Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 15:50 Posted by Clash Saturday, 01 September 2012 01:38
Job-title: Dog Lover, Writer, Speaker
Give us your job description in 25 words or less. Writer of inspirational stories. I like to provide a new perspective, a new outlook, a new attitude.
Describe a typical workday. Up at 5:00 a.m., eat a hard-boiled egg, make a cup of coffee, open email, Tweet a little, Facebook some, then into writing (most of the time with rescue dog Charlie Bear on my lap). Working on anything from short stories to longer works like novels or a nonfiction book. The afternoons find me at the office doing paperwork for the small business my husband and I own selling lawn care supplies. Dinner at home, almost always a healthy salad with the meal; afterwards, ride my exercise bike. Sometimes I re-read what I have written that morning and make notations for revisions the next day, then early to bed.
What led you to realize that you wanted to do this type of work? I loved English classes in school, especially spelling bees (do they do those anymore?). I’ve always loved reading inspiring stories, and wondered if I could write them.
Did you have any heroes or mentors in your industry that you admired? Mitch Albom’s works have always resonated with me: heartfelt and real. Kay Marshall Strom’s books, both fiction and nonfiction, address real-life issues in entertaining ways.
What type of education or training was required to land your job? Learning the craft and skill of writing is an ongoing process. I took many classes to learn the basics, then attended many conferences to hone my craft. Now I speak at those conferences and teach others what I have learned.
What do you love most about your job? Helping others. Whether it is something a person has read that I have written that touches his or her heart, or an attendee at a class I teach who learns what he or she needs to do to be successful in this business, it all warms my heart. After a bit of success selling more than 30 stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and writing for Guideposts magazine, this feisty rescue dog entered my life with a story begging to be told. Helping people learn that Rescue Dogs Make Great Family Pets is the reason I wrote the CHARLIE BEAR book.
What one part of your job do you wish you could hire someone else to do? Hands-down, that would be the marketing part. Like an actor or actress who needs to keep their face in the limelight in order for people to keep them in mind the next time they want to see a movie, writers must use social media to promote their work: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, newsletters. I do it all, but it eats up my time, time I wish I could use for writing. But I am finding a balance and not trying to do it all (at least at the same time).
What advice would you give to teenagers wanting to get into your field of work? Think about what you love to read, then learn all you can about the art of storytelling. Be willing to invest in your career with time and money. Ask anyone who is a “successful” author—it doesn’t happen overnight. Years and years of hard work, determination, and a never-give-up attitude are required.
How does your job allow you to use your God-given gifts? I love to support, motivate and encourage others. God gave me that as a gift (and I’m not afraid to say it!), and so I must use it to the best of my ability. Did he make me an accountant, a firefighter, an attorney, or a computer programmer? No, he called me to be a writer and to raise awareness about the plight of homeless pets. And even though I became a writer later in life (I guess that’s because in the early years I wasn’t listening, or maybe I just wasn’t ready), it doesn’t matter. I’m listening now.
Do you have any hobbies or off-hours pursuits that teenagers would find of interest? I love to swim. I love to work out. I love to play golf (it’s so peaceful out there on the golf course). I love dogs, especially my headstrong rescue dog, Charlie Bear.