This journey is unlike anything I could’ve imagined ( good thing this whole thing isn’t my daydream). Because I didn’t think I had it in me, this thing that everyone else saw in me. This thing that earned me the honor of teaching twenty-two blossoming minds.

I was only substituting for about a month and a half before this kindergarten class was tossed into my lap.

I’m considered a long-term substitute; these babies are mine for the rest of the year. I don’t have a teaching certification. My BA didn’t have anything to do with education. I didn’t even want this responsibility. But anyone who is a writer knows about the call to adventure, when the protagonist’s world turns upside down, random people start coming out of no where and the protagonists begins to learn things they wouldn’t have thought to ask about.

And it’s funny because when I prayed, all I asked for was a little push in the right direction. I want to teach college level one day and all I wanted was to be shown the way…

And I think I’ve hit that first conflict. I haven’t been able to write or read or do anything like that for me. I wasn’t able to finish the first draft of my novel for Nanowrimo and I’m only six chapters away. Honestly, I’m crying on the inside, trying to figure out what’s going to come next because I know where my heart really lies; it’s in my writing.

I don’t know where I’m going with this – with this career shift or this blog post. I guess this is me just trying to figure it out, coming to terms with what I’ve asked for.

It just feels strange, knowing that I was heard.

And answered so swiftly.

What does this mean?

– B. Brown

(art by Randall David Tipton: Logjam)

Today is the day…

I start my Poetry Fundamentals class. I’ve reviewed my readings (which is a crap ton of poems by poets with funny names) and my assignments: analyzing object and list poems and discussing them with my fellow classmates.

And I have two poems due by Sunday for my portfolio.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

But I’m hell bent at becoming a refined poet so I’m hungry for this knowledge,

Ready for this challenge.


My first day of substituting is this Wednesday.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

But there’s this woman in my dreams who I aspire to be. She’s been teaching for years, has numerous publications under her belt and has a consisting posting schedule for her website.

These are just some of the steps I’m taking to get to her.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to feel like I’m in the right place at the right time with the right people.

I’m on my way.

– B. Brown

5 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) While Writing My First Novel

1. Freewriting is fun but when you’re creating a long, complex novel, outlining is your bestfriend. I started writing this novel with just a few basic plot points and as I wrote, I sort of just winged it. The story has since revealed itself to be more complex and longer than I anticipated. I thought it’d be just a novella but this baby is well over 30,000 words and I’m not even halfway done and I’ve taken down notes of more stuff I want to add during the revision process. I believe my writing process wouldn’t be as tedious if I’d created a well thought out outline before hand.

2. It’s best to have more than just a few characters. I’ve fallen in love with my main characters but my main characters need some help conveying the whole story. Since the start of my rough draft, I’ve added about ten new characters to my story. Not every one has a huge role but they are extremely important because they help populate my fictional world, one that I am trying to make as vivid as possible. Not only that, they help with the cohesion of my scenes.

3. Research your supernatural elements. Magic is a prominent theme in my story yet I only knew a few things about the metaphysical details I wanted to apply. If your magic system is closely related to real world practices, do yourself a favor and research as much as you can. Watch Youtube videos, read some books and talk to people. We want our work to be as authentic as necessary.

4. Find a well-seasoned author of your chosen genre and analyze the crap out of their writing. Pay attention to how they set up their fictional world, how they set tone and which literary devices they utilize. I suggest your author of choice be especially inspiring to you.

5. Know your literary conventions. And to know your conventions, you have to identify what genre(s) you’re work best fits into. Romance novels have different attributes than horror or crime novels. These attributes are what define romance and readers buy them expecting some romantic stuff to pop off. My readers will have certain expectations of my supernatural thriller so I have to make sure I deliver (just have to make sure it’s not too predictable or cliche).

I hope these tips have helped. Thank you for reading 🙂

– B. Brown

Writing Tips: Breathing Space

We want to know the most,
so we research, listen and watch

to be better,
so we think, plot and execute

to become the best,
so we wake, push and write

and write and write and write
and write some more

until it becomes a chore
an assignment, a quota, a demand

and then we reprimand
ourselves with a shaking hand

under conditional rules
with splintered tools

we are fools for this love,
this creative writing passion

overthinking, mind overcrowding
with words, lines and pages

but we are not computers
or vending machines

we are sages, creating
dimensions from absolutely nothing

who need water to feel
and winds to heed

time and space, balance
and room to breathe

– B. Brown

Don’t forget to allow yourself to unwind. Pushing yourself , holding yourself to higher standards, demanding more from yourself is necessary to improve yourself but our brains are muscles, don’t forget that. Our brains are muscles so don’t forget that it can be strained, torn and snapped. Allow yourself a break from the craft to recharge your talent.

and if you’re still not convinced…

(image courtesy of Pinterest)

My Pardon

I leave

my dark work

to karma,

your blows will

only produce poetry

after I’ve turned

the other cheek,

uplifting me

-B. Brown

(art courtesy of Pinterest, but if anyone knows the artist, please enlightenment me because I love this style)


Writing Tip: Creating Constellations

So, I found out I’m not a linear thinker. Instead of opening tabs in my mind, one by one, from left to right in a coherent sequence, my brain likes to flood my mind’s eye with pop-up windows, creating layers of thoughts that are difficult for me to sift through. I can write lists, create tables and use templates to stay organized but wouldn’t you know that these methods, for some reason, feel too organized for my mind.

I know what you’re thinking, but B, is that really a thing, being too organized? When it comes to brainstorming, yes, it’s so a thing for me and it’s why obvious methods of organization don’t stick with me. I don’t really know what this means about the kind of person I am, hopefully nothing too concerning, but all I know is that if my mind feels confined or restricted in any way, it gets all pissy and won’t let those flood gates open. What I’ve doing for the past couple of years is picking a pop-up box to focus on, while others expire and disappear from my mind. Even if I managed to record as many of those fading pop-ups as I could, when I come back to them, they don’t feel as tangible. I’ll ask myself, where the hell did that thought come from? fail to make the connection to my context and then dismiss the idea.

When I think about it, I wonder how many great ideas I’ve trashed, those ideas that were before their time, so to speak (RIP those brilliant story plots that got killed off).

So, B, what are doing to get your literary shit together? I’m glad you asked. The method that I’ve found that works for me isn’t a new one. In fact, it makes perfect sense for those who hate numbers and boxes (pfft, numbers, who needs em?). Some people call it clustering, others call it mind mapping, but since I had to make the method more appealing to myself, I call it creating constellations.

I knew about this technique for a while but kind of blew it off because I thought it would be just like the other mainstream methods but it’s not. And I tell you why.

What makes a big difference is that my brain is free to empty it’s mess of thoughts without worrying about what should come first, what should go last, which thought is more important, which thought is too minuscule, and more importantly, I can retrace my line of thinking, keeping the context prominent. There is no order I need to follow. No cap. And when I’ve exhausted a branch, I can hop over to another bubble in flash, keeping up with my spewing thoughts so that I don’t miss a thing, and I can go right back to the other bubble to expand some more, with no time lost and no thought left behind.

I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with this method and probably use it already but if you don’t, if you have the same hang ups as I use to have, I want to tell you to get in the habit of sitting down and using this method. It’s freeing because it doesn’t have to make sense on the paper, what’s important is that you cooperate with your complex, not-always-rational way of thinking.

It kind of annoys me that it took this long to know how to use this method effectively but better late then never right? I already have a short stack of constellations accumulated. I’ve decided to date them and over time, look back and see how my thinking process develops.

What methods do you use to brainstorm?

– B. Brown

Just In Case No One Told You…

You are good and lovely, inside and out. Others view you as strong and capable. They see you as smart. Sometimes you doubt the truth of your value. But no matter what, I own the ultimate measure of your worth. Only My opinion matters, and I consider you an irreplaceable treasure. You can be confident […]

via Ultimate Measure — Spoken to Me

(Glitter Fashion Photography, photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Check In

why are you smiling? he asked puzzled

as if I needed a reason to smile,

it’s been a good day, I tell him

oh, you’ve musta made some money today, he said

I shrug, well, there’s that too, I say

but I’ve had this smile since I woke up

in a bed of books and papers and cheez-its,

assignments submitted, word counts achieved, I wanted to tell him

I wanted to say that the dream I’d been having was reluctant to let me go,

that it had more to show me, more it wanted me to know

I wanted to add, it had been a promise that,

what I was working towards was within my grasp

but instead I asked, why are you smiling?

’cause you are, he said to me

– when your guardian angel comes to check on you

– B. Brown

(oil painting by Kathy Jones)




This is for You

I woke up sensing

how hard this really is for you,

you had to take an extra five to get out of bed

took three expresso shots instead of two

you almost cried

after spending ten minutes just staring at the screen

fiddling your pen and flipping through notebook pages

you couldn’t get it out, could you?

afraid it would be still born,

afraid it’d be malformed

certain this wasn’t how it was supposed to be done

so that brought you here,

to me

so I can tell you

there’s no right wrong way to do this

there’s only your way

so take an extra hour if you need to

whip it up with no lid if you have to

just don’t forget

that everything that comes from you

is of value

just put something down

anything of you will do

I promise it will

now just will yourself

to follow through

– B. Brown

P.S. please don’t quit on us. we need you

(art courtesy of Pinterest)