Author Speaking Event — Jackson College

Author Speaking Event — Jackson College

I had the opportunity to speak to some kids at Jackson College and to offer them some encouragement and here’s a clip from that — enjoy and don’t forget to leave your comments below and click the like button on YouTube!

 

 

When I was in school I knew I wasn’t good at English class because I had such a fear of reading out loud. I stuttered and fumbled my words, so I spent most of my time in school avoiding that.

So, when it came to reading, I wasn’t interested in doing something that brought me so much discomfort.

It took until I was about 25 to get over it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t read, but that I had a complex about reading out loud. Then when I started doing a Bible study with a friend, she didn’t laugh and that helped me come out of my shell. That was one of the biggest things that helped me to overcome that.

Writing wasn’t something that I set out to do, but when the idea came to me it was so strong, I knew I had to get it out there. I believe that we all have content that we have to provide and if you keep it in there, it’s not going to help who it’s meant to help.

No matter what type of content you want to do, whether it’s writing or videos, you have to get it out there.

So, now I have this idea and what am I going to do with it? I thought of my sister who loves to write, she went to school for it and it’s right in her field. I went to my sister and I said “I want you to write this, it has to be done.” And she said okay, so we brainstormed and we came up with some things. But, next thing I knew it wasn’t getting done.

It kept coming at me and I believe that it was something that was put in me from God. I heard that it was something that I was supposed to do. So, I started doing it. The next challenge was, “you don’t know anything about writing.” These were the things that continued to try and hold me back and stop me from doing it.

Bright and the Bully Children's Book

One thing I’ve learned from past business ventures is that whatever it is that you want to do, you need to be working on it on a daily basis. You need to research it and try to interview other people who did it. So, I started to reach out to other people and started learning.

The main thing I learned with writing was to “show and not tell” which means that you’re supposed to show more in your writing than you do your telling. For most people, we try to tell the story and you have to put it into action form instead.

This started to become more exciting for me and not only did I write Bright and the Bully, but I wrote another book, and then another. Now I have about six pieces of work and I’m wondering, “where is all this coming from?” with this person who is not a writer, because I’m not a writer in a traditional sense. I didn’t set out to be a writer or to win any kind of award.

But, all of this content is inside me, each and every one of you have a story. If you just go back over your life and think about the things you’ve experienced, you could write tons of books, and those books can help somebody.

I looked at different things, like traditional publishing and the pros and cons versus self-publishing. I learned that self-publishing was a great way to go in today’s climate because of what Amazon has done in the publishing field.

In the next step, I looked at it like a business, that’s one of the things that brings me a lot of pleasure, more than writing. So I started my own publishing company called 215 Publishing. With doing this I had to research even more and then it was all set up and ready to go.

We’re talking about writing, but I think that in anything that you have that you want to do, anything that you have in your heart that God put there, whatever has been put in you, is meant to get out of you.

The first thing you have to say is “I’m willing to do it,” and you have to be willing to take that step.

I had to start taking these steps, and then I turned around two years later and I had this finished product called Bright and the Bully. Also, I had a publishing company, I had different social media outlets, and a huge buzz from people all across the world who wanted to buy my book and wanting me to speak at different places.

That’s my story and what I feel as far as encouragement, because you’re all at an age where you’re thinking about the future and what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be writing, but whatever it is, you have to do it with the same tenacity and the same kind of mindset of working right away.

As for the art for the books, it was a challenge. I know a lot of people who can draw really well, and one friend, I said, “Ok, I want you to do this book for me,” and I paid him and he started working on it. But, what happened was that he was a great artist, but he wasn’t capturing the illustration process in the way that I wanted it to be. I didn’t want my book to be a “fly-by” book, I wanted to put a lot into it.

So I searched all over the internet through Facebook groups and YouTube, because anything you want – you can find through Google. Through searching all over I ran into a guy from Singapore and he does really good work. I told him that if he could draw me out a storyboard that I would hire him. He did and we developed a good relationship, as a matter of fact, I just watched his wedding a couple weeks ago via live-stream. So, it’s given me another connection from somewhere else.

That’s one of the most important parts when you’re dealing with a kid’s book is to make sure the illustrator is up to par because in children’s books the pictures are what really tells the story. My sister for example, her kids that are over five, they can read it great, but the little one who is three doesn’t read on the same level, but she can understand everything just by seeing the pictures.

That was one of the things that was challenging in the beginning, especially when you’re looking at illustrators and they cost from a couple thousand to ten thousand, or twenty thousand, depending on who you get to do it. The more well known the illustrator is, the more it’ll cost.

I enjoyed speaking to the kids at Jackson College and I hope that they’ve learned some things about the writing and illustrating process that helps them to do the things they want to do in life.

Thanks and Be Bright!

T.W. Bright

T.W. Bright — Author Interview — Faith Talk With Tamara

 Listen to Faith Talk With Tamara and T.W. Bright

Bullying in the Christian Community

How would God want us to deal with bullying?

First, I want to thank Tamara for combating this prevalent issue among both children and adults.

We discussed the book Bright and the Bully, which gives children five simple steps they can take to fight against bullying, in a Christian manner, and without violence.

Bright and the Bully Author Interview - Faith Talk With Tamara

Tamara: With all the books out there, what inspired you to write this book?

T.W. Bright: When I was a kid, I was not a good reader and not very good in school when it came to reading. I was able to read, but reading out loud was something that was very embarrassing for me. I didn’t even want to pick up a book because it represented something that brought me the most shame.

When I was in my twenties and became a Christian I finally got over it through the help of a dear friend who I did Bible study with. Through the encouragement and building up, I was able to overcome my difficulties with reading and was able to come out of my shell.

One of the difficulties with children, it’s also the looks that parents give their kids, or the complaints that the parent makes about the child not doing what they should. These things are just as much a part of bullying as their child getting picked on in school.

Not to sound cliche, but I really do feel that writing is something that God wanted me to do. I first thought of doing a children’s book based on a Bible verse. I was always interested in superheroes, so I looked up children’s books that were biblically based, and I didn’t see anything that had any action.

After trying to get my sisters to write it for me, I found out I had to do it myself even though I really didn’t feel that I could ever be a writer. It turned out that God wanted me to step out of my comfort zone, so it was something that was just simply there, unfolding, rather than being planned.

One of the major things that makes this book different from other bullying books is that it focuses mainly on the bystanders are the biggest influence on bullying.

Tamara: I love how you incorporated God and this superhero kind of character. And it’s funny, growing up, I was bullied. My grandmother and my sister would always say, even though we were Christian, it was “if they hit you, you hit them back, do you want me to come to school and fight for you?”

Bright and the Bully Children's BookAnd when my son started to get bullied, I came with a different approach, I used your book. We went over the book and we read it. I showed him — this is what Bright did, and instead of coming back and retaliating, we come back and we pray for him and we pray for his heart. Because the reason why he’s bullying is because he needs healed from something. You helped give me a different perspective on how to address my son who’s also growing up in a household of faith.

As Christians, do you think we talk enough about these issues?

T.W. Bright: It’s kind of funny, you said you were taught, “when someone hits you, you better hit them back” and that was the very phrase that stuck in my head when I was writing this book. I was a firm believer of that. I was never bullied because I was the kid that bullied the bullies. When my sister got bullied because she had bifocal glasses, I was the one that came behind and bullied the one that was bullying her.

I was taught that, and every other African-American that I knew was taught that same thing. It’s not that you don’t defend yourself, if you look at the steps in the book, it tells you to stand up for other people also. The big thing with Bright, is to not act selfishly.

I wanted to do something different than what I was taught.

There are other options. I only knew one option, and that was to fight. I don’t want kids to only have that one option.

To answer your question, I would say the answer is a yes and a no. As believers, I feel that we do need to talk more about real-life situations, and bullying is a real-life situation. If you can’t talk about real life with other believers — where else can you talk about it? 

I talk about this a lot when I’m teaching, too many of us are church-minded, organizational-minded. In this, our identity is wrapped up in church or a congregation, or even a political party.

We’re so wrapped up in this identity, that we don’t have the identity of Christ.

So, yes, on one end, I believe we need to talk about this more. But, then when we talk about being believers, I think we talk too much. In writing, you’re suppose to show more and tell less, that’s the fundamental key of writing. I believe it’s the same thing when it comes to us as believers, show more and tell less — in your actions, because too many of us can talk the talk, but we can’t walk the walk. The answer is both yes and no, it really depends on the angle you’re coming from.

I definitely think that this is something that needs talked about in the church. I do what we call “real time” – I incorporate what happened throughout the week into the scriptures. When you get people out and interacting and you have a dialogue, it opens up so many different doors.

Tamara: Yes, people can learn to experience true healing.

T.W. Bright: Exactly, it’s different than just sitting and listening all the time. Instead you can take things and learn to apply them in your everyday life.

Tamara: As we were speaking about this I realized, your book is actually a starting point for conversations. I can see this as something for small group discussion. “Let’s talk about Bright and the Bully and how to respond. Have you ever been bullied? How have you responded to these things?”

I even see this for small groups in different churches, and different types of settings for talking about these types of issues. I definitely commend you for writing this book. I see this going in a bigger new avenue of opening up and being able to talk about bullying for what it really is.

Our kids are killing themselves because they’re being bullied. They don’t want to go to school because they’re bullied.

You don’t realize it, but you just tapped into something on a real large scale, something that we need to talk about.

Thank you for getting over the fear.

T.W. Bright: I didn’t realize it at first. I just realized that I’m not a typical author. I didn’t set out to get an award. I didn’t set out for accolades.

I just wanted to teach kids to be the light of the world.

And, not only kids, I wanted to teach people that. That’s what my life is about and I try to do those things by modeling those behaviors and principles that we find in the Bible. I don’t have to tell people that I’m a minister when I go places.

Bright and the Bully is already starting to open those doors, I’m already having those conversations. A lady at my church gave me something called a “Bully Ball” which has a lot of different questions about bullying. You toss the ball and the kid that gets the ball, whatever it lands on is a question. It opens up another dialogue.

I’ve been asked to come into some schools and what I’m going to do is bring the Bully Ball with me. So, yes, this is not just a book, this is a starting point. Yes, I’m an author now, but this is more of a ministry, something that I know that the Lord is going to work through in a deeper way than just reading a book.

Tamara: Definitely! I see this book as being for many different ages. What specific age group did you have in mind when you wrote this book?

T.W. Bright: I’m not a very traditional author, I didn’t really plan around an age. I just simply wrote what was in my heart. The way that I gauge the age is by my nephew, who the character Bright, is based on. He’s a very sharp young man who’s five years old, and that’s where I got the character from. He’s so intelligent and so smart, he can quote and read the Bible at his age. So, I just put age five up until you’re not interested in picture books anymore, because the principles in the book can help any age, from when they start to read they can get something out of the book — until they aren’t interested.

Tamara: I say five to adulthood! Even as adults, we sometimes don’t know how to respond to things. Like in the book, you tell us, don’t just be spectators — sometimes we just sit there with a camera-phone and video recording instead of doing something. So, this resonates even with us as adults — don’t forget to intervene.

T.W. Bright: I spoke at a bookstore the other day, and a lady asked me, “What would Bright do if this was cyber-bullying?” What I said was that bullying is bullying, so he would pretty much do the same thing, but the key is that the person who is going through bullying feels isolated.

They feel all alone and that nobody is there for them, so I said what Bright would do is reach out to them and let them know that they’re not alone. And then we can start through the other steps.

Like you said, Bright isn’t talking just to kids, but adults as well, because sometimes we don’t think of these things. We see things on social media, people getting picked on, and we never think to reach out to that person and just say “Hey, how are you?”

People kill themselves because they usually feel all alone and everybody hates them. I had a little girl tell me, “Everybody hates me,” and I was about to say that everybody doesn’t hate you, but I looked and I saw that they do treat her like they hate her. So, what I had to do was work with the other kids and teach them how to respect other kids.

One day, after about a month, some other kids were bullying the same girl and they stood up for her. After they stood up for her, I could just see, it just made her day. It changed the whole dynamic of how the children participated with each other.

That was one of the key things that I took and put into Bright and the Bully,  and why I wanted to focus on the bystander. Because the bystander, or the spectator, needs to say something.

Tamara: Exactly, they need that support. Any words for anyone who’s looking to write their own children’s book? You talked about getting over fear and being able to push past that, what are some words of encouragement you’d give someone who’s stuck in fear right now, and they’re saying, “I have an idea right now”, but they’ll never push past the pen and paper? What are some words of encouragement that you have?

T.W. Bright: Know that your content is important. Whether that’s writing a book, making YouTube videos, or whatever that is, especially if it’s something that you feel the Lord is putting in your heart, your content is important and you have that for a reason. You have to believe your story needs to be told.

Once you can grasp that, it can help you move past the fear.

For me, it came so alive and was so strong that it just needed to get out, that I couldn’t do anything but get it out. So, if you’re thinking about fear when it comes to things like you’re not good at grammar or you’re not good at this, a lot of authors aren’t.

That’s why you have editors, that’s why you have people to go behind your work and to proofread and things of that sort.

Miles Monroe, he’s not only a great speaker, but he became a bestselling author. One day he was talking about how someone came to him and said, “You’re a great speaker, you should be an author.” He said that he wanted to for a long time, but he doesn’t have the time. The guy said, “I’m with a publishing company, and I have the time, so why don’t we just take your audio and I’ll make it into a book?” and he put them out there. And so he said, “I’ll work with you on that.” They went back and forth, came up with a deal, and now he’s a bestselling author.

I said wait a minute, he didn’t even actually write the books, he just spoke. His content is still in a book though, so, there’s always a way.

You don’t have to do things the traditional way, you just have to get busy and do the things you were called to do.

Whatever that He put in you, you need to go forth and do that, and it’ll make a way for itself.

That’s the place that I had to come to. Instead of wanting somebody else to do it, I just had to get busy and do my part. The rest is history.

So, that’s my encouragement — just do it.

Tamara: Thank you, and you definitely encouraged and inspired me just now too. I have some things and I’m stalling, so thank you for the words.

Where can we find Bright and the Bully?

T.W. Bright: It’s on Amazon – where you can get it in either hardcover or softcover, and also on my website – TWBrightBooks.com On the website you can find the links for the book, and find how to connect with me, and you can find a video blog that I’ve been doing.

Be sure to subscribe for updates because I’m going to be doing more:

Tamara: I was definitely encouraged, motivated, and inspired by your interview. We’ve touched on many areas that will resonate with my listeners. I want to thank you for being a guest on Faith Talk With Tamara and wish you much luck with your book and also the book will be on my website at http://simplytnicole.com because I truly believe in the message that is being shared through Bright and the Bully and I know that it will bless many.

T.W. Bright: Thank you for having me, and continue to be the light, continue to put yourself out there in front of the world. We have to be the example, we have to be the light. Shine, that’s what you were called to do, so thank you and God bless you.

You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

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Meet T.W. Bright At Stirling Books & Brew

Author T.W. Bright – Stirling Books & Brew

Saturday, March 3, 2018 1-3pm

Meet Children's Book Author Bright and the Bully

Get your signed copy of Bright & the Bully and listen while T.W. Bright describes the origins of the book, the hurdles he faced in bringing the book to reality, and the lessons he learned through the self-publishing experience.

If you missed his first visit, you won’t want to miss this one!

Bright and the Bully is a vividly illustrated book that helps kids to understand that there are better ways than violence to deal with bullying. In fact, there are five simple steps that kids can take, including dealing with bystanders who are often the biggest part of the problem.

Help kids to be a positive force in their communities with Bright and the Bully, the book that helps kids know there’s a superhero inside all of us and we don’t need capes!

Purchase copies of the book at Stirling Books & Brew and get your copy signed during T.W. Bright’s visit!

Also, if you’re interested in learning about self-publishing you’ll have a chance to ask T.W. Bright questions during a Q&A as part of the presentation. Stirling Books & Brew is a local coffee shop where both children and adults are welcome to join in a friendly community setting. We look forward to seeing you there!

Join the event on Facebook!

Author Visit to Stirling’s Books and Brew

T.W. Bright Author Visit to Stirling’s Books and Brew

Bright and the Bully Book Signing

Part 1

Part 2

I had a great time at the Stirling Books & Brew in Albion, MI in January. I got to talk about my pen name and introduced the young man who the character Bright is based on.

Bright and the Bully Children's Book

The book signing was a huge success where I was able to tell everyone about the history behind Bright and the Bully. I gave away some t-shirts and talked about what being Bright is all about, including where the light bulb idea came from. I had a chance to give some personal history of how I came to be an author and why I went into self-publishing.

I also told about my personal experience dealing with kids and bullying where I helped them deal with the heart of bullying instead of focusing on the bully, which is what Bright and the Bully is all about. You’ll also get to hear about the future of the Bright books.

I discussed how I fine-tuned the book and about working with an illustrator who gave Bright and the Bully the brilliant illustrations. We also were able to hear about how the books have touched the hearts of people all over the country and how awesome it is to see the wonderful Amazon reviews about Bright and the Bully.

One of the questions answered was how I was inspired to write about Bright who is a superhero, but isn’t the typical vigilante, and where the book has action without being violent, while being based on scripture. I told how Bright and the Bully helps kids to deal with their emotions instead of just behavior.

Another question was also answered about how the situation would have been dealt with if it was done through cyber-bullying.

One of my future books was also discussed that’s coming out within a few months, once it’s gone through editing, as well as the experience that brought it about.

The challenges about writing and becoming an author were also questions that were answered and how I overcame them, then signed a bunch of books for the wonderful people that came.

Thank you so much for the support & don’t forget to leave your reviews at Amazon!

Be Bright!

T.W. Bright

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Kids Reading Problems

Author’s Experience as a Child – Kids Reading Problems

Help for the Struggling Reader

Today I wanted to address something that I definitely think is important. I wanted to just put this out there because I believe a lot of other children are suffering from exactly what I suffered from when I was young and they may not know how to address it or know what to do with it.

It may discourage them from moving forward in any other capacity. I know, for a long time, it held me back and I didn’t even know that it was holding me back until I got over it.

I want to just let you in on something. It came up because the question was asked, “At what age was it that you fell in love with books and what age was it that you fell in love with reading?”

I think that’s a common question when it comes to interviewing an author or talking to an author. You automatically assume that this person has always been in love with books.

Growing up, my younger sister, who is two years younger than me, she absolutely loved books, she was a fanatic. I, on the other hand, didn’t.

I loved subjects like math — she loved reading and spelling. I could barely spell and it always made me embarrassed and ashamed. It made me feel like I wasn’t going to get anywhere in that department.

When it came to school, I was one of those kids that, when I got to English class and reading, where I knew we were going to read out loud, I would act like I was sick, I would act like I was sleepy, and I would put my head down on the desk.

Obviously, I was not really learning a lot in those classes because of my embarrassment to read out loud. The thing about it is, my mother wasn’t a reader, she never really instilled reading into us because she wasn’t a reader. My sister just loved to do it on her own.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t read, I actually could read, but when it came to reading out loud, forget about it. It seemed like I absolutely couldn’t read because my nerves were through the roof.

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of other kids like that in the school system, where I go and volunteer, that there’s a lot of kids that absolutely won’t read — they’re too embarrassed. Sometimes when they do read, they can barely pronounce or say the simplest words.

At first, I was thinking that man, these kids just can’t read. But, it may be a matter like it was with me when it comes to reading out loud or in public where you freeze up. 

I didn’t get over this until I was 25 years old. I can’t believe I went my entire life living like this — pretty much in fear. I always prided myself in not being fearful of things, but I was absolutely terrified to read out loud.

It wasn’t until one day, a friend of mine from California, a young lady that really helped me to overcome this. She asked me did I want to do Bible study? Would I do Bible studies with her? We were going to do it, I think every day by phone because I had just become saved recently. I was terrified to say yes, but I didn’t want to say no to her at the same time because I was really zealous about the Word and I wanted to move forward. So, I said yes.

I got this Bible from a pastor friend of mine that was pretty tough, it wasn’t an easy Bible. But, when I called, she said, “Ok, you read first,” and I kind of froze up because I didn’t want to read. I got to stuttering and telling her, and she encouraged me and she continued to encourage me. She didn’t laugh, she didn’t snicker, she was perfectly calm and acted like nothing was wrong.

It really took me to make myself vulnerable, first of all, and to be comfortable enough with her in order to move past that. As the time went past, I started to love to read out loud. Now, as a minister, I read out loud all the time, I’m always reading out loud.

But, I’m reflecting on this, because it kind of just went away, because someone, who took the time, to not criticize me, to not overly critique me, but just really listen and understand, and act like nothing was wrong.

It gave me the confidence and built me up in order for me to overcome that.

Part of me being an author now is not just because of that event, but it has something to do with me overcoming that. Part of it was because when I first had the idea, when I felt like the Lord gave me the ideas to do this, I tried to pass it off to my sister.

I tried to pass it off to people because I didn’t have the confidence in myself. When nobody else would do it, I ended up having to prove to myself that I can do it.

Since then I’ve written three children’s books that I’ve got manuscripts for and I’m almost done with my second novel, and I just had a great idea this morning for another one.

But, my point is, there’s a lot of kids out there that suffer from this. And the bullying culture that we have makes it almost impossible for them to get over it because the minute that they mess up, the minute that they say the wrong thing, people laugh at them.

It’s not only from the kids, but from the expression that the teacher gives, the expression that the parent gives, the expression from people around, anybody around.

I’m always reminded of the young lady who helped me. I have much respect for her, I will always have much respect for her, that’s why I love her because she took the time to just be normal and act like nothing was wrong.

She encouraged me when I needed encouraging, and built me up when I needed building up. That’s more of what we need when it comes to working with these kids, these reluctant readers, these children that don’t believe in themselves.

It’s a lack of belief in themselves, and once they get the confidence they can achieve anything.

That’s like everything — once you get the confidence, once you start to believe you can do something, you’ll do it.

I wanted to do this video today, because there’s a parent out there that has a child that’s just like I was. There are teachers who have students just like I was. You have a grandkid, a niece, a nephew, you know somebody, that’s like that and they could do a lot if they only believed in themselves and if they only had someone to encourage them and build them up.

I wanted to leave that with you today. I hope this video reaches somebody, touches somebody, and helps somebody, because it’s hard living in fear of something as simple as reading aloud and it’ll hold you back in school big time.

It’ll hold you back from achieving a lot. It’ll hold you back from a lot of knowledge because not only will you not read in front of people, but you’ll tend to not read even when you’re by yourself.

I hope that helps.

Take care, take charge, and God bless,

T.W. Bright

 

 

Meet T.W. Bright Author!

Meet T.W. Bright!

 Black Author Anti-bullying Book for Kids

See the Event on Facebook Here

If you’re in the Albion, MI area, I hope you can come and meet me at Stirling Books and Brew coffee shop and bookstore. You’ll be able to get a signed copy of Bright and the Bully!

T.W. Bright Author Visit

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stirling Books & Brew 

119 N Superior St.

Albion, MI 49224

Hope to see you there!

Leave Your Review!

If you’ve purchased a copy of Bright and the Bully on Amazon – be sure to leave a review – it’s a big help to spreading the word!

Bright and the Bully Children's Book

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.

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