Quote of the day:
You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do."
- GUEST AUTHOR
Welcome to my first guest from British Columbia, Canada - Jennifer Browne. This lady is very talented. Take it away, Jennifer ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
From the time I was small, I always wanted to belong to one of the following three professions: teacher, journalist, or writer. I tried my hand at teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) for a couple of years after I completed by bachelor’s degree in English Literature. (The only degree I could have imagined myself earning at that time.) I was surprised when I didn’t enjoy teaching as much as I thought I would. I think I became frustrated at the limitations that arose from teaching foreign exchange students English from a textbook. You can only go so far in regards to what concepts they are asked to understand, both verbally and conceptually. Because many of these students were studying English in Canada in order to pass the internationally-recognized TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam, they were very focused on only the information they needed to pass that test. I found that restricting.
After I had my third (and final) child, I was a stay-at-home mom, and desperately needed to be able to spread my wings, creatively. I felt, as most mothers of young children do, creatively stifled and it was as though I couldn’t identify with myself any longer. This was scary for me, because I had always been very independent and my actions very purposeful. I decided I needed an outlet, and so I began to write!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Definitely the part I enjoy most is the creative aspect of it. Even when there is a guideline to follow, I always feel as though I can inject part of my personality into any piece of writing. I love the freedom of working on my own schedule, and the ability to be home for my children as they progress through school. I find writing incredibly cathartic, and I actually believe it has led to a better marriage between my husband and me. I am able to cleanse my brain daily, through the formation of words, and for this I am thankful.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Sometimes it’s finding work that interests me from the get-go, and other times it’s the criticism that I receive from it. Often, it’s the attempt to convey my excitement for a project to those who are just not as excitable! My teenage son struggles with English in middle school, and I find it frustrating to work with him on projects that I believe should be easier for him than he does. It’s hard seeing him struggle with writing. Oh, and being interrupted. Because I have three children, I am often interrupted while writing. That’s difficult. I have to try and fake my way through being patient, but in my head I’m screaming, “Leave me alone! Go play with your brothers!”
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I’ve had ALOT of jobs! I have been a restaurant server, gas station attendant, glass swiggler, receptionist, assistant, wellness consultant, teacher, childcare provider, kitchen tool representative, and government employee, to name a few. I like frequent change, which is why I enjoy freelance writing. I find it enjoyable to begin new projects, and have them completed within a short period of time. Writing really works for me, in that sense.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I completed my very first non-fiction book this fall. It’s called Love Your Gut: Cut the B.S. and Lose Your I.B.S. (and Other Digestive Disorders). I am presently shopping it around in an attempt to find a publisher. This book took me over a year to write, and consumed all of my spare time. It is definitely my greatest achievement thus far. Your readers can follow me in my quest for publication through my blog, at www.jenniferbrowne.org. I give weekly updates here.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Presently, I am all about the freelance, but come January, I will begin my next big project. It will be another health and wellness, non-fiction book. Stay tuned!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
In regards to writing, I suppose I like to write about what I personally would enjoy reading. When I am doing research for projects that I am truly interested in, I find myself losing hours on the internet! I definitely cannot justify how many hours I put into some projects...lol...
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Non-fiction, and mostly health and wellness. I have tried my hand a few times at writing fiction, but it’s not the same process as non-fiction. When I’m writing about what I know, I feel like the words just pour out over the pages. If it’s easy to write, you know it will be good, because you will have enjoyed writing it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Do you have any tips for me? Lol...I am always learning. I guess there are a few things I have learned that are somewhat universal in their truths:
- Always write ahead of your deadlines, because the best pieces of writing are often edited considerably. Edit, edit, edit. Never send anything out without reading it out loud to yourself, and always print out a hardcopy so that you can see how it looks on paper. (If it’s meant for paper.)
- Be persistent. The business of writing for money is competitive; the weak will get weeded out, and the strong and persistent will prevail!
- Network yourself like crazy. A social media platform is incredibly necessary, and you can learn alot of other, more experienced writers, so join writers’ groups.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
I do when I try and write fiction.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I find that I have more brainpower between the hours of 7-11am. I am NOT a night owl, and my brain officially turns to mush after 9pm. Seriously.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
They change. I write at home, mostly, because I find public places to be distracting. I have no idea how anyone writes anything at Starbucks. If I find I have great energy in one place, then I will tend to stick to that spot. Lately that location has been at my kitchen table, but previously has been the end of a couch in my living room.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
The feeling of accomplishment I get after completing a project.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I have no such person! I love many authors, and many books, for many different reasons. It’s funny, but even though I write non-fiction, most of my favourite authors are American writers from the 1920’s who write fiction, aside from a few notable poets.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
When a reader makes a lifestyle change because of something that I have written, that is definitely the ultimate compliment for me.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
When a comment leads me to believe that the person didn’t actually read the piece they are commenting on, but rather just saw the title and decided to go from there, then that makes me annoyingly defensive. Other than that, I welcome criticism of any kind, because I think it is what forces you to grow as a writer. If no one ever criticized my work, I would end of very disillusioned about my ability to write. When you receive constant, truthful feedback, you know exactly what you are putting out into the world.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Absolutely! That’s why I prefer non-fiction. I find it very satisfying to write from personal experience.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love reading, yoga, family, food, wine, travel. You know; the basics!
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes! It is so important to have someone else edit your book/books. You edit yourself until you see no more you can change, then pass it along to a professional editor and start the whole editing process again. The editing part is my least favourite part of the book-writing process, but it is so, so necessary.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
It sounds cliché, but my husband. He sees the lighter side of everything (sometimes frustratingly so), and makes me laugh continuously.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To write more books, begin new ventures, and stay true to myself and my insatiable need for change and personal growth.
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Not yet. I was fairly diligent in researching the industry before I ever attempted to navigate it, and I think that has helped. I’m sure I will eventually get frustrated with it, but I like to think of it as the “perfect storm.” There are so many things that need to come together in order to get published, and I’m okay with that. It’s always nice to know that in the every end, if I am unsuccessful with having a project traditionally published, I can still have it completed in my mind by self-publishing, or adapting it to e-book format, so it’s still available for people to purchase and benefit from.
DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No. That would leave a project unfinished, and that would drive me crazy!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
My first one (Love Your Gut), because I loved the learning experience and the satisfaction of knowing I could complete a project of this size. It was empowering!
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Good question. There is professional success and personal success. Professional success (in my opinion) would be having your writing published, whether it be an article, a blog for someone other than yourself, a manuscript, etc. If someone else likes your writing enough to want to publish it, then I would be inclined to deem that professionally successful.
Personal success would be more akin to the feeling of accomplishment. If you wrote something that you believed was great, and you were proud of it, then that for me would exemplify personal success.
WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
If readers walked away after reading my book(s) feeling as though they were inspired to change something (anything) about the way they live their lives, then that would be amazing. I want them to feel like they paid for invaluable information. I want them to feel like they need to share the book with their friends and family. If readers felt like that, then my work would be done!
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Thanks for the interview, and I look forward to answering any more questions! Your readers can reach me on my website, www.jenniferbrowne.org. If they would like to know more about Love Your Gut, please visit www.loveyourgut.ca.
Clancy's comment: Go, Jennifer! Stay tuned, Folks.