Why the Black Man Must Write

Why the Black Man Must Write


Interesting title, right? I think so myself.

While I can use any nationality in the title, I chose to use the black man for a couple of reasons.

The first one being that I am a black man, and for the longest time I just automatically thought that writing wasn’t for me. I automatically thought that I wasn’t good enough to write.

And as I got older, I kind of started thinking about what were the things that shaped that reality for me? Why was I convinced that I had nothing to offer to the world when it came to creating, from a writing standpoint?

I tell you, mainly it was because in school I wasn’t good at English, I wasn’t good at spelling. This was something that I automatically counted myself out.

I was that kid that would come into class and put my head down because I was afraid to read aloud in front of everyone else.

So, quite naturally, you could imagine, I would have nothing to do with anything to do with writing or reading. So, this is why I wanted to make this blog — because I know there’s other young black men out there that feel the same way.

I was going to say that there’s other young men period, black, white, no matter what. But I’m focusing mainly on the black man for this reason, because I know for a fact from where I come from most of the kids don’t have examples that could talk to them from this perspective, this point of view.

I even thought about taking my hat off today because typically when I want to do a video I want to be “presentable”. I don’t want to come off a certain way.

But, the thing that I’m realizing and I’m understanding is that everyone’s differences don’t count them out. Just because I don’t come in a suit and a tie with a smile  — don’t believe that I don’t love God. Or just because I don’t come in a suit and tie doesn’t mean I’m not about my business.

And so the typical frame of an author that I see, and I saw, never looked like me. So, I want to be an example, but I also want to get this point across.

I’m going to go back and tell you a story about me growing up. As I stated earlier, me growing up, I wanted nothing to do with writing, I wanted nothing to do with reading. And, my sister, my younger sister who’s two years younger than me was the complete opposite.

It was like she was born into it, because our mother wasn’t a reader, she wasn’t someone that read to us all the time or anything like that. My sister just came out wanting to read, she came out very intelligent.

I remember, at an early age feeling like my sister was a lot more smarter than me and that messed with my self-confidence even more.

She would read some of anything, but most of the books that I saw, I had absolutely no interest in.

You see, I wanted to watch stuff like New Jack City. The outside world, the reality that I faced, people were selling drugs, people were shooting, people were robbing, people were going to prison.

All the men that I knew were in jail or on the corners. So, the reality that I saw was not like that, what was in those books. I couldn’t escape into anything to do with teen love or any of that stuff, that’s not what I was looking for.

I didn’t even know that this played a part in me not wanting to read.

But it wasn’t until one day I was in school and they did a mandatory thing where we had to read this book. We had to read a book and we had to do a report on it.

And I would typically do the little thing where I would look on the back and I would try to hurry up and I would try to write something from what I got from the back.

But, for some reason this time I figured I’m going to have to get a book and I’m going to have to actually read this book. We went to the library and they said you can pick out any book that you want, I’m not going to give you a book, but you have to read this book.

I picked up this book, and it was a book called Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers.

I was really intrigued by this book because, first of all, I saw that the person on the book cover looked like me. And also, some of the lingo that I read real quick resonated with me because I recognized it, I understood it. Me coming from the streets, I understood what it was talking about in this book, so I’m going to read this book.

And I tell you, this is the first time in my life that I had ever picked up a book and was serious about reading this book and I could not put it down.

I finally understood how my sister felt. I was engulfed in this book by Walter Dean Myers, called Scorpion.

The main character had a lot in common with me, his mother working, him and his siblings at home, still being faced with the little things in the community and stuff like that.

I connected with this book and for the first time I was just blown away with reading.

Now I would be lying if I said I became an avid reader after that. I just wanted to stress the point that this was my first time being able to connect in a book.

And as I reflect on it now and try to wonder — why did it take me so long to get to that place?

It was mostly because everything that I saw and everything that I heard in those books, I didn’t identify with.

And so, as I look at my little niece the other day, on her third birthday, put on a little doctor’s coat and say she wanted to be a doctor, because she was looking at this young character, Doc McStuffins, someone that looked like her, and be so excited about being a doctor.

It just came to me and I realized, I’ve known this, but it just really connected and that’s why I wanted to write and do this vlog today because I want you to see the importance on characters that look like you.

If you’re black, if you’re hispanic, if you’re indian, I don’t care what you are, there needs to be books, there needs to be content, I don’t just want to say books, because content is important.

The thing about it is, is we all die. You die, I die, we all die, but the content lives on. And so, here it is, people are putting out content that’s going to live for years and years. If you look at the Bible, that content has been passed on forever.

I was watching a little documentary the other day and they’ve got a gay Bible out now. The thing about it is, even if people don’t resonate with that Bible today — 20, 30, 40, 50 years from when everybody dies off there’s going to be a whole new set of people and they’re going to be living by a whole different set of standards.

Why do people write stuff, why do they create literature?

They create literature because literature, or content, lives on.

And so, when I say why the black man must write it’s because you have to leave your story. You have to leave content.

You can’t leave it up to everyone else to paint your narrative.

We’ve done that for so long and that’s why the narratives, even to you and to your little kids, they buy into this narrative of what we’re supposed to be like, what you’re supposed to be like.

And I just don’t want to make this a white vs black thing, I’m specifically talking to black people.

You have a responsibility to create.

You can’t leave it to everyone else to create. And this is the reason why I have this new found passion. It’s not like I was born and I’ve had this desire to write, write books, children’s books, adult books, whatever, but I’ve always had ideas.

I’ve always had stories, I just didn’t know I was good enough to write them down.

I just didn’t know I was good enough to put it into action. Because somehow, society has shaped it in my mind as a little kid that it wasn’t for me.

But, now as I’m older I see. I want to encourage each and every person, I don’t care how good you are, how good you think you are, there’s editors for that.

There’s transcribers for that, there’s people that can take your thoughts and put it into words.

You need to create content. Your voice needs to be heard. No one else has your voice. No one else can give what you can give.

And these are self-talks I have for myself.

When I first had ideas about writing, I begged somebody, went to my sister, went to everybody — “I need you to write this!”

But no one took the time to be passionate enough to do exactly what I wanted them to do. When I did find people to do it, they couldn’t match the voice that I had. Or match the understanding, they couldn’t get out what I wanted to get out.

So, guess who’s left to do it. You.

And whatever it is you put out, is going to live on, someone’s going to hear it, and depending on what it is you write, you could change the world. You could make the world a better place, at least for one person.

So, why the black man must write is because you have to leave your narrative, you have to tell your story, you can’t leave it up to everyone else.

You’ll die, but your words, your content, your videos, your writings, those things live on.

If you want to be remembered for doing anything, the best way to do it is to put it in a book, to put it in video form, put it in audio form. You have to leave content. And that’s what it is.

I’ll tell you this, once you start, you won’t regret it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be so excited about being able to overcome this place that you thought that you could never go and it’ll encourage you to continue to make more content.

I started off with one book idea, I’ve already finished three children’s books. I’m half through two adult books. And it’s been a blessing to me. I’ve always had stories on my heart, I just never thought that I was the one that could be able to put them out there.

And so, you can look forward to a lot from me and I’m going to continue to create. And it’s going to venture off into more than just writing. I highly want to encourage you guys, encourage you to get out there and start putting your words, putting your thoughts into words. It’s important, it’s important for the future, for your legacy.

So, that’s really all I had today for this blog, and I hope you would take the time to review this and perhaps share it with someone, share it with a young man.

Share it with a teenage boy that may be in that same place that I was in – could care less about school, could care less about reading, because everything that they saw it wasn’t reality. It wasn’t the reality that they have back at home. There’s plenty of people like that.

So, that’s all I have for you.

Take care, take charge, and God bless!

TW Bright

Be sure to subscribe to my blog, my Facebook, and YouTube. Find me at twbrightbooks.com – that’s my personal website. You can find me through Instagram and Twitter all on there.

Diversity and Experience with Kids at Cumberland Elementary School

TW Bright’s Experience with Diversity and Kids at Cumberland Elementary

Hey today, I want to share with you something that is really cool. I’m actually going to take you a different page, but before I do, I want to give you a quick story behind it.

Last year I had the greatest opportunity to volunteer at one of the most awesomest schools I’ve ever been to, Cumberland Elementary School. For you all who are a part of Cumberland, I give you a shout out and I tell you, I love you guys — you guys are awesome.

When I go to this school, I started seeing kids from all different nationalities, and I’m not just talking about African-American and black. I’m talking about kids from China, from Guam, from Ethiopia, kids who speak Swahili, kids that speak all different kinds of languages, everywhere.

And I’m like, what’s this? First of all, I was actually transporting the kids, and some of the kids I was transporting couldn’t understand me. So, I’m a person who likes challenges and I was excited that I was able to do that, so I asked, could I volunteer?

I was cleared to volunteer and when I went to volunteer, one of the most awesome things happened. I saw this picture when I went into one of the classrooms, Ms. Rodriguez’s classroom, and it was this sea of different nationalities. It was probably only three different kids, three different languages that were represented in that one class at the time.

But, it was so awesome because I was thinking about at the kids and how they were able to see the world from a different light, from somewhere that not even I’ve ever seen it before.

We have kids with the Muslim hijab things, whatever they’re called to cover your head, you know, you just see people from different countries and they look different, they sound different, and they dress different. One of the things with a lot of the kids from the African nations is the boys wore pink and purple, and it was totally new to me living here in America.

I started to see that it’s really all about our perception – the way that we see things.

So, this was a great opportunity for me and I think it was a great opportunity for the children as well.

Just to see and just to know that these kids are going to be able to go anywhere and relate to anybody because of the experience they had as a little kid at school. They’re going to be able to accept people who are different than them. They’re going to be able to accept people who talk different than them and who smell different than them, because quite frankly, they’ve got some different smells too.

So, it was an awesome opportunity and it was one that I will never forget. I want to give a shout out to Ms. Rodriguez, one of the most awesomest third grade teachers, Ms. Walker, I love these two, Ms. Rusesky, the principal, and everyone else, there’s a ton of other teachers, and I can’t name them all. But, with this Vlog I wanted to share that, and I’m going to write a blog behind this as well because I think that this is something that needs to be shared.

You don’t find this every day. I don’t know if you’re political or not, if you’re on Trump’s side, if you’re on the other side, I don’t care about any of those sides.

I’m not looking at this as a political thing, I’m looking at this as something that absolutely is sharing love, caring for other people, caring for your neighbor.

Some of the things that I saw, because I had the opportunity to come back up there this year, (I just left the school), but it was such a blessing to my heart to be able to see some of the kids that I worked with last year.

There’s one kid, it was him and his brother that got on the bus, and these two kids they seemed so angry, like an angry spirit or demeanor to them, they didn’t trust people, they were mean, they used to spit, all of these different things.

As the time went past, I saw them gradually loosen up, get better, and started to trust people. And right then I said, this is such a blessing.

Because here it is, these kids are probably scared out of their minds, God knows what they’ve been through, but they’ve had the opportunity to come here to the United States of America and come to this little school called Cumberland Elementary, and their whole life is being changed from this very experience.

This year I was able to see the one gentleman as well, and he’s a totally different kid, (his brother isn’t at the school anymore), but it really blessed my heart.

He was one of the kids that, in the wintertime, we had to go and buy him clothes because he was coming with shorts on and he was out shivering.

And just to see the growth in him, and the happiness in him, it brings a lot of joy to my heart. So, this is an experience that I’ve been blessed with, I feel like I was blessed by God just to have this experience, and this is an experience that I will never let go, I will never forget, and this actually made me a better person and I am grateful for that.

I would encourage any of you to go do something like this.

I believe that you need to experience things new and experience things different because other than that we’d be stuck in our own minds and having our own understanding and ideas about things.

But, there’s a lot out there that can change your perspective, and I’m not even saying that I had the wrong perspective of illegal immigrants, or immigrants, or anything like that because I didn’t go into it with a perception at all or a perspective at all, but, I came out a better person by this.

Like I said, I want to shout out to Cumberland Elementary, you guys are great and I appreciate you and I appreciate all that you do for those kids.

I’m going to go and send you over to this other video that’s going to give you an understanding, to give you a snapshot of what they do at Cumberland, this little map that they made, this is the centerpiece in the hallway. It really just tells it all, it’s awesome.

Check out the video to see it!

Remember, guys, if you like my videos and my blog, wherever you see this at, make sure you subscribe to stay updated, like it, make some comments.

I like to hear what you guys think, so go ahead and comment, like this, and subscribe!

Take care, take charge, and God bless!

TW Bright

Self Publishing Tip #2 – Branding

 

Ok, guys, here it is – tip #2.

Tip number two is dealing with branding. One of the things that as I go on this self-publishing journey, one thing that I find is that it’s the same exact thing as in my other business. Although this is as an author, it doesn’t seem like the traditional business world, it really is. 

Let me tell you what I mean by that. Don’t think that just because you’ve written a book, and it could be a great book, but don’t think that it’s automatically going to take off on its own.

Don’t think that you’re automatically going to sell tons on Amazon, the other platforms, or get it in the stores, because no matter what you still need people. You still need people to find your books and gravitate towards your books.

You have to treat this like a business and this is one of the things that a lot of authors tend to not like.

Me, on the other hand, I really like this part because I like the business sense of things. In fact, I kind of enjoy this part a little more than the other part. The other part you know, you could get in there and write a book and you could write a children’s book pretty fast.

But this part takes time, it takes you time to learn new things, it’s actually creating and making you into a better person. Believe it or not, you need some public speaking skills even when being the author.

So, where some people shy away from, this is where I really gravitate towards.

Branding — this is the tip right here.

Make sure that you have uniformity in all of your social media platforms.

You may have many different books, you may have many different things that you can promote, that you can sell, that you can provide, like some kind of content or help for the world.

But the only way you’re going to expose them to everything is if you brand yourself, you brand a character, or you brand a title, you have to brand something.

For instance, with me, Bright and the BullyLive Bright. I really want to influence children to live bright. I really want to make the world a better place and this isn’t just for show, this is something that I really want.

So, in creating a brand I’m creating my brand around this fact alone — Live Bright. Hence, my pen name, TW Bright, because that’s what I stand for, living bright. 

I’m a person that believes that every relationship you have, you should be providing value to people, to your work, to whatever, and I want to teach kids these same fundamental principles.

So, that’s why I’m branding the character Bright the Superhero.

Now, of course, Bright is a children’s book, but eventually I want Bright to venture off into different things.

Originally I wanted Bright to be a cartoon, so the buy-in part is Bright the book, but it’ll go beyond that. It’s going to go past that. I plan on having coloring books and all different things that represent Bright and teaching kids, instilling these fundamental principles about living a bright life — you don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero.

That’s one way to get in there. If you go to my Instagram – Twitter – it’s Bright the Superhero. I couldn’t get the same name on everything, but if you go to my website – it’s TWBrightBooks.com, you’ll see it’s all centered around Bright.

So they’re going to see the same picture, same character in some kind of way in every single place. That’s what branding is about.

You could brand yourself. If your a person who doesn’t want to be in the front, you don’t have to, brand a character. But, you have to brand something. You have to have uniformity so that people can recognize your brand.

That’s why you know what Pepsi and Coca-Cola are, you just know that, you’ve been ingrained to know that because you saw it so many times and this is how we have to think, even as authors, writers, and illustrators.

In this day and age, anybody can have success using online platforms, but you have to start thinking in the context of branding yourself, even as authors.

That’s my tip for the day – take care – take charge and God bless!

TW Bright

 

Picture Book Publishing Tip #1 – The Illustrator

 

 

Since I put out my book, a lot of people have been asking me about how to go about doing it. It seems like everyone has an idea about wanting to write a book.

Right now I’m talking mainly about children’s books, picture books. I even have a sister who’s asking me about getting an illustrator, which can be a pretty daunting task.

I wanted to give this little bit of advice to save you a lot of time and money.

Make sure that you and your illustrator are on the same page.

When you’re looking for an illustrator you have to make sure you can really connect with that person because they have to tell the story through artwork. Just because your friend is a good artist doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good illustrator.

I wanted to make sure I left you with that tip because I spent a lot of money and paid two different illustrators to work on my story and not that they weren’t good artists, they were actually really good artists, but when it came to illustration they didn’t fully understand it.

For an illustrator, it takes a very special kind of person to have the deeper level of understanding when it comes to illustrating. They are the ones actually telling the story and their job is even a little more important than the person who wrote the book.

But, that’s my opinion and I wanted to leave you with that piece of advice and I hope it helps you. I’ll be doing more videos on self-publishing and I wanted to give you that as a first tip – make sure that you find the right person.

If you have any questions, leave it in the comments section and I will make more videos addressing any questions you may have.

National Bullying Prevention Month – TW Bright Speaks at Bookstore

This is Stirling Books and Brew, where I’m going to go and discuss my new book, Bright and the Bully, and another upcoming project. It starts at 7:00 and I’m about 15 minutes early, going to mingle a little bit and see you guys inside.

Inside here, it’s pretty nice, this is the local section, Albion, my hometown. You can see all the different authors who have written books here. Looking around Books and Brews, it’s pretty cool, they have a little fireplace in the lounge area. Saying hello and seeing the authors who are performing tonight.

Now it’s my turn.

I am an up and coming author, with my recent children’s book. The one that I hold in my hand right now is the one I want to talk about that I’m getting published. It’s got about another week more of revisions from the illustrator and I’m super excited about it and I wanted to share it with you guys.

It’s really like my baby and really near my heart because I was one of those kids in school who used to put their head down on the table when it came to English class. I liked math, but when it came to reading and writing, English and all of that, I just put my head down. If someone would have told me when I was younger that I would actually be a writer, I would have laughed at them.

So, I believe that the Lord started giving me these ideas about these stories and it was kind of unbelievable to me. But, at the same time it really gave me this inner joy to do when I started. For that reason, this is my baby. This is one I wanted to traditionally publish, but I didn’t want anybody touching it, I didn’t want anybody changing anything, and I wanted my ideas to remain intact. I wanted the story to remain intact, so this one I’m actually self-publishing.

This one is called Bright and the Bully and it’s a superhero book, but with a different spin on it. From the cover, one of the things I did is I took a group of people, both white and black, and what does this cover say to you. At first it was just the two kids on it and I said “does this look like it’s race-baiting or something?”. Some of them said no, others said yeah, so we ended up putting some other kids in the back just to change it up.

With anything that I do, it comes from somewhere, from an actual story. And in working with kids and volunteering at schools, and things like that, I’ve got a lot of stories.

So, one of the things I wanted to do in this book is I wanted to focus on the bystander.

Traditionally books are dealing with the bully. What I wanted to do was deal with the bystander, because oftentimes what it is, is that the kids around it could make it a lot better. If we have a group of kids here, and this specific kid is being bullied, and all the bystanders are all standing around laughing, they make things worse.

So, what I wanted to do with my story is I wanted to make this a story that focuses more on the bystanders than the bully.

It’s about a kid named Brighton, and he’s faced with this conflict that one of the little girls at the school is being bullied. And immediately, Brighton starts to think in his head, “If only I could use my superpowers, I would twirl him around like a tornado, I would fly him to the moon!”

So, he’s thinking from what we normally think of superheroes, vigilante style.

Then he hears a little voice coming from inside of him telling him to be the light of the world. As he does that, he turns into this superhero, this great superhero and his name is Bright.

This is when he goes forth and teaches the other kids how to deal with a bully and he actually uses five steps on how to deal with the bully, not the violent way. It’s ways that a believer or somebody who has some kind of moral base would do and not vigilante style.

I thought it was right on time, especially with National Bullying Prevention Month coming up, and I’ve been working really hard trying to get this done for about two years. If anyone would have told me that writing and publishing a children’s book would be this hard, I wouldn’t have really believed it. It’s definitely time consuming and you have to put a lot of money into it because you’re paying for each and every illustration, but I say it’s well worth it.

I’m really excited about it and I wanted to share it with you guys. It’s not out right now, but it’s going to be on Amazon and I’m working with some people to get it in Barnes and Nobles. Hopefully before we go it’ll be all over the world. This is just one of the series and I hope you guys will tune in and share it once I get it all up and going.

Thank you.

Q&A

Where can we find out more about it?

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/brightkidhero/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bright_the_hero

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/twbright_official/

What are your other ideas for children’s books?

The next one is going to be about the origin and how he became Bright.

Brighton is actually my little nephew, Breslin, and he recently got his hair cut. He had the same kind of hair so I was thinking about doing one about him getting a hair cut. Because a lot of kids have a problem with being afraid to go get a haircut.

But the next one will be about the origins of Brighton.

 

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