J.D. Brewer on Criticism Vs. Negativity

Check out the Video Below — On Criticism Vs. Negativity — for a personalized reading of the following blog.  I get asked all the time, “How do you deal with criticism? Especially when it’s malicious and unkind?” It took me a while to understand this question. After all, what does it mean to deal with something anyways? Deal implies bargaining. It implies that I have a chance in making someone see things my way. If I compromise in this way, if I change in that way, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll change your mind and like me and what I’m doing. But when it comes to criticism, dealing is impossible because everyone loves their own opinion far too much. Then the question gets tricky because I have a beautiful relationship with criticism. Criticism, when it its constructive, when it makes me focus on my craft, when it makes me stretch to be better, is my best friend. I’ve taken many insightful comments from readers and peers and have applied them because criticism is something you should use to make informed decisions about your writing. You don’t deal with criticism. You work with it. But then again, what they really want to know cannot be found within the question, “How do you deal with criticism?” What they really want to know is, “How do you wake up in the morning, hear someone be a jerk-face about what you are doing, and push through to finish it anyways?” They want to know, “How do you work within the fear that you’re just not good enough? How do you get past the...

Vagabond’s Sequel, The Birth of Anarchy has Been Released Out Into the Wild!

That’s right folks! The Birth of Anarchy launched this month without a hitch! It is officially available on Amazon! For those of you who are visual, check out The Birth of Anarchy’s Book Trailer, featuring music by singer-songwriter, Carrie Williams! She is super talented if you un-mute the button on YouTube! Also, as a special treat and at the request of one of my amazing readers, I’ve read the first three paragraphs of The Birth of Anarchy out loud under a Christmas tree!    The Birth of Anarchy is Vagabond’s Sequel. Below is a little bit more information if you are curious!  “The past is just as unwritten as the future, for both places in time hold unborn stories, and the only moment you can truly trust exists between the here and now.” Anicetus Petrakis grew up searching for unborn stories—those stories lost in the crevices of time and the shifting perspectives of those who wrote and rewrote the Republic’s history. Groomed to follow the family tradition of politics, he was taught to navigate a world manipulated by half-facts and missing-truths. His future appeared to have a set course until he learns about the Unnamed, a Terrorist organization within the Rebels on the Tracks, threatening to create Transgenic abominations that will contaminate the Human Genome. At the request of his grandfather, Anicetus plants himself in the midst of the Rebels under the guise of garnering peace between the Citizens of the Republic and the Vagabonds of the Tracks. Hucksley, an incorrigible Track-girl takes on the task of guiding him through this new path, but can Anicetus outmaneuver her ploys in order to...

Why it is Okay for America to Mourn with France

I have seen and heard a lot of callous responses to people showing support for France, and, as is the social norm today, whether you’ve changed your profile picture to the French flag or not has become another line of division for personal and political agendas. There are some who think waving a French flag is anti-American while some just want to complain about something. There are others who are outraged that there’s a wide support for France when news of Kenya and Beirut were barely a blip on the concern radar. The most important concern that really has a leg to stand on is the ignorance involving other worldly events. I think it horrible that Americans are less inclined to notice when things happen in non-Western countries. Perhaps it has been drilled into our heads that bad things just happen in places like that. Perhaps we see it so often on the news that we’ve grown desensitized to the bombings, the riots, and the wars. These countries are so far removed from the things we know and understand that they almost feel like legends rather than realities, and we do not see the tragedies for what they are. How can we truly know when we are oceans away, cultures away, mindsets away? This mindset, in itself, should be reconsidered for the ignorant beast that it is. Perhaps this is a good time to remind Americans that France is not the only country in mourning and that atrocious things continue to happen all over the world. Yet this is the event of the week Americans seek to understand.  Why is it that...

To the Motherless Daughters on their Wedding Day

The first boy I ever loved didn’t love me back. We were small town kids with small town hearts, and neither person knew how to speak the language of the other. And there is a timeless beauty in that. I don’t blame him. At the time, I was a grieving hot-mess. I was learning how to be a motherless daughter, an abandoned sister, a prize in a custody battle between a step-dad I hardly knew and a father I barely met, and the perfect student. I had to wear a mask for the world, and more often than not, that mask would falter. I’d break down. I’d loose control. I’d mess up. I’d say the wrong thing. I’d cry at the wrong moment. To ask a teenage boy to take that on was never meant to end well for me. Yet this crack in the capillaries, those heartstrings that tie us to moments in time, was the first pain I could make sense of after my mother died. I finally felt normal because it was the kind of pain all my classmates went through. For a long time, I’d listen to my friends cry over a boy and wonder what that felt like. What did it mean to miss someone that left by choice rather than someone that left by death? When it finally happened, I wish I could say it hurt less than the other loss, and I wish I could say that one loss wasn’t exasperated by the other. But this first heartbreak was made more visceral the moment I realized I couldn’t run straight to my...

And the Winner of the Universe is…

 A Vacation Story: It was the kind of fishing pole that’d snap in half with the slightest of pressure. White rod, yellow reel, with Snoopy sleeping on the job. Yet when it was placed in my hands, it could have been Excalibur for all the power I felt by holding it. Before I even left the store, I tore past the plastic and the twisty ties trapping it to the box, and wielded it through the air. It whistle-whipped, promising to do so much damage when I finally cast it into the lake. On the dock, my expectations did not falter. My arch-nemesis, also known as my brother, sat next to me, showing me how to weave a piece of left-over fried chicken onto the pronged hook. Jeremi had been at the dock an entire week before me without catching a single fish, and I could see each of his failed attempts under the lamplight as if I’d been there to witness his shame myself. You see, everything back then was a competition, as everything is when you’re the little sister, and I had this feeling I would succeed where he had not. Yet, when I went to cast the line like he’d taught me how, the hook got caught at the eye of the storm, and, rather than sail smoothly through the air into the patch of yellow light on dark water, it made an unmanageable mess of failed expectations. There was a snicker to my left of the condescending variety, but Jeremi set his pole down in the interest of a fair fight to help me sort...

The Rubik Cube Complex: On Ignoring the White Noise So You Can Write

I feel like the writing world needs to pull an idea off the table of expectation and reevaluate it. It’s this idea that there is the right way and a wrong way to write or get something published. I think that’s the thing that cripples people when they want to be writers. They become so concerned about how others are doing it, that they forget to actually try and see what works for themselves. Before they’ve even written a novel, they give up on the basis of the overwhelming white noise. And by “they,” I mean me two years ago… three years ago… ten years ago… What makes things difficult lies in the fact that the writing community is just as polarized as the rest of the world. We face these polarizing choices on a daily basis, and the questions plague us with a viral distraction: Independent or traditional publishing? Outline or run harry-carry on that manuscript? Is Goodreads or Facebook more appropriate to advertise on? Do “real” writers need NaNoWriMo? M.F.A. or the school of life? Get an agent or be a lone ranger? Over and over again, we are asked to pick a side of the fence to land on, dig in our heels, and say, “I am right.” I guess it’s because, for most of us, it took a lot of courage to pick any path concerning writing in the first place, so of course we need to believe that we chose right for ourselves. But my writing career is far too young for me to believe wholeheartedly with any side of this dichotomy laden fence...