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Write When You Are Happy

Write When You Are Happy

PSA: I know there is a strong community among writers who suffer true mental health disorders. I want to preface this article by stating THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INTENDED FOR YOU! YOU ARE STRONG AND WONDERFUL. IF EVER YOU NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO OR JUST SEND A RANT, MY INBOX IS ALWAYS OPEN.

How many times have you heard it? The phrase that has probably become the most annoying phrases in our profession: “the struggling artist.” What about the quote, “one must suffer for their art”? Over the next few blog posts we’re going to bust myths about the writing lifestyle and how to turn a negative disposition into a working, positive atmosphere for new and experienced writers alike.

I started writing at a young age. I was still in elementary school when I wrote my first few pages because of both my love for reading and my need to finish a story I knew I probably wouldn’t get the chance to buy. I was raised by a single mother and new books were a luxury. I never had any hard feelings towards this, it was just a simple fact of life. It made me start writing and in those first few years, I was really happy. Life was good for the young kid of my youth.

And then, at eleven years old, tragedy struck in multiple forms over a short period of time and I was no longer that sappy, innocent kid. In fact, by the age of twelve years old, if I had been taken to a professional, I most likely would’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, something I would continue to struggle with up until my college years. One of the things I remember most during this time is that the reasons for the pain and anguish I felt always seemed to change, but the reasons for writing and reading never did. They became crutches, salvation for a kid who otherwise dismissed school and life in general. Everyday life became a necessary chore that I didn’t understand, nor did I want to at the time.

I remember thinking most during that time, “This is what it should feel like to be a writer.” After all, this was the same story of Hemingway and Poe, right? It wouldn’t occur to me until I took a class at university that this was an incredibly wrong and poor way of thinking about writing both mentally and professionally as well. It was more of a hindrance not only to my mental health, but to my health as a writer as well.

Were the issues I faced real? Most definitely. Did they make me a better writer? Most likely not. Could I be happy and be a writer? Absolutely, though I wouldn’t discover this until I hit university. Next week, we’ll discuss how I broke myself out of some of my darkest moments of my life and how I learned to be a happy writer.

But in the meantime, what about you dear reader, do you think you can be both happy and a writer? Do you think the term ‘struggling artist’ is overused by mass media culture? I’d love to hear your feedback.

And remember:
Say it with words.

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Why I Changed My Name for Publishing

Why I Changed My Name for Publishing

Why it Matters, and Yours Should To.

I mentioned in my very first blog post that I will be publishing my books under the full name Maggie M. S. Burleson, rather than my given name – Maggie Chapman. I took my name seriously in college, which is when I began writing seriously. I realized several things:

1) Megan Chapman is not a very marketable name.

2) Megan Chapman is not who I am. At least not biologically.

It’s a long story, but to make it short, my mother was still married to her ex-husband by the time I came along. Despite the fact they were separated, and due to the rules of the state, Chapman was given as my last name, when technically, it should’ve been Shields. However, my biological father was never an active figure in my life, and thus my name was never changed.

M.S. is a secret representation of two names that mean the most important to me—my grandfather’s mother’s name. My middle name is a long standing tradition in our family. The youngest inherits the name, along with its storied history. S honors my great-grandparents, who loved me dearly enough to seek me out when my biological father stepped aside

My great-grandparents were very active parts of my life and I loved them both dearly. They carried the name of Shields at their passing, so when I began contemplating a more marketable pen name. One that would connect with readers and stand out on a bookshelf, I also wanted to choose something with meaning.

I chose Maggie as the first name of my pen name. It still honors Megan, the name my grandfather gave me, but isn’t Meg. (I hate the name Meg and few are allowed to call me this). I started teaching in August of 2018 and my students easily adapted the name, so it stuck.

Burleson is my grandfather’s name. It’s an ode to the man who helped raise me and taught me everything I know. One day, I will carry this name on paper, as much as I do as a published author. This name is the one that matters most, the one I carry in my blood. The one I look to when I need strength and love.

In everything we do, our names are a link to who we are. Where we’ve come from. Our history. Even if it isn’t your real name. Even if it’s a name you chose simply for marketing purpose, that name will alway be connected to you and your past. There are dozens of Megan Chapmans in the world; there’s even an up-and-coming actress. There are not many Maggie M.S. Burlesons in the world and that definitely makes all the difference.

So, lovely readers, what’s in a name? Do you believe names matter when marketing your book? Do you have a pen name? What’s the history behind it? Would you create one? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts below!

And, as always, remember, lovely readers,

Say it with words.