Hey Writing Friends! It’s me Carmen Elle. I’m in such a euphoric state at the moment. For years, I’ve thought about starting a blog, can’t say that I talked about it, at least, not out loud; but my thought always was, “Carmen, what are you going to talk about?” But, *insert enlightening moment here*, after being an editor for the past two years and understanding more of the struggles that writers just like myself go through, I know exactly what I want to talk about and that’s writing of course! All things writing make my world go around.
I’ve been writing since I was about 8 years old. I started out writing poetry as an escape from unfavorable things going on in my home. From there, I attempted to write a short story about a family separated after a tornado, needless to say, as a 4th grader at the time, that story was never concluded but from there my passion for writing was ignited.
Quick fast forward in the time machine to about when I was 14 or 15 and my inner author began to take shape. I spent my summers in sunny Florida with my dad and to keep me quiet on days when I had to go to work with him he would give me books from my stepmom’s bookshelf. This is when I discovered authors like Eric Jerome Dickey, Carl Weber, Mary B. Morrison, Kimberla Lawson Roby, and the two authors who would become the forward push for me to pick up a pen, Sheneska Jackson and Omar Tyree.
The catalyst for me to put pen to paper was when I read “Blessings” and “Caught Up in the Rapture” by Sheneska Jackson and “Flyy Girl” and “For the Love of Money” by Omar Tyree. These four books blew my mind as a teenager. Now, let me say, my mother threw somewhat of a hissy fit when she found out that my dad was giving me these books that I wouldn’t really classify as teen approved, but she had no idea and neither did I have any idea that these works of fiction art would provoke a fervor and infatuation that would follow me for the rest of my life.
I kept thinking, “I can do this. I can write like Sheneska and Omar.” Boy, did I not know the journey that was ahead of me. I’d say it was about a year later when I had what I called a complete novel. I titled it, “The Games We Play” and although I still have this manuscript, I cannot tell you what this story is about. (Yes, I’m completely in tears while laughing right now.) Although I can’t remember what I wrote in this project from centuries ago, what I can remember is the happiness, joy, and sense of accomplishment I had when I did finish writing that manuscript.
At this point, I didn’t know anything about plot, character development, how to use flashbacks correctly, or how to put a scene together, but what I did know was how much I was falling in love with the craft of writing and the feeling I got from creating my own world. Even though I knew I didn’t do everything correctly, I wasn’t going to give up. I kept writing.
Between 2013 and 2014, I self-published my first and second novels, “What I Need to Change” and “Touchable...I Am”, still not fully knowing what I was doing in writing or publishing I still took the plunge. My experience was great, reception was great as well, but I knew there was more. There was more for me as a writer, an author, and as a publisher.
I knew I wanted to continue to pursue writing so I set out to learn everything I possibly could about it. In 2015, I enrolled in college, after frequent late nights, tears, and bouts of frustration, I walked away with a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising, a minor in Creative Writing, and a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing. The experience of college stretched my “writing brain”, but what changed my writing the most was the sheer amount of reading I had to do; especially in the English grad program. I had to read titles such as, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, “The Shining” by Stephen King, “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, and “The Woman in Black” by Susan Hill. I was able to read across diverse genres and voices which was something I came to truly appreciate.
During this time, I felt as though I was completely immersed in everything that had to do with writing. Sometimes to the point of suffocation but what else can you expect from the college experience. Overall, I had a great college journey and I learned principles that I still use today.
Luckily, when I completed my degree programs I didn’t have to look far for what I was going to do next. While I was still in college I met my writing tribe, the Literary BAEs. Being a part of our collective of amazing writers and editors opened my eyes to how many people just like me also needed guidance and direction in the world of writing. And that’s exactly what we provide. As developmental editors, we have aided numerous clients in taking their manuscripts from figments of their imaginations to published books that have topped bestseller lists. And not only did I meet my writing tribe, I landed a great opportunity with Sistah’s Place magazine where I currently serve as Senior Editor.
While I love helping our clients and working on the magazine, I was still missing something in my writing career. I wanted to help my fellow writers in another way. Last year, in the epicness known as 2020, I started Writers With Purpose (WWP). With WWP, I’ve developed a series of eBooks to help writers of all levels gain a new perspective on writing fundamentals such as finding inspiration and applying it to your writing. Topics you can expect to see range from how to create a writing plan, how to structure your writing, how to use conflict to boost your story, and how to use world building techniques to bring your settings and scenes alive. There’s so much I want to share with everyone and ultimately encourage you, my fellow writers, in bringing your writing dreams to fruition. I want to inspire you, encourage you, and energize you in the same ways that Ms. Sheneska and Mr. Tyree did for me.
So now that you know more about me and my motivation to help you, I hope that you’re ready for this expedition that is your writing journey, the path to a prosperous writing career. I’ll be here with you every step of the way. Be sure to sign up for the WWP Newsletter to receive writing advice and help directly to your inbox and follow me on social media to get daily encouragement to keep you pushing forward in your projects.
Happy Writing 💚