What is your creative mission?
My creative mission is to tell meaningful stories that connect with readers emotionally. The great thing about being a novel writer is that we get to take the reader on an in-depth journey through a singular perspective. My debut novel, BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY, follows an emerging painter after she discovers she’s going blind. I love that the novel takes the reader on a trip around the world but ultimately comes back to the main character Aubrey and her internal struggle. Blindness affects 285 million people around the world.
What do you love about what you do?I love that I get to wake up every morning with the characters in my head. Click To Tweet
It probably sounds crazy to someone who isn’t a writer, but for the two hours every morning that I get with them before I leave for my job, I get to travel to places I’ve never been and see things I’ve never seen. I also love hearing from readers. I wrote an article for a website called TinyBuddha a few years ago and when it was published I didn’t think much of it. But then I started getting mentioned on Twitter and readers began e-mailing me saying they loved my writing and thanked me for sharing. It blew my mind, and from then on I knew I wanted to be a writer.
I want to move people through story.
What have you learned from your successes/ failures?
How much time do you have? Just kidding. I guess the thing I’ve learned is that you have to have a strong voice. I am, or I used to be, easily swayed by the opinion of others. I’ve since learned that it’s not really a good idea to share your work with a lot of people early on. Beta readers have good intentions and they can be helpful, but sometimes their feedback needs to be interpreted rather than taken at face value.I learned that I didn't need to take everyone's advice. Click To Tweet
The problem with following everyone’s advice is that people have conflicting ideas, so
… it’s the the author’s job to keep the story from spiraling out of control.
How do you keep pushing ahead after a difficult challenge?
I think about the kind of life I want to live. I know that turning writing into a paycheck is somewhat of a pipe dream, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I’m stressed I usually sit in the sand at the beach or go for a hike on a nearby trail, while there I try to focus on a singular story problem and if I’m lucky I’ll figure something out that helps me jumpstart my writing again. If not, I try again the next day.
Have you ever encountered resistance from family, friends or the world in general? How did you overcome those kinds of blocks?
Absolutely, I don’t come from a family with a lot of money. My parents were exactly opposed to the Arts, but they had to make a lot of sacrifices so that I could go to college, so I think there was an expectation that I’d take a more traditional path. I went to college with kids whose parents could bank role them for years after college while they wrote in cozy apartments along the beach.I knew this path would be lonely, but I took the little blue pill anyway. Click To Tweet
Things were tough when I was working two jobs but only one of them paid. I had a lot of help from friends though. They fed me often and understood when I didn’t come to parties or had to cancel when I’d scheduled to meet them weeks before. Their understanding and support made it a lot easier for me to do my job.
How has your art and creativity healed you?
I don’t know if it’s healed me so much as made me into who I am.Writers write because we don't know what we have to say until we write it. Click To Tweet
There are stories deep down inside me that I think will teach me more about not only who I am but who I want to become and I look forward to learning!
What are your NFA bullet points? What steps would you recommend for anyone who wants to kick some ass and get their creative dreams off the ground?
–Start today, not tomorrow.
–Don’t get discouraged by a bad day of writing. We all have them.
–Listen to what editor’s have to say, but make sure you also listen to your inner voice.
–Make your writing time a priority. If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will either.
–Love what you do.
Connect with Jamie