Saturday, February 5, 2011
Sorry, ladies, I haven't meant to be AWOL. However, I promise to make it up to you with a terrific interview with the author of Writer's Wellness.
Welcome to Cat's Place, Joy!
Hello, Cat. I’m honored to be your guest today. My new non-fiction book is actually a second edition, a revision of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity which first came out in 2003. It’s been updated and is now available in print and as an e-book from Who Dares Wins Publishing.
I wrote Writer Wellness in response to the many writers who wanted to know my “secret” to publishing articles and poems, raising a family, and working part-time as a teacher. I took a look at my daily life by keeping track of it for a while and noticed several habits. Those habits included regular journal writing, habitual exercise, meditation, proper nutrition, and playing around with different forms of arts and crafts that enabled me to stay on a creative edge all the time. I recognized the process kept me in a state of creativity and helped me completely avoid writer’s block. I’ll never forget hearing young adult author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor say she had so many ideas in her head all the time she didn’t have time for writer’s block she had writer’s diarrhea. That’s how I feel. Like I’m constantly running with ideas. I put Writer Wellness together for others to adapt to their own lives and careers, and the result was a book and workshops.
Cat- Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Joy- Writing has always come naturally to me. From the age of ten I wrote poems, stories, plays, and articles for school and a neighborhood newspaper I put together in the fifth grade. I wrote then and now because it is some kind of compulsion that can only be relieved by writing. I HAVE to write.
C- What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
J.H.- Being a published author has been my dream since I was a young child. I’ve published over 500 trade journal articles and newspaper columns since college. Writing is what I do that brings me the closest to putting my hands on my real truth—who I really am. The only thing I dislike about being an author is the difficulty making a living with it.
C- How do you balance your personal and writing time?
J.H.- When my daughters were young, and responsibilities piled higher and higher, I learned to do a little something on everything every day. I didn’t have the luxury of large chunks of uninterrupted time to work on a project until it was done no matter what. But babies are a big what and their needs took priority. The girls are in college now but I still do a little something on a long list of things every day and I’m very productive with that process.
The other thing that provides balance for me is staying healthy. I’m addicted to exercise and I like the challenge of cooking and baking with alternative products like spelt in place of white flour. Exercise and nutrition.
C.- How do you write?
J.H.- I write in some form or another constantly. The voices in my head are a steady stream of comments, questions, and ideas that force me to keep pad and pen everywhere. I journal almost every day and sometimes twice a day. Because I have paper and pen handy, when I find myself waiting, I write. I write when I’m eating lunch at a restaurant by myself. I consider my blogs writing and I do a lot of them. These activities keep my writing muscle in shape and in a perpetual state of readiness to then work on the books and articles I have in the hopper.
C- What would you want readers to take away from your books?
J.H.- I want readers of Writer Wellness to take away the idea that writing is a natural process but to be something more than someone who scribbles poems on the back of an envelope it takes a plan and perseverance. The plan found in my book is adaptable to anyone’s needs who really, really wants to pursue a writing career. Because the plan includes a little bit of everything (journaling, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play) every day in whatever amounts your life allows at the time. The process sustained me during the years that other parents set aside their writing plans and it continues to support me as I grow as an author.
C- Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
J.H.- Please set your ego aside and get responsible assistance in the form of a critique partner, writing courses, and professional editors who teach as well as edit. Almost nothing I write goes before the public without several drafts and major projects always get passed by a friendly but knowledgeable writer to see things I missed. This makes the writing communal and always much stronger. And I am constantly learning as a writer because I don’t take it personally when someone offers constructive criticism. I’m writing for readers. I WANT to know how it’s received, and a good critique will help me understand how to connect better with readers.
C.- Where can readers go on the net to find more on your books and anything else?
J.H.- I am thrilled when readers connect with me. My blog is the best place to do that.
Book sales are available just about everywhere, but for the best service I recommend visiting my publisher Who Dares Wins Publishing.
Joy E. Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity
Who Dares Wins Publishing
Thank you so much for joining us today, Joy. And I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say I look forward to reading Writer's Wellness.