What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “The body never lies” is my favorite quote by Alice Miller, and I like it because it tells us exactly where we will find the truth of our lives, and the truth about who we are.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My childhood is the grist for my writer’s mill. The need to tell the secrets that we hid in my family, and to give and receive validation for a story that many of us experienced, has definitely been one of the primary driving forces in my writing.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I rarely have writer’s block, but I’d like to offer some tips for overcoming it. Often, it means a writer is afraid to tell (or face) the truth; sometimes there’s a voice in the writer’s head saying, “It’s not good enough!”; sometimes we’re worried what people will think. In my mind, the best remedy is to search for “writing prompts” online, pick one or two, and write wildly and quickly about whatever comes to mind without judging or editing – just throw the words on the paper – then take out your project and work on it.
You have to get rid of the “inner critic” when you’re writing. The inner critic only comes in handy, I think, when you’re rewriting or editing your work. Another cause of writer’s block is that your writing is moving to a new level, and you’re just not quite there yet – a philosophy that I read in a great book by Dennis Palumbo, Writing from the Inside Out.
What are your goals as a writer? My goal is to become self-sufficient as a writer, so my income comes through my writing – then I could spend the bulk of my time and energy on writing and publishing my books. At the moment, I earn a large portion of my income from editing and manuscript critique, which I have a lot of experience in and I enjoy, but I feel I am “falling behind” in my writing: too many project ideas and not enough time to fulfill them.
What books have most influenced your life? Books by Alice Miller, like For Your Own Good and John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You – and innumerable other books on living authentically and healing from trauma. I also love the wild inspiration of Martha Beck’s books, especially Finding Your Own North Star.
What are your current writing projects now? A novel, two memoirs – one about cats, and one about my father, a humor book based on an old TV show, and a recovery workbook for people who’ve experienced trauma.
What contributes to making a writer successful? Persistence. Never giving up. Not listening to negative critics (including family criticism or belittling), but listening to positive feedback. Following the inner voice.
Do you have any advice for writers? Becoming successful will probably take about three to ten times as much time as you think it will. There are somewhere around 200,000 books being published every year now, so it doesn’t really work to just put a book up on Amazon and wait for the readers to roll in, unless you have about 300,000 loyal Twitter followers. You need to be emotionally and mentally prepared for the fact that it’s going to take a long, long time, and probably many published books, before you reach the success you envision. There are exceptions, but they are very, very rare.
And write for yourself – write what you want to write, and how you want to write it. That’s what will keep your passion going. And for goshsakes, be sure to have a professional editor edit your work before you publish it! Many otherwise good books are abandoned by readers after the first few pages because there are too many typos, misspelled words, grammar issues, and ineffective sentences. Also, if you’re going to publish a book, do several weeks of pre-pub marketing to build “buzz” and interest in the book before you publish it. Generally, the higher your Amazon rankings are in the first few days, the better the book will do.
What do you do to unwind and relax? What’s that? Wait, I need a dictionary…
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Live for yourself. Follow your heart and your inner voice, the one that tells you what you’re meant to do in this life, instead of the one that tells you what you “should” do. Don’t ever listen to what others tell you you should do; find that information within or in relationship to whatever Higher Power you believe in. Everyone has a special and unique gift, and the only one who can uncover yours is you. Have as much compassion for yourself as you do for others – life is hard, it can be a struggle, especially as a writer, and we need to treat ourselves gently to bring our gifts out in the best possible way.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? I really can’t imagine stopping writing, but if I did, here’s what I’d like to think: that I wrote and published work that I totally believed in, work that came from my heart and soul as an expression of the Divine Creative Force, work that helped other people and helped to expand awareness in the world. And I sure would like to think how grateful I am that I was finally able to make my living from writing.
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Genre - Self Help/Abuse/Bullying
Rating – G
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