December 18, 2013

Publishing Your Work
Means Not Hiding Your Light and Navigating the Perilous Seas Within You.
The holidays are upon us, so I'll keep this long. 
Have you ever walked somewhere for the first time? Didn't it feel like it was taking for ever? 


That's how it feels when you are writing something new on the way to publishing.


If you want to publish, there is a process. But, what is that process and how do we attack it unrelentingly until we can generate delicious product?


Part of publishing involves "being seen." There are two problems I've seen other people face (and face myself) when it comes to publishing: 


The first is people who want to publish their work at all costs, who like the idea of having written, rather than the writing itself. People who want to write because they want people to think highly of them. People who have a high concept plot before all else, who refuse to change or mold their work to any shape or craft. Who want to be done with it already. Who write to agents and say, "I'd like to let you know I'd be willing to appear on Oprah's book club." (Come on. Who wouldn't?)  These are the people who are constantly scheming for a way to do x, y, or z to boost their image on this, that or the other social network both live and online, who would use you as as flotation device if you were both sinking on the Titanic to get ahead. The arrogant, the proud, the a-holes of the world. Sometimes, when I am very hungry and feel like there is not enough left of the pie, this is me.


The second category is people who are afraid of being seen. The people who hide their light. People who don't know their value or their worth. People who don't believe in themselves or their voice. Who ramble long disclaimers before reading their pieces aloud like, "This isn't very good, but." Or people who have 900 page of a novel hidden in their computer that has never seen the light of day. People who hide underground, who read, read, read instead of putting pen to paper. Sometimes, when I am feeling very small and insignificant and the world is too much, this is me as well. 


We are all some combo of both of these perspectives.


Writing is a journey and if we want to survive as scribes, we've got to find a way to make that journey sustainable somehow because we've got to plan for the long haul.


As a writer, you have to remember to strengthen your mind to gain peace and to navigate the perilous seas.  Luckily now, publishing is not as hard as the picture at the beginning of this post. Publishing can be as easy as posting your work on a blog. It can be as easy as reading your work at an event and then getting filmed by litseen. Or it can be traditional, New York big label publishing with an advance and a book tour and the whole nine yards. The point is...publishing and writing are a process and sometimes we have to navigate the rough waters of self-loathing and aggrandizement in order to get there, but we need an oar or a motor or a propellor or something.


As a client of Method Writing SF, a student of the Jack Grapes Method Writing Program, and somebody who knows how to use the deep voice, you have this in your arsenal. If you ever forget or are feeling a moment of anxiety about publishing your work or your writing itself, remember this: 


Writing is a process.  Great storytelling comes from a great story. Great story comes from interesting plot. Plot comes from multi-dementional characters that act in their own interest, even when that character is you--as in non-fiction or poetry. Interesting characters come from a compelling voice. A compelling voice starts with letting yourself go, writing like you talk and going from there. 


Write something compelling and it will find an audience. I promise you. 

But first, you have to start with great work. 


One step at a time, baby. Baby steps. 


Happy Writing and 

Happy Holidays!


Alexandra Kostoulas

Writer and Instructor

Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING Program in SF


Learn More


Alexandra Kostoulas mentioned in Poets & Writers Magazine Online

*I got mentioned last month in a blog post in Poets and Writers Magazine 
by Chiwan Choi who called me, "a fantastic young writer and teacher." Yay. :)
You can read the full article here.  Thanks, Chiwan.
Announcing: We've got new classes up for 2014!

Write from the Gut!
Jack Grapes Method Writing Program.
Starts the week of Feb 4, 2014, and runs for 8 consecutive weeks. 
Cost is $395.

1. Tuesdays 6:30-9:30
2. Wednesdays 6:30-9:30

Where: Emerald Tablet * Art Gallery & Creativity Salon * 80 Fresno Street * San Francisco * 94133* 

How to sign up for the class:

New Students:
Please email me.

Returning Students:
1) Email me.
2) Send Deposit: Make your check of $100 out to: Alexandra Kostoulas
and send to Method Writing SF * 25 Taylor Street * San Francisco, CA 94102
3) OR ask me to send you a paypal link.

*there will soon be a way to register online as soon as I consult the runes and make all the little widgets talk to each other in the computer.
Here's something fresh from our workshop:
Bubble Through My Heart
 Banksy. Peaceful Hearts Doctor, taken at 720 Grant Ave, San Francisco. Creative Commons. Flickr.
Photographer: Eva Blue
by Judy Fox
-member of Method Writing SF

Bubble through my heart

Roars through my veins

Leg carved anchored to stone

Rippling vessels snake upward

I am strong

I breathe gratitude

My arms fly open

Eyes to sky

I roar

Silent but loud

Very loud.




Looking for a place to publish something right now? Check out this cool project by Writ Large Press's DTLAB Project in LA.

Jack Grapes is selling copies of some of his collected works as well as a new poetry 
collection. He says if you mail him a check, he'll sign it for you.  If you want personally autographed copies from Jack,
send check plus $5 shipping to
6684 Colgate Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Make checks out to Bombshelter Press.

The Naked Eye: New and Selected Poems 1987-2012  $25
New poems: So far so far so good so far to go. Oct, 2013 $10
available on Amazon or directly from Jack Grapes

Local Literary and Arts Events
Here are some other readings leading up to ours that look interesting:

DEC 19

MFA Mixer December 2013

Thursday at 6:30
Cat Club SF in San Francisco, California

*For everything in between check out

They have 3 or 4 Bay Area events per day.


Amy Tan in conversation with Jan Yanehiro

Tuesday 7:00p
Keppler's in Menlo Park

JAN 10
CHANG-RAE LEE  discusses On Such a Full Sea
Friday, January 10 2014 at 7:30 PM
The Booksmith Haight Street, San Francisco  

JAN 15

Pegasus Books Downtown in Berkeley, California


*Did you know that The Emerald Tablet home of Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING in SF has cool arts and literary events happening all the time? Check out some of Emerald Tablet's upcoming events here.


"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
-Eric Fromm



"A word after a word after a word is power."

-Margaret Atwood



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