In honor of Nanowrimo , during the month of November, I’ll be posting weekly interviews with a few of my fellow Nanowrimo participants. First up is the delightful Angela Giles Klocke .
Though Angela and I live in the same small mountain town, we have never met, though we have several friends in common. Angela noticed my town on one of my posts in the Nanowrimo forum , and now I’ve got a local writing buddy!
So, if you’ve been on the fence about signing up for Nanowrimo , here’s yet another reason to join—you get to meet cool people.
Tell us a few things about yourself: age (if you want), kids, -, where you live, etc.
I am a 34-year-old mom of three (ages 19, 15 and 13), and I have been married to John for 11 years. We moved to Colorado from Georgia in mid-2006 on a huge leap of faith. And we've never regretted our decision. Currently, I am a full-time college student and I work outside my home part time at the college I attend.
What spurred you to begin writing?
I've been writing since I was a child. I have no idea when it began or why. I do recall being in the sixth grade and secretly adoring the teacher everyone else hated because she loved my writing and always said really nice things to me about it.
Tell us about what you write: genre, any publishing credits.
These days, I'm in the middle of what I have dubbed The Total Writer Makeover. That is, I am reinventing myself as a writer. In the past, I was a reporter and I do have numerous article credits to my name, but I never found real writing happiness there. I love to write fiction and essays and just slice of life stuff. My proudest credit is an essay on choosing life for my son (I was a teen parent).
Now I'm concentrating on young adult fiction and telling my story (memoir - in hopes of helping and inspiring young adults, young parents, and anyone in general). For NaNoWriMo, I am writing a YA novel about teen pregnancy. At least...that's what I THINK it's about!
When on earth do you find time to write?
Years ago, I published a zine for writing parents on this very subject: time to write with kids underfoot. So, I learned a lot during that time. Mostly, though, I just make time. I get up earlier (usually about 5 a.m.) than my family, and I take advantage of snippets of time between other things. Sometimes I make notes or write during TV shows (I like TV!).
Do you have any time management tips or organizational ideas to share?
I think the biggest lesson I've learned over the years is to pay attention to what works for ME. Many writers have advice on what to cut out of your life, what to add in, how to spend such and such amount of time only on writing, but after so many years of trying to fit myself into different molds, I've learned the only one that works for me is the one that IS me. I write sporadically, here and there, sometimes for hours on end, sometimes not. I've tried to be organized, but I tend to work better in chaos. I don't shut my office door; my kids and husband are welcome to come in at any time. I don't mind, over all.
My point is, each writer needs to find what works best for them, listening to his or her own way of working. While we might all have to adjust at times, I just think I've been my most productive (and happiest) when I've managed my time and work MY way.
What are your main avenues of improving your writing?
Practice, practice, practice. Writing is a lot like math -- you don't necessarily learn it by reading all about it. You have to do it over and over and over. What is good today will be good tomorrow, but tomorrow's writing might become great because of the practice.
Those who want to write cannot just read about writing. Reading about it is great, but that still makes a wanna-be writer a wanna-be writer. Eventually, one just has to write.
Classes are great if there is time (I'm in a creative writing class now), but I think aside from practice, reading books is the best way to really learn how stories are told. Study plot and themes and characters, and really pay attention to how published writers use show-not-tell.
I think writing a blog is great for exercising one's voice, learning what kind of stories one wants to tell. However, writers need to remember to do more than blog. Which just brings us back to my first line in this answer: Practice, practice, practice!
Tell us about any past Nanowrimo experiences, and what your plans are for this year.
I've attempted NaNoWriMo many times since about 2004, I believe. I usually drop out early on. Last year, for example, I had just returned to college and I worked full time as a restaurant shift manager. I was a little busy. But I did finish NaNo in 2006. In fact, I finished in 17 days. I've been very proud of that, despite having never gone back to edit the book (though I am somewhat now).
I have every intention of winning again this year. I love my book idea and I am pretty sure of the whole storyline (any writer knows you can be pretty sure and then end up with a totally different story), and I just feel my time is here to BE a writer once and for all.
It's easier to say there's no time than to finish NaNo, but the reward of having done it is amazing. I encourage all those participating not to give up!
Debbie here, again.
I want to thank Angela for taking the time out of her busy Nanowrimo preparation to answer my questions. If you’d like to find out more about Angela , including a chance to see her amazing photographs, you can check them out here .
I’m working on another Nanowrimo interview for next Monday. Wednesday’s post will bring you some cool links to websites that will help you organize your writing—especially if you’re doing Nanowrimo .