Monday, February 18, 2008

Bookshelf: Interview with Kelly L. Stone

Welcome to this week's issue of Innovative! I'm thrilled to share with you an intervew with Kelly L. Stone, a successful freelance writer and author of Grave Secret and Time to Write.

Kelly L. Stone is a freelance writer, journalist, essayist, and author; she earned a master's degree in counseling psychology from Florida State University and is a licensed professional counselor and a National Board Certified Counselor. Her nonfiction articles span a broad range of topics, including health, alternative health, relationships, parenting, women's issues, writing, and animal welfare. Her work has appeared in national magazines like Family Circle, The Toastmaster, Cat Fancy, Inspire Your World, DVM Newsmagazine, Trends, and Writer's Digest.

INN: How did Time to Write come to be?

KLS: Thank you for having me, Gabrielle!

I have always worked a full time job to support myself, but I wanted very badly to be a writer. I felt I never had the time to write because work chewed up 40+ hours a week, plus I had all the typical responsibilities everyone has these days: family, a home to maintain, pets, etc. But as the old adage says, when the student is ready the teacher arrives. I stumbled across some information about how many successful people would get up early before their days jobs began to do their own work. They would often do this for years before they became successful. This struck a chord with me. I realized that if I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a writer, I was going to have to make the time, not wait for it to fall into my lap. So I started getting up at 3:30 every morning and writing before I left for my day job. In about 2 years, I had written a novel that got published (Grave Secret, Mundania Press) and I also started getting published in magazines, both local and national.

When other aspiring writers found out that I worked a full time job and also got all this writing accomplished, they were stunned. Everybody wanted to know where I found the time. So that gave me the idea for Time to Write. I wanted to show other aspiring writers what I'd learned-- that time to write isn't something you have, it's something you make. And making time to write can be done, no matter how busy you are-- my book shows you how.

INN: What was it like interviewing so many wonderful authors like Jodi Picoult and Sandra Brown?

KLS: It was awesome! After I got the contract to write the book, my editor helped me set up the interviews, and it was simply fantastic to interact one on one with all these writers that I previously admired from afar. It was definitely one of the best parts of writing Time to Write.

INN: What have been the most influential books on writing that you have read?

KLS: For good education about the craft of writing, I return often to "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein. Stephen King's "On Writing" was helpful to me, particularly the example he gives of the changes made to one of his early drafts. And the classic "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland is always a good choice for inspiration and motivation.

INN: You have written both fiction and nonfiction books, as well as freelancing successfully. Do you have any tips for those of us managing multiple writing projects, like a book and freelance pieces?

KLS: Yes. Each night, make a writing schedule with goals for the next day-- for instance, you'll get a draft of your article done from 3:30-4 pm, from 4-4:30 you'll polish up a chapter of your novel, then you'll spend 4:30-5 on research for a new query letter. That's only 1.5 hours, but you've gotten a lot of writing done during that short time. So as you can see, time management and using a schedule are the keys to success here. In Time to Write, I present an alternative way of looking at time management that will help readers easily slip time to write into their existing lifestyle, and I also provide 7 professional writing schedules that are guaranteed to get results.

Also, keep a record of your progress. This is how you form and then ingrain the habit of writing. All of the authors I interviewed track their writing progress in some way-- I give specific examples of ways to do this in Time to Write.

INN: Any advice for teen writers?

KLS: Get in it for the long haul, because perseverance pays off-- Time to Write is filled with examples of how it paid off for 104 successful authors.

Set writing goals-- you can use the Writing Action Plan in Time to Write to do this easily. Then stick to your plan.

Don't let any rejection set you back for more than a day.

Oh, and don't paper the walls of your room with rejection letters-- throw them away!

INN: Thank you!

I loved Kelly's book-- and will be implementing my own Writing Action Plan once I get over this bug/flu/monster-cold. If you want time to write, you NEED this book.

Click here to buy Time to Write

Click here to buy Grave Secret

And don't forget to visit Kelly's website at

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