Last Sunday, I mentioned The Writing Cafe in my Sunday Links post, and I thought that probably this Sunday, I should follow that up with more links to similar content. After all, the point of my own blog is to explore my voice and share it with you. Why should I keep all of this great information to myself?
In my pursuit of bettering my writing, I have started following multiple blogs that focus on aspects of history, society, and more. One of those blogs is called People of Color in European Art History (or Medieval POC). The author explains one of the reasons for the blog’s creation thusly: “The ubiquity in modern media to display a fictitiously all-white Europe is often thoughtlessly and inaccurately justified by claims of “historical accuracy”; this blog is here to emphasize the modern racism that retroactively erases gigantic swaths of truth and beauty” (Medieval POC). This blog is incredibly thorough, very informative, and an excellent reminder that we should be critiquing modern media and not passively consuming it.
So how does the above blog push my writing to improve? For starters, it is a very important reminder for historical writing. Not everyone who was noble was white and not every person who was a slave or servant in some capacity was a person of color. It also reminds readers not to use “historic accuracy” as an illogical justification for exclusion of POC from their writing. To go beyond this, it reminds me to include diversity within my own cast of characters. When I was in junior high/high school, nearly every single character I created was white. I can remember one Latino and one African American in the midst of all of my writing, and frankly, that’s not good enough. That is terrible representation and a huge lack of diversity.
I should add that I am still working to improve this in my own writing. I should also add a caution here for white writers who want to include diversity in their stories: do not rely on stereotypes. If you really don’t know anything about a different perspective, do your research. Don’t be a lazy writer. Ask questions and find a diverse writing group to give you invaluable critique. Listen to your writing group. Don’t know where to start? Go here!
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this blog before, but you should also consider looking at Two Nerdy History Girls. They tend to write about history from the 1700s to the early 1900s as they both write historical romance novels. (Note: I’ve never read either of their various books, but I really enjoy their blog!) Period fashions and customs make frequent appearances. They also discuss historical recreations.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. In fact, when I was taking the courses for my TESL certification, I took two classes together, one for teaching reading and the other for teaching writing. The two skills are intricately linked. “If you don’t have time to read,” Stephen King says, “you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
I have been so busy lately, that I have not read much for pleasure. This means that my writing has fallen off as I have felt frequently uninspired. I am still constantly adding books to my “to read” list over on Goodreads, but I’ve been lax about actually reading them. That said, I am still always on the lookout for different books, and this is a great place to find a diverse number of titles.
I think one of the best ways to improve your writing and give it some depth is to simply open your ears and humbly shut your mouth. Listen to a variety of voices (even if you disagree with them), read from a variety of authors. Go outside of your comfort zone and expand your worldview.
As I close, I want to share Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of the Single Story.” It’s a wonderful discussion and well worth the watch!
As always, please share similar links in the comments below!