time again over the years…

To Kim for being one of my many animal spirits (as I am yours)…

To people like Syreta for knowing the power of her “shares”…

To Mia for your love, support and for reminding me to breathe…

Thank you to all the Spelman “Moms” and alumni who literally didn’t think twice before buying the book…

And to my Eta Kappa Sorors who have passed this on in the same way you would for a daughter or sister…

Thank you for the words of encouragement from the phenomenal lineage of BOSSES who have come out of Whitney M. Young High School and Beasley Academic Center…

Thank you to Stradford Stone for designing this very website and to Khalil for taking pictures of me when it was 45 degrees outside…

Thank you to Nisha and Karla for both saying you can’t believe that someone you know wrote Lotus.  That makes me feel pretty official…

Thank you to William for ALWAYS always always always supporting the things that I write…

Thank you to Eddie for your advice on book two and for “debriefing” with me for 30 minutes about book one (#manfan)…

Thank you to my Harris School classmates who have likely eyed my book with great suspicion, but who have purchased it anyway!

Thank you to my Aunt Marilyn in Mississippi who has already purchased four copies to pass around…

Thank you to long, lost friends who picked up their copy too…

Thank you to anybody and everybody who has purchased this book. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you enjoy it.

 

-K

 

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

(Blog Challenge, Day 11) The best writing advice I’ve ever come across

We all know people who have said, “I know that I’m supposed to be a writer” but they never write.

These people believe in the voice inside of their head.  They believe in the uniqueness of the running narratives that is constantly playing throughout their day.  They believe that narrative is extraordinary is some way – whether it’s especially witty or open-minded, sadistic or sarcastic. They believe they have something to say and they are at least 80% sure that no one else has said yet.

They just have a little trouble getting out of their head.

When I find myself in this conundrum, I have found there are only two real solutions:  Discipline and the conjuring of your muse.

Last year, I had the opportunity to interview one of the most successful bloggers of all time, Nicole Knepper, of Moms Who Drink and Swear. She gave me a piece of advice I have heard from other great writers including one of my sheroes, Maya Angelou. These two women, who on the surface seemed to be as different as Venus and Mars, provide eerily similar advice to up and coming writers. Whether you write for hobby or for a living, I think their words will ring true.

From Maya:

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”

From Nikki:

“Write. Write all the time. Let go and write your soul. The time and place for edits and critique is not during the release of consciousness. Let go…..Writing is all soul. Writing that lacks authenticity is so obvious. But I guess the answer to your question, if I had to pick one thing [to be a great writer], I would choose talent. There is a talent to being genuine and honest in one’s writing and readers have a talent to detecting this genuine honesty.”

To Maya’s point, I wholeheartedly believe there is a writing muse or spirit.  I have felt it when I know I have written something kick a** and I know when she is not present in my work.  Be it divine inspiration or the perfect alignment of my words with my intention, my best work comes when that invisible force is present.  Sometimes she comes every time I am holding my laptop, other times she is away on vacation, but I am learning that the best way to conjur her is…to Nicole’s point, to write, to write more and to keep writing until what I put down on paper feels right in both my mind and heart.

 

-Kay

Looking for your next book? Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you to be a friend.