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Category Archives: Writerly Things

Third Time’s the Charm

Last year, for the third time in my life, I left a staff job to go back to freelance writing. That was a pivotal moment for my career/life. I get it now. I need clients not employers. It’s crystal friggin’ clear to me. I hear you, Universe.

Those experiences and the fact that I know so many talented people who are unhappy with their current jobs, prompted me to write a Black Enterprise piece about how to get out of a career rut. I hope it speaks to you. I hope something wonderful happens to you because you read it.

Thank you!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Writerly Things

 

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What’s in a Name?

I work in media. My name is everything. My reputation is everything. When people see my byline, I want them to know they are about to read something high-quality, engaging and well-written. When people hear that I’m working on a project, I want them to expect something great. Your name/reputation is important in any field, but especially so in media.

It bothers me so when I first meet someone and the person immediately wants to call me “D” or some other nickname that is wholly unapproved for use by a complete stranger.  Call my name. * Prince Voice*

I love my name. I do. But let’s delve a bit into who/what exactly is a Demetria.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Stuff I Wrote

 

So, most of you know that I left a staff job not too long ago and I’ve jumped head first right back into freelancing. Of course I’m giving it 1000%, so here are a few links to some of the things I’ve written in the past week. Please click, read, comment and share. I so appreciate it, sugar plum. ;)

Parenting Advice from a Non-Parent
~Huffington Post~

A New Black Female Reality Star I Love
~The Grio~

Occupying Wall Street 140 Characters at a Time
~Huffington Post~

Conflict Minerals in the Congo
~New York Amsterdam News~

How to Divorce a Job
~Black Enterprise~

T.I.’s Book Signing in Harlem
~The Grio~

 

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Bookends

Recently, I had the pleasure of being selected as a mentor for an impossibly awesome program called Girls Write Now. Professional women writers are paired with teenage girls who aspire to be writers. Each mentor and mentee is required to commit to at least one academic year. I love writing and I love having the opportunity to have a positive impact on young people, so being accepted into the program was a great feeling. I couldn’t wait to meet my teen girl and get started on a new relationship. Then something strange happened.

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Posted by on October 4, 2010 in Writerly Things

 

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(Not) Phoning It In

It’s Friday. It’s sunny here in NYC. My brain would like to zone out watching fluffy clouds pass by as I lay on a patch of grass in a park. Work must be done though and I can’t phone it in. I have to really do it. I have to write every e-mail, post and pitch as if it is the only thing the receiver might read from me. Each word represents me. I can’t have shabby stuff riddled with grammatical errors and poor word choice. You never know who’s paying attention.

Okay, that was really me talking to myself to motivate me to push through not so fun stuff. Just thought I’d share.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2010 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Stuff I’m Doing

Over on Madame Noire, I’ll be doing weekly book reviews! Check out the site every Thursday and Saturday for new stuff from me. My first two are already up. One is about Blair Underwood’s latest book and the other is about a personal favorite of mine from Octavia Butler.

Be sure to pop over there when you can. It’s a fun, informative site.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2010 in Writerly Things

 

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Business Card Inspiration

So, as you all know, I’m a freelance writer by day/night/every-waking-second-of-my-life, so networking is pretty critical for me.  In New York, there are 10,594,952 networking events taking place on any given night (Yep, I counted) and I’ve become pretty good at selecting worthwhile events. Well, last night I definitely picked the right one! I had the pleasure of attending Kitty Bradshaw’s event at the Apart showroom to celebrate the second year of her blog (her blogaversary, if you will).

It was crazy ridiculous FAB due to the fashion on the mannequins (which people won in a raffle), free manicures, free-flowing vodka, cupcakes, cheese and not to mention all of the very talented people in attendance. Oh and the gift bag? I’ll put it to you this way, this dress right here was just one of the things in the overflowing gift bag. Yeah, it was like that. All of that was wonderful of course, but for me, the business cards were the real stars.

That pic above shows just some of the cards I collected in the three hours that I attended Kitty Bradshaw’s event. The one that says “Hug a Farmer” is the backside of a card from Cabot (the cheese folks). Isn’t it cuuuute? So anywho, in about a month, I’ll be heading off to San Diego for the NABJ conference and I desperately need to re-up on my business cards. I have some, but I need more…and better ones.

Have you ever seen American Psycho? There’s a scene where all these Wall Street guys basically try to one-up eachother with their business cards and they actually discuss colors, textures and fonts. That’s me! I mean, I’m not trying to one-up anyone necessarily, but I do want dope business cards. The folks at last night’s event had all types of sizes, textures, colors and graphics. Definitely gave me some ideas. When I get my new cards, I will share their crisp loveliness with you all, dear readers.

Thanks for a great event, Kitty and all your sponsors!

 

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100 Dates

I was watching an episode of Say Yes to the Dress the other day and it brought up an interesting idea. (If you’re not familiar with the show, it basically follows real life brides as they search for the perfect wedding gown at New York’s ultra chic bridal salon Kleinfeld.) A bride on the show had already tried on 100 different wedding gowns* before she even got to Kleinfeld. The fashion director noted that trying on 100 gowns was like dating 100 guys, at some point you don’t even remember each one and it’s just pointless.

That got me to thinking. How many guys have I dated in my life? Have I dated 100 guys? More?

Hmmmmm

Being a writer and all, I decided to put my count on paper.  Each guy, from the awkward boys I used to sneak around with before I was “officially” able to date at 16 to the self-assured grown men I encountered when I moved NYC, they were all reduced to mere slash marks on a page.  That loooong break from dating I took after a bad break up with a college boyfriend? Just a space between lines. My first real boyfriend who was a part of my romantic life on and off for years? Just one little line. No matter if the guy was an awkward one time date dud or a guy who became a big part of my romantic life, he got one solitary line. Mind you, I counted each different guy I dated, not each date.

Here’s my count:

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Posted by on June 18, 2010 in Love, Writerly Things

 

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Good Reads Around the Web

That’s me folks! Brown skin lady! (Shout out to Black Star)

I made Afrobella my homepage a long time ago. I love that site to fabulous, itty bitty, well-moisturized pieces.  Well, this week, the site offered up a real treat with a post about the history of natural hair for African American women. The post includes amazing pictures of beautiful 19th century women who fashioned their hair in all types of interesting ways. All the women seemed to be so fashion forward as well. Could you imagine the weight of just being a black woman in America in those days and then add to that the desire to be fierce? Woah. Like any woman, I had (and have) my issues with body image (My chicken legs!), but one thing I love about me is that I LOVE the physical traits that mark me as being of African descent. The full lips, the hair, the wide nose…I’ve always appreciated those things about myself. For those who share those same traits, I hope you love them too! For those with different features, love that ish!

*****

Salon wants to know if there is a use for the abundance of bad writing.  The American Book Review compiled a list of “bad” books that included titles you know and love such as The Great Gatsby. (Personally, I find Fitzgerald’s imagery to be scrumptious.) I’m pretty good at picking up books that contain at least decent writing. I can count on one hand how many books I have bought and left unfinished. That said, I don’t think I would read something that I KNOW is full of horrible writing just for the sake of reading it. I’ll stick to fawning over Toni Morrison’s every genius-laden word.

*****

This is a gripping New York Times piece about a small city an hour north of Manhattan called Newburgh. It’s plagued with gangs and violence. Make sure you take a gander at the slideshow pictures. Some of those pictures look like some sleepy, dilapidated town in rural Mississippi. If there’s a kid in your life who needs help (any kind of help) and you can assist, please do so.

 

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Subways and Dreams

I went to a writer’s workshop last night and one of the people there asked what inspires us to write. Like most writers/artists, there’s no routine to how I gain inspiration. That’d be pretty boring, no? Lots and lots of things/people inspire me, but when I really thought about what inspires my writing (fiction anyway), subways and dreams seem to top the list.

One of the first things that comes to mind when people think of New York City is the subway. At over 100 years old and teeming with the city’s most talented, annoying, rich, poor, stylish and stinking inhabitants , NYC’s subway system is a great place to observe real New Yorkers.

Like anyone who has been living in New York for a while, I have a million subway stories. Some will make you never touch anything on the subway ever again in life, some are moving and some are gut busting funny. The common thread is that all of those stories stuck in my head. They were memorable because they said something true and striking about the human experience. Sometimes I hear a piece of a conversation on the subway and of course since it’s the subway, I don’t know the full context of what was said, but maybe that little thing I heard inspires me to add a layer to a character or provides the seed for a short story. The NYC subway offers some of the best people-watching in the world.

As far as dreams, I have extraordinarily vivid dreams which are often inhabited by random people from my past and characters I’ve invented. I keep a pen and paper and a booklight by my bed so that I can capture all those REM sleep inspirations before they disappear with the dawn of a new day.

I really like going to this writer’s workshop, even when I don’t have anything new to share.  It makes me feel accountable. I can’t call myself a writer and go to a writer’s workshop if I’m not putting words on the paper/screen.  Can’t let the last byline get too old.

Anywho, for the creative types out there, do you have tried and true sources of inspiration?

 
 

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