I’m a Storyteller …
I always have been.
When I was a little girl, I wrote poetry, horse stories, adventure tales. I daydreamed about far-off planets, brave heroines, epic journeys. Then life happened. A good life, full of love, laughter, tears, children, work, play, and real adventure! Time passed, but the stories, they were still there, and one day I began writing them down again.
GLVWG’s Sandra Almonte interviewed Tabitha author of the award-winning Horizon series.
Sandra: I would like to start with…you have a HUSBAND, FOUR kids, TWO cats AND a black lab. How in the world do you find time to write? Do you have a set time you “get away” to write? What advice can you give those of us that think we don’t have enough time in the day to write?
Tabitha: I’m hyper-organized, and if someone really wanted to mess with me, hiding my to-do lists and notebooks would send me into a tailspin! Seriously though, I work with a calendar and plan out my time so that I feel proactive instead of reactive, and I can ensure that I’m attending to my priorities first. I wrote a blog about my obsessive organizational habits, Inside a Writer’s Mind – On Editing, while working with a calendar, and I’ll be sharing thoughts on that during one of my programs at the Write Stuff conference.
But really, there’s never enough time until you decide to make the time. Once I commit to writing a new draft, I protect my creative space fiercely. And, over the years, I’ve learned a lot about effective habits, my personal rhythms, and the amount of time I need in order to have a productive creative writing session. I plan my schedule with this information in mind.
Sandra: You’re also a senior writer at Book Club Babble. How did you become part of that group? How do you juggle your own blog and book writing with writing for the club?
Tabitha: Several years ago, my friend and I attended the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC for the first time. I think one the best things about conferences are the fantastic people you meet who become part of your writing “tribe.” That year, we met some fellow writers who had just started a book blogging web site. They invited my friend and me to guest post, and within a few weeks asked if we wanted to partner with them. There are now seven of us – six who do the writing and interviewing, and one who specializes in marketing strategy and promotions. We read every book we promote, but we don’t promote every book we read. We pride ourselves on the quality of our recommendations, and on the care we give to each author.
I love this work. It gives me an opportunity to read in all genres, and to assure that I keep up the habit of reading even when I’m busy with my own writing projects. The writing community is so supportive of one another, and it’s gratifying to read something wonderful and then be able to enthusiastically promote it on a well-respected platform with good reach.
Sandra: I love your blog “Inside a Writer’s Mind – On Editing” because I can relate to your emotions (well, the negative ones). How do you keep the negative thoughts and emotions from overpowering the positive ones?
Tabitha: Is drinking an acceptable answer? But seriously, the negative emotions do overpower the positive ones, at least for a little while. I allow myself to feel them for a limited amount of time, and then I get back to work. Because once I start working again, the creativity flows. When I’m finished with a draft, I hope I have a good story. When I’m finished with the edits, I hope the writing will be good too – or at least much better than it was!
Sandra: And speaking of emotions, you posted your blog “Handle With Care – Author Inside” in August 2016. In it, you talked about being vulnerable and ended with “I’m learning to make peace with the discomfort.” Can you describe your journey with vulnerability so far?
Tabitha: I think there are two parts to my experience with vulnerability. First, in my previous job as an admissions director and Latin teacher, I’d attained a high degree of competency in my profession. I knew what I was doing, and I felt confident most of the time. Not that I didn’t make mistakes, of course I did, but I knew that I held well-earned authority in my field. With writing, on the other hand, I was filled with doubt about my skills, about my ability to finish something, and about the quality of my stories. And honestly, that never seems to fade. With each new piece, I believe my technical skills as a writer are improving, but that’s about all. I still question whether or not I’ll ever type “the end” on that particular story, and I still wonder whether anyone will want to read it if I finally do.
The other part of this vulnerability thing is that, as artists, we put a piece of ourselves into the world each time we create something new, knowing full well that some people really won’t like it. And they’re going to let us know they don’t like it. And no matter how tough we think our skin is, it still hurts.
I’m learning to accept vulnerability and the discomfort it brings me. Experience helps. As insecure as I feel when I receive a draft back from the editor, I have enough experience to know I will work through the process, even if I can’t see my way at that moment. I know when I get a nasty review, a positive one will usually follow. I pay attention to the positive because it means I’ve touched someone through my storytelling and that’s so much more important to me. Allowing myself to be vulnerable is still not easy, but without opening up to it, I’m not opening myself to growth, or to creativity, or to connecting with readers and other members of my writing tribe. Without vulnerability, I don’t think there would be fulfillment.
Tabitha will present two seminars at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™.
March 23, 2018. In the morning, So You Want To Be an Indie Author.
Independent publishing is no longer a path of last resort. For many authors, it’s a business decision, and an exciting one at that. As an independent author, you will be responsible for your story content, your brand and platform, and your marketing and sales. What makes a successful indie? For whom is this a viable choice? Let’s talk about the pros and cons of this path to publishing, and consider what your first year as an indie author might look like.
Indie authors have to think beyond their book’s release in order to implement an effective marketing and sales strategy. From platform-building to pre-orders, from back-lists to book tours, let’s talk best practices and creative strategy for getting your book into readers’ hands.
You can visit Tabitha Lord at www.tabithalordauthor.com, where she hosts guest bloggers and talks parenting and writing craft, as well as http://www.bookclubbabble.com, where as a senior writer, she posts author interviews, reviews and more. And be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Sandra Almonte is a Certified Fitness Trainer and Health & Wellness Coach. She is also a Freelance Copywriter (www.thewellnesscopywriter.com). She writes on health, fitness, and nutrition for publications in print and online. Sandra has a poem, Wither Or Flourish, published in the 2016 GLVWG Anthology – Write Here, Write Now. And she’s currently the newsletter chair for GLVWG.
When Sandra’s not training, coaching, or writing she enjoys hiking with her dog, bike riding, making bracelets using sterling silver and unique beads, and volunteering for good causes.