Welcome to our Q&A spotlight! We’re featuring author Christy Mann this week, who offers great insight on the writing process and staying true to yourself.
Christy’s upcoming novel, “Death of a Secret“, will be released in July 2018.
“Sarah Rosenthal is a Senator’s daughter. Despite the high profile lifestyle that comes with her father’s political career, she has managed to avoid most of the chaos.
On the surface, things seem perfect, but perfection never lasts.
When a stranger comes knocking, blackmail in mind, Latham Buchanan steps in to clean up the mess and Sarah’s life takes a dark turn. Her intention to end the madness may just be the end of her.”
THREE THINGS YOU LEARNED WHILE WRITING “DEATH OF A SECRET”:
1.) Don’t rush the process.
Give yourself plenty of time and then double that and add a week (or a month). Things will come up, life happens, and you’ll be grateful you have extra time to work with. You might be able to finish before your deadline, but in most cases, writing a book takes every bit of the time you give yourself and then some.
2.) Never give up.
There was a time when I’d walk away from things when they got too difficult or frustrating. I did the same thing with “Death of a Secret“, but I was determined to get it out there, so I kept coming back. Sometimes all I could do was look at it and cry. Other times, I managed to get a few words down. It wasn’t always easy, but after three years, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.
3.) Write for yourself.
Trigger warnings became an issue for me while I was writing “Death of a Secret“. Suddenly, they were a requirement in several of my writing groups, which made me question my own work. I was about 3/4 of the way through with my first rewrite at the time, and I scrapped the entire thing and started over. I toned down the brutality. I glossed over more risqué scenes or omitted them completely. That added an entire year to the process, and in the end, I hated that version of the story. It was no longer mine.
Don’t do that to yourself. Write the story you want to tell and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it. There are plenty of other people who will.
THREE SOURCES OF INSPIRATION THAT HAVE HELPED YOU IN YOUR WRITING:
1.) The naysayers, haters, non-believers, whatever you want to call them.
Anyone (including my inner voice) that told me I couldn’t do it? They’ve inspired me the most. I’ve always been a “don’t tell me I can’t” kind of person – that just makes me dig my heels in and try even harder, just to prove I can.
2.) Chuck Wendig.
Chuck was a huge inspiration for the short stories I’ve published thanks to his flash fiction challenge. He is a master of words like no other and I strive daily to write as well as he does. One day, I hope I get the chance to thank him personally for being an example of awesomeness for me.
3.) My kids.
They’re grown now and I don’t have my whole life ahead of me anymore. I’d like to leave them more than just a lump sum of cash and some great memories, a legacy that proves you can do whatever you want and be happy. I always encouraged them to follow their dreams, but teaching through example is so much more powerful. They see me being exactly who I want to be, which I hope will inspire them to do the same.
THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO ASPIRING AUTHORS:
1.) Shut up and do it.
Frustration and aggravation are part of writing. We all need to vent (or take a break) from time to time, but neither of those things are going to write a book for you. Sooner or later, you just have to suck it up and do the work.
2.) Embrace the suck and start a gratitude journal.
There’s always going to be something that sucks about any given day. Acknowledge that and be grateful for it, recognizing it as an opportunity for growth. More importantly? Write down the things that make you feel grateful. I don’t care if the entry says you’re grateful for indoor plumbing because you couldn’t imagine getting anything done if you had to run to an outhouse every 20 minutes. That is an actual entry in my gratitude journal.
3.) Doooooo iiiiitttttt!!!!
Don’t tell me you could write a book if you wanted to. That doesn’t impress me. Telling me you sat down and cranked out 500 words yesterday? We’ll talk about how awesome you are for days on end.
That’s what it means to be a writer. Unless you actually do the work, it doesn’t count.
Heather is the owner/administrator of the Story Scribes community. She’s a prolific writer, web developer, and visual artist who spends every year counting down the days until NaNoWriMo.