“While one editor might reject a piece, another might love it”/ Patty Somlo

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Patty Somlo has received four Pushcart Prize nominations, been nominated for storySouth’s Million Writers Award and had an essay selected as a Notable Essay of 2013 for Best American Essays 2014. (This post originally appeared on Colleen Story’s Writing and Wellness website. We are reprinting it here with Colleen’s permission.)

Talk Yourself Out of Giving Up

Patty hiking. I tend to suffer from many of the emotional challenges of being a writer, including dealing with rejection, depression, motivation, anxiety, self-doubt, isolation, and feeling overwhelmed and stressed by book promotion.

I think the biggest effect it has had on derailing my writing goals is to sometimes cause me to give up on getting a piece of writing published because the work has been rejected a number of times.

The chief way I deal with all of these challenges is to keep on working. I also “talk to myself,” and this seems most effective when I am out on a long walk.

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“It Takes an Emotionally Healthy Person to Succeed” / Karen Jones Gowen

HeadShot 2 - Copy (2)Born and raised in central Illinois, Karen Jones Gowen attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She transferred to Brigham Young University, where she met her husband Bruce. She graduated from BYU with a degree in English and American Literature.

Karen and Bruce have lived in Utah, Illinois, California and Washington, currently residing in Panajachel, Guatemala. They are the parents of ten children. Not surprisingly, family relationships are a recurring theme in Karen’s writing.

Karen has written six published books, and is managing editor for WiDo Publishing™, a small literary press in Salt Lake City. WiDo publishes 12–15 books a year.

This article originally appeared on Colleen Bradley’s Writing and Wellness blog, and is reprinted here with Colleen’s permission.

I’m An All or Nothing Sort

I’m not the kind of person who can squeeze in 10 or 20 minutes here and there to write. I’m an all or nothing sort who either spends hours a day on my manuscript or not at all.

Although I’ve tried to be more balanced, it still seems to be long stretches at work or else putting it off for another day. The long stretches can be very productive for writing but definitely too much sitting.

Walking is my favorite regular exercise, and I feel best when I get out four or five times a week for about an hour. Living in Guatemala without a car, I walk to the market for what we need. This makes walking a household necessity as well as a pleasant exercise.

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“Focusing on self is not true creativity” / Carol Pratt Bradley

Carol Pratt BradleyCarol Pratt Bradley is a historical novelist with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Her history interests currently include the Ancient Near Eastern world, Reformation England, and 17th century America. She is the author of The Light of the Candle, an imaginative story of the biblical Daniel. She has been married to her wonderful husband Bryan for over three decades. Their three daughters and one son have grown and left their parents to survive on their own. They have a Yorkie named Ozzie, who sleeps beside Carol on the couch while she writes.

This interview originally appeared on Colleen Story’s Writing and Wellness blog. We have reprinted it here with Colleen’s permission.

As Writers, We Must Practice Balance

Writing is part of who I am, but it is not all of me. I like the description of myself as a house filled with various rooms, each with a different purpose.

If I give all of my attention to only one room, making it bigger and more elaborate than the other rooms, then my house is not balanced. To be a productive, creative being, I must practice balance like a tightrope walker in a circus. So I’ve found I need to be careful of how I see my identity. If I see myself only as a writer, I have built that one room too big, to the neglect of the others.

I’ve heard various writers tell how they fit writing into their days, spending long hours at a desk, staring at a blank wall, etc. That may be good for them, but I’ve had to find my own way.

I’ve learned that I am a people person, who goes crazy if I’m alone in the house too much, which does nothing for my creativity. I need variety to my days:  taking nightly “walk and talks” with my husband, going to a tai chi class with a good friend, doing yoga with my twin sister, pulling the ever-present weeds in my flower beds, attending church on Sunday, going to plays and lunches, and enjoying bridal and baby showers in my neighborhood. I need to laugh and talk with friends, and make new ones. Being actively involved in life fuels my creativity.

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“I want to write these stories, and I want people to read them” / Scott Keen

DSCN0553-2Scott Keen grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing—he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he homeschools.

Scott was interviewed by Colleen Story on her Writing and Wellness blog. We have reprinted it here with her permission. Thank you, Colleen!

The Pull-Up Bar as a Headache Cure!

One of my biggest physical challenges to writing, and many other things, was neck pain and headaches. Like most everyone else who stares at a computer as part of their job, I hold my tension in my neck and shoulders. There were plenty of times I couldn’t write because of this.

I realized that my life is pretty sedentary. I did not do a whole lot of exercise or stretching that stretched me physically, and that in itself can be pretty depressing.

So one small change I enacted was to buy myself a pull-up bar. Using that each night has eased a lot of my headaches. While it hasn’t cured them completely (I still hold tension there), strengthening the muscles in that part of my body has helped me tremendously.

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“I refuse to settle for a life that is any less than what I dream it to be” / S. B. Roozenboom

author photoS.B. Roozenboom grew up in the Great Northwest. She is the author of three young adult novels: Markings, Predator Girl, and Taste of Silver. Her first science fiction novel will be released next year from WiDo Publishing. When not writing, S.B. can be found high up in the Cascade Mountains, down on the Oregon coast, or cozied up with a latte in Starbucks.

She was recently featured on Colleen Story’s Writing and Wellness blog. We have reprinted the interview with Colleen’s permission.

When Life Interferes with Writing

Gosh, these last two years have held so many physical and mental challenges for me that have really messed with my writing ability. I used to sit down at a computer and complete ten, fifteen pages a day with no problems. I knew exactly where I wanted to go with the story, I knew exactly what I wanted to say, who I wanted the characters to become… but not so much lately.

Most people start writing novels later in life. They don’t sit down at seventeen years old like I did and birth three books in three years. I am now twenty-four which means I’ve hit that “Transitional Stage” in life where I am no longer a teenager whose day-to-day consisted of homework and chores… I’m an adult trying to figure out how the heck to run my life.

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“I work out as often as I write” / Melissa Palmer

bioheadThank you to Colleen Story, for this inspiring interview with Melissa Palmer on her Writing on Wellness blog. We are reprinting it here with Colleen’s permission.

Giving the Body and Mind Equal Attention

Whether I like it or not, the dang human body needs sleep, even if I’m on a roll. I tend to stay up way too late writing, much to the chagrin of anyone who has to deal with me during the daylight hours.

I work out as often as I write.

The body feeds the mind as much as the mind feeds the body, so I try to give them both equal attention.

I do at least three cardio and three strength training workouts in a week. (I have to, or I’m unpleasant to be around.) I get out into the gym, turn on the Matt and Kim Pandora station, and it’s like I’m on my own little sunshine planet.

I had to give up long distance running after an injury—I’ve moved to cycling. But, I’ll share a secret with you. I get on the spin bike, pop on an episode of Supernatural, and I am in happy town. With that combo, I can do anything.

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“Submitting to a Small Press” / Julie Musil Interviews WiDo’s Managing Editor

IMG_4672Have you ever considered submitting to a small publisher? Were you confused about their place in the industry, or what they bring to the table? Author Julie Musil interviewed Karen Jones Gowen, Managing Editor at WiDo Publishing,  for her  blog to shed some light on small publishers and bust some common myths.  The post has been reprinted here with Julie’s permission.

Julie Musil: What are some common misconceptions about small publishers? Can you do a little “myth busting” for us?
 
Karen Gowen:

“A small press can’t do anything for me I can’t do as well or better for myself.” A common misconception, that doesn’t take into consideration the cost of time and money it requires to do it all yourself rather than sharing the load with professionals who are willing to invest in your work.

“Small publishers can’t get my book in a bookstore.” If a small publisher has the right distribution channels then your book can certainly be in a bookstore. However, remember that ultimately the bookstore chooses what it puts on its shelves and with millions of books to choose from, they need to have a reason to stock yours. This is why we encourage our authors to promote themselves and their books the first 90 days of their launch, in partnership with their local bookstores.

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“The Symbiotic Relationship between Editor and Author” / Tamara Hart Heiner

Authors and editors are different job titles, but they share the same role: to make something poignant, dramatic, and beautiful out of words.

The two go hand-in-hand. One cannot function without the other. Where would authors be without editors? And where would editors be without authors? The two are so closely related that many an editor has put his hand to pen (or keyboard, as it would be) and pumped out prose or poetry. And more than one author has hung out a shingle and declared herself an editor.

I would say that the very best editors are both, and here’s why.

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“In the beginning, it’s close to impossible not to take rejection to heart” / Amy Saia

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Amy Saia lives in Kansas as a writer and musician. Her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press and in 2012 her first novel, The Soul Seekers, was published by WiDo followed by The Time Seekers in September 2014. The final book in the trilogy is scheduled for release in 2015. Thank you to Colleen Story, for this insightful interview with another one of our WiDo authors on her Writing on Wellness blog. We are reprinting it here with Colleen’s permission.

Physical Wellness

So far, the biggest physical challenge of being a writer has been accepting the pure sedentary nature of the whole thing. I am not one to sit still, but so far it is the only way I can write. I’ve learned to take frequent breaks and stretch every day to keep my body flexible. Long writing stints can cause backache, and it’s usually a sign to take a day or two off. Another thing I noticed early on is to turn the computer monitor down so I won’t suffer any eye strain.

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“It’s not the life you see on TV” / Clarissa Draper

DSC_0403Clarissa Draper, a Canadian currently living in Mexico, spends most of her time composing, planning, and writing code-based mysteries. Although she has written from an early age, she started writing full time in 2006, and is currently writing her third mystery in the Evans/Blackwell series.  Thank you to Colleen Story, for this fascinating interview with Clarissa on her Writing on Wellness blog. We are reprinting it here with permission.

Physical Wellness

When I write, I feel the urge to eat. Perhaps it’s because my brain is crying out for nourishment to feed the creative demons. Whatever it is, that urge to eat coupled with long hours of sitting causes me to gain weight if I’m not careful.

I’m not on a diet, but I find healthy snack and drink choices are crucial.  I stay away from alcohol, juice and soda. I drink my coffee and tea black. I also like to drink water with a squeeze of lemon. Also, I try to keep snacks like nuts nearby. I can eat a few and it takes the cravings away. I also love vegetables, so snacking on baby carrots and tomatoes are no problem for me.

I don’t have a routine for exercise, but what I’ve started doing this year is not sitting for long periods of time. Every twenty minutes or so, I like to get up and walk around. Perhaps I’ll just take a jaunt around my office or I’ll take my dog for a walk. Walking does get the creative juices flowing.

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