Creating My Customized Writing Education

Growing up, I knew I had an overwhelming passion for reading and writing. But as a first generation daughter of Jamaican immigrants, and I knew my family had high expectations for my career path. I made murmurs that I wanted to be a writer, but they said you should want to become a lawyer, think of the steady money and prestige! Entering the fashion industry was a type of compromise between us. It was a decade later that I would come to realize, no…I needed to follow my first passion.

At the point in my life when I realized I seriously wanted to be a writer, I had already completed a rigorous graduate degree in fashion business. I thought heavily about doing an MFA and gaining the external redirection to the writing industry, but realized I didn’t have the emotional or financial stamina for another graduate degree program. I was confident, however, that I was a good student. I knew I had the internal focus to implement the fundamentals of writing a book. I just had to find or figure them out!

So, I created my very own guerilla style writing development program. I read books like Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and watched a ton of Youtube videos and podcasts, like The Writer Files, on writing craft. I went to writing workshops, including VONA/Voices and the Fortify Writers Retreat. I attended to tons of writing conferences, affording entry by volunteering. I went to author interviews and readings and lectures all around the Bay. I figured out where I was in the writing process, and then weekly would find events to help support me and my understanding. I was like a hungry wolf for writing advice, stalking whatever prey I needed.

My writing mentor, Valerie Haynes Perry, was instrumental in guiding my process. She is a writing coach and instructor, and over the years I have attended countless meetups and writing groups she has expertly led. I received so much advice from her, not only personally on my own work, but through witnessing her guidance of others, too. I am proud of the customized path I followed into writing. It feels exciting, knowing this book is born of so much passion and hard work. I am humbled when I look back and recognize what I’ve been able to accomplish. That my path to publication is so unique adds even more magic to the story of this book. I am thrilled my debut novel will be released in just a few days! I hope you enjoy the adventure. I know I have.

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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