1.) Who inspired you to arrive on social media in an official manner?
I had been on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – for some time but did not feel I could add ‘author’ to my title until I had published something. When I did, I added that to my Facebook page and also set up a Twitter account under my name and ‘author’. The inspiration came from having been a member of several writing groups and learning that others were active in this manner. I have not set up a separate Facebook page for my writing but I include all my writing details – acceptances, notices, accomplishments of others – on my page which is primarily about writing. I’m contemplating setting up a separate writing Facebook page, but haven’t decided if I want to go that route yet.
2.) Why you chose to be a writer than any other form of expressions?
I was telling stories from the time I could speak. And as soon as I could write, I began to put them on paper. I find writing cathartic and necessary for me. There are days when sitting at my computer or writing something in a notebook is the act that makes me able to endure and move forward. It was in a high school creative writing class where my teacher encouraged me to continue writing. Mr. Ely Dragoiu, whom we all referred to as Mr. D., was a huge influence on my belief in my writing abilities.
3.) What’s your writing and social media content posting routine?
I don’t live with a great deal of routine in my life anymore. I started working when I was just thirteen years old. And now that I am basically retired, I have found the time to write whenever I like.
Once I stepped into corporate work life, I was ambitious, pushing always to climb the ladder and be the best at what I did. And I gave myself no time to write, which was suffocating in its own way. After becoming a ‘later in life’ mom, I focused my energies elsewhere. I slowed life down. I worked doing daycare in my home and surprisingly loved it. When my child was school age, I worked for the school district in several different positions. When my child was older, in middle school, I returned to an office job as an office manager and those hard-working ethics brought me back to a higher focus on my job. Not like in my younger days when I had no one else to worry about, but higher than being a stay-at-home mom. Now, at retirement age, although a bit earlier than I anticipated, I have returned to taking life easier. This translates to my writing when I have an idea or feel like I need to do so.
All this to say, I write when I have an idea or when I remember I should post on my blog again. Sometimes I’ll write several posts in a day and sometimes two or even three months will pass before I do again. I’m trying to be better about it, but I allow my day to encompass all things I couldn’t during the working years. And that makes me happy and still allows me to live my lifelong dream of being a published author.
4.) Share about awards and felicitations you received till now?
One of the beautiful things about accomplishing your goals in life has to be that those who care for you, love you, are your friend or supporter will always congratulate your successes and enjoy them with you. Something I love about the writing community is that a win for one of us is a win for all of us. When one of my writing friends shares a publication, especially a hard-won success, my heart sings for them! What a wonderful experience for them! I think back to my first publication and how I felt. I called each of my siblings in tears of joy to share it with them. Were my parents alive, I would have called them. My husband and child were beyond thrilled for me. And I know even if other writers are not as demonstrative as I am, they feel it inside. That joy of sharing our deepest hearts and souls with readers, hoping to capture them within the story even if for a short while.
5.) How you deal with negative feedback or criticism?
It is difficult to endure rejection, especially when you first start publishing. I feel very blessed that my first ever submitted story was accepted at Dastaan World Magazine by the editor at that time, UmairMirxa. That was in February of 2019. And it was published shortly after my fifty-eighth birthday. Umair now has his own ezine and press, Paper Djinn Press. Following that, my next four stories were all accepted by different publishers. However, I then received my first rejection. Had I not had the other successes, I’m not sure I would have continued to pursue writing. I cried. I wished I’d been better at writing. And then I got support from my writing family. They all reminded me that sometimes rejection is because the story isn’t what the publisher is looking for, or isn’t the correct genre, or yes, sometimes not up to par. But you take another look at it. You expand with your editing team, beta readers, and take their suggestions as they are meant – to help your writing be better. I love constructive criticism. I only accept criticism from people I believe intend to help me be the best I can be in my writing. Sadly, the world has its share of hateful, hurtful people. So you have to trust your editor and beta readers to want what is best for you. And then decide what you will accept and not accept – although, generally, your editor is going to give you great advice.
6.) Share about your upcoming creations and your favorite friends from the writing community.
I am terrible at writing under pressure, so I don’t enter contests that require you to continue writing new stories to stay in the running. I guess after all the years in a corporate world, I can’t take the heat anymore! But I write for submission calls when I can and save stories I’ve written for other opportunities that might come along. I do have a novel in the works but I’ve been writing on it for so long, I often wonder if I’ll ever finish it. When I discovered short story writing, I fell in love. I find writing drabbles allow me to practice hooks in a story because you’ve got to manage it in just one hundred words. I have not mastered the five hundred word story yet. But I’ve managed a couple of them.
My novel is at 57,000 words. It switches worlds – from ours to another, magical world, via a wormhole. I like the science part involved in it and the meanings used to express the way the magical world works. It involves magical beings, including wizards/witches and humans, dragons, fairies and more. I love my characters. But I’m at a standstill in it at the moment. I need to take a good, hard look at it and figure out what I need to do to wrap it up or expand it to an additional book. I’ll get there. In the meantime, I’m writing for a couple of calls.
And friends in the writing community? I’m very lucky. I consider myself to have several people I feel especially close to, admire greatly and owe my support for their guidance along the way. First would be my friend and mentor, Steve Carr. He was the one who talked to me about having the courage to put my work out there. He suggested I submit to Dastaan World Magazine. He mentioned other possibilities, too, and I followed his suggestions. I used his book, “Getting Your Short Stories Published: A Guidebook” to learn how to submit appropriately. Steve also gave me my first professional editing jobs, allowing me to edit, “The Wordsmith Chronicles” and “To Be or Not To Be A Writer”.
I mentioned another already, UmairMirxa, who accepted that first story and has continued to be a support to me. He always thinks to include me in his projects, as when he began his own press.
I would be remiss to not mention Elaine Marie Carnegie-Padgett, who has worked with me on some editing projects and has been an incredible support to me.
And also Dennis W. Doty, my editor, who taught me where my writing issues were so I could learn from his information and improve my writing for the future. I find it easy to edit others, almost impossible to edit myself well.
P.C. Darkcliff for helping me recognize my abilities in editing for others, which I now do.
Of course, there are several more, really many friends who have been supportive and shared advice that has helped me improve my writing. I am blessed with knowing many people who return to me the support I share. The writing community is a beautiful place to be.
7.) Any tips for traditional and new social media generation writers?
If only I was a computer wiz! Alas, I’m a bit later generation. But I can share what was shared with me, which I may or may not follow as well as I should.
a.) Make a presence for your writing. Separate yourself from the others by having something to draw their attention to you, whether that is your website, your Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram. And post often. Blogs are great, too!
b.) Always, always use an editor. Especially in the beginning. Once you learn where your writing issues are, you can begin to produce short stories on your own without an editor – if that happens to be a skill you possess. If not, use an editor. But on novels, you MUST use an editor if you want to produce the best work possible. A novel is too much to try to edit on your own, even if you are exceptional at editing.
c.) Ask for help. That’s not encouraging to ask for story ideas. Nope, creating the ideas is why you are calling yourself a writer. You have to look around for that. But if you need to understand, let’s say, the different types of fruit eaten in a particular country to make your story believable, first check the internet and then ask for help if you can’t find it.
d.) And most importantly, write because you love it! Write because it fills your soul. And I wish you the very best of luck and happiness.