You work hard, keep your eye on the prize and just grind.
Don't worry about not having a group that "gets" you right away... your Tribe will find you.
When the time is right, you'll know... everything else will fall away and it will all click into place.
Meeting Samantha less than two months ago, we've forged an immediate connection. She's a brilliant writer, an amazing person and is one-third of our incredible little Tribe.
She inspires me everyday - read on to find out how.
What inspired you to write your debut novel?
I’ve always been very passionate about the Earth. It’s slow deterioration has been something that’s weighed heavy on my heart as far back as I can remember. The inspiration hit me in August of 2017, to write a story that drew a parallel to our strife between convenience/ consumerism, and the consumption of our earth - whether it’s the greenhouse gas effect, clear-cut forestry, or the state of our polar ice, and its rapid melt. I wanted magical realism to play a part in the story, and a hero that was as every day as you or I, but with a will strong enough that he could make a difference in their world.
What path of publishing are you looking to pursue?
I really want to see my books on bookshelves around the world. That’s always been my dream, and as such, Traditional Publishing is my first choice.
How important is it to you for success in finding your tribe, and having a sense of community?
Having a community is everything, especially in a career path such as the arts. Being a creative is hard, and many of us are quite alone in these endeavors. It’s not like sports, or music, where our passions are social environments. For creatives, our community is our only real connection to like-minded people. Finding someone, a group of people, or an entire community of creatives, is everything if you plan on being successful.
What inspired you to become an author & has it always been your dream?
Being a “creative” has always been my dream. I’ve spent my entire life as a creative – writing, painting, photography. I was always very artistically inclined, but writing, in general, has been a part of my identity since I was old enough to form words (before then, it was all verbal stories!). Right out of high school I was hired on as an editorial journalist, with a weekly column. Back then, I thought I wanted to travel the world as a journalist, reporting from the front lines, and shining light on the truth behind what is really happening around the world. It was a very “idealist” notion, but for an ambitious nineteen year old, it seemed like a very important and grand plan. I ended up travelling the world, but working as a photographer. Now coming back to creative writing, everything in my life has come full circle, the dream is becoming a reality in what is truly my passion!
Where’s your favorite space to write?
My office. It’s not perfect, but it’s my “zen” space. When I sit down, my left brain shuts off, my "write" brain powers up, and I know it’s time to get down to business!
What are your top 5 must haves for a writing space?
Coffee, music (it has to be instrumentals – no words! Piano guys are one of my go-to’s), my notebook, coffee and fresh air.
How many hours a day do you write?
Less than I wish I could. I try to get in at least an hour a day of “side hustle”. That doesn’t always mean I get a solid hour of writing, sometimes it means I do two writing sprints, and then a half hour of social media planning, or I work on my blog or newsletter. Lately I’ve dedicated an hour every morning to word count and progress on my WIP, and then I work in an hour or two later in the day to my side hustle.
In terms of Outlining are you Plotter, a Pantser or a Plantser?
I’m a Plantser. I outline to understand where my story’s going, and then I improvise the crap out of it. I like letting the story lead me – I think you can learn a lot about your characters and your story by pantsing... letting my creativity guide me instead of the other way around.
Because I have a pretty Type-A personality, I’m always curious about other peoples scheduling methods. Do you use a schedule to plan out your life / writing & if so, do you use paper or electronic planning?
Both paper and electronic, and then both again! I haven’t found my perfect organization structure yet, and with a full time executive role as my main hustle, I have to really be on top of my schedules. I have a work agenda broken down by hours in a day, a personal Erin Condren agenda, broken down my hours in the day, I time-block using my google calendar (which has about seven calendars built into it to incorporate my work schedule, my personal, and my writing endeavours) and then I use my calendar on my phone for reminders, can’t miss appointments, and on-the-go scheduling.
What is your favorite part about the writing process?
I think my favorite part is when I read back my WIP (The entire thing) and find bread crumbs in the beginning chapters that I’ve left behind, without realising it, only to aid a twist or a major plot point in my climax. I do it all the time, and when I read it, now knowing how things unravelled in my pantsing stages, it’s so exciting to see how the story truly is it’s own and I’m just the one translating it to paper. It’s like the story knows exactly where it’s going, and leaves clues along the way, that I had no idea were taking place until the read-through.
What is your least favorite part about the writing process?
Probably “the next step” - Every. Next. Step! It’s really intimidating doing this all the first time. I get really overwhelmed and over think every new step in my processes. It makes taking the next step very difficult because I have built up the next step into a monster hurdle to get around.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I wrote this book (first draft) in six weeks. It’s taken me six months to edit and revise, of which I’m still working through now, but the initial draft was six weeks (50,000 words of which were down during Nanowrimo).
What’s your biggest internal obstacle in getting your writing done?
Over thinking every step, and being too proud to ask for advise on what to do next.
What’s your biggest external obstacle in getting your writing done?
My day job. I am still learning to balance my loyalties to my main hustle, and my passions. My day job is a very left brain dominant career, so switching to creative thinking can sometimes be really challenging.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I think we get in our own way, and often, we call this writers block. I have been through it, and I’ve given myself the excuse that I was “blocked” and therefore just put my writing on a shelf until I felt like picking it back up – but it was exactly that – an EXCUSE. Now I just write through it. If I can’t seem to get words down for my WIP, I switch gears. I write a blog post, or a poem, or work on content for my writers workbooks (About writers block!). I change my scenery, and take my laptop into a bath, or out to the back porch. I grab a colouring book or sketch pad and try to release my creative energy in a different direction. I never just put it away, I keep pushing through in some creative fashion.
Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
Writing is addictive, which for me means it’s both super energizing, and super exhausting. I find certain aspects of writing can be so incredibly draining, I literally fall asleep in a pile of paper (this is generally in my outlining phases. I’ve always told myself it’s because my brain is so overloaded with inspiration that it does a hard shut down). When I have an amazing writing session, or when I’m working with my tribe or with clients, and I can see them getting excited, or we start accomplishing things, I find that frequency generates a buzz, but much like an amazing cup of coffee, the crash after the java rush is aggressive, and I find that after some really amazing high energized, high frequency milestones, I’m completely exhausted.
Best piece of advice for other writers?
Writing is hard. If you know that coming into this, it won’t be as hard. You’re not alone in any of the ups and downs. It’s not always going to flow out of you, it’s not going to be done in a week, and it’s hard to hear things you don’t want to hear – BUT – you were made for this. I’ve come across a quote lately, that I am going to butcher, but essentially, if you are being called to do something – whatever that something is – it means it’s in you to do it. If you’re being called to write a book, it’s in you to write that book. You have every ounce of determination, drive, and knowledge to write that book. Have faith in yourself, know that it’s going to be hard, but it’s your success to own!
What is your favorite quote about writing?
That depends on where I am in my process I guess. The quote that resonates the most with me right now is “failure is not the opposite of success, it’s merely one of the steps needed in achieving success”.
Which authors are your biggest inspirations?
Well this is going to be a mish-mash of a lot of genres and a lot of reasons. Iris Johansen, Sarah J Maas, Brian Tracy, Kristen Martin, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jessie Elliot, Kim Chance, Jane Austin, Mary Kubica, Ruth Ware, Phil Vischer, and the list continues.
What are you currently working on now?
Revisions on my debut novel and my passion platform (which includes a ton of writer content, mentoring and co-creating The Write Tribe)
What is your Favourite Season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)? Does the season impact your writing life / creativity?
Fall. I love summer and warmth, but the fall is so beautiful and crisp. It absolutely effects my writing. I get really cozy during the fall, I spend a lot of time with a coffee, in front of my computer, working on my platform. Fall is when most of my ideas are generated, and when I am my most productive self.
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