Happy Wednesday morning and thank you all for visiting the Diamond Mine today. You’re in for a special treat on our Wednesday Author’s Interview. My friend, author, and teacher LORI FREELAND is with us today. Lori is my reason for being. We met at North Texas Christian Writers years ago where Lori began the edit group, The Literati. Welcome, Lori!
Thanks, DiAne. That seems like years ago, doesn’t it?
Yes ma’am…sure does. But our readers want to know more about the process of why and how their favorite writers decided to write. At what point in your life did you decide to become a writer? And will you give us the cliff note version of how and when your personal writing journey began?
I’ve always written stories. I have a notebook with scribbled words from when I was five. As soon as I learned to read, I wanted to write. I have quite a large angsty-poetry collection from high school and college! By the time I turned twenty-two, I completed two novels—a historical romance and a Christian contemporary romance. Then I had a baby, and another, and another. You can guess the rest. About twelve years ago, I went back to my love of writing after my oldest son fought and won his first battle with leukemia.
How about your family? I know you recently adopted a new fur baby, but how about the hubs and kiddos?
I met my husband when I was sixteen, so we’ve known each other more of our lives than we haven’t. We recently celebrated twenty-eight years of marriage. I have three kids who aren’t really kids anymore! Kyle—my two-time leukemia survivor—who just turned twenty-four, Alek—my witty and wonderful middle child—who is almost twenty-one, and Maddy—my sweet mani/pedi partner—who is growing up way too fast at sixteen. Now I’m back to getting up at 5:30 am with a new puppy. I don’t miss those toddler years of parenting.
What words of wisdom would you share with newbie writers?
Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t let editing kill your love of writing. Learning to write is like learning anything else. It’s a process. Do the best you can with the knowledge you have and keep reading how-to books, going to conferences and workshops, and making connections. Find a good writer’s group where you can help each other hone your skills and get valuable feedback. Try to find other authors writing in your same genre.
Please tell our Diamond Mine readers about the genre you write and why you chose that particular one.
I’m all over the place—from devotionals to mainstream fiction. When I first began writing, I chose historical and Christian contemporary romance because that’s what I read. After I came back to writing, I wanted to tell my son’s cancer story. That book still isn’t finished. Taking it to critique group was too hard. Because the story was so personal, I often felt like I was being “edited” as much as the book. That pushed me toward a more “fun” story that turned out to be a young adult story about genetic mutation.
The entire time I worked on novels, God kept opening doors for me to write articles, teach workshops to new writers, and freelance edit. I write a lot of blogs for Crosswalk.com. It’s funny how you want to go one direction and the Lord sometimes has other plans. I’m still working on some young adult novels, and I have a clean romance novella out, but every time I say I’m going to stop writing Christian articles, stop editing, or stop teaching, new opportunities pop up. God does have a unique sense of timing.
Lori, I know you’ve home-schooled your children, led various edit groups, and taught at writer’s conferences all over the nation…how did you manage to keep all the balls in the air and still find time to write?
It’s hard. When Kyle was sick, I let all the balls drop. Over the last two years of his remission, I’ve been picking them up one by one. I strongly believe my family has to come first, so it’s been a slow but steady return to writing.
If I’m reading this interview and think, I’d really like to write, but don’t know how to begin…what would you advise me to do?
Write. And write. And write. And while you’re doing all that writing, set large and small goals. Rather than waiting for your “big break,” don’t be afraid of smaller opportunities that will give you “real-world” writing experience.
Think of building your writing skills as an independent study you might take in college. You’re responsible for gathering the information and learning it. Find a writer’s group or a writing coach and keep practicing. Take online classes. Go to workshops. Read writing books. As a writing coach and freelance editor, I see newbies making the same mistakes and struggling with the same issues. That’s good news—we all started there! Remember, writing is like any other skill, it takes time and practice to improve. There’s a lot to know, but you’ll get there one lesson at a time.
And those lessons seem to go on forever, don’t they? Do you have a verse in the Word God gave to carry you when the going gets tough? Would you please share the verse as well as any other comments you wish with our readers?
I John 4:18. “Perfect love casts out fear.” This verse might seem odd for the context, but being a perfectionist, I have a lot of fear that my writing will never be good enough. If it’s never going to be good enough, there’s no reason to do it. The blank page and I are not friends. The editor in my head gets going before my fingers start typing. . .which leads to many blank pages. It’s a terrible cycle. I had to learn that nothing I put on the page will ever be perfect. And that’s okay. There will always be readers or editors who don’t like what I’ve offered. And that’s okay too. You really aren’t writing to everyone. No one can do that. Work on pleasing your audience. And yourself.
Okay, now please tell our readers where they can find your books, as well as other places they can find your writings. What about your WIP (work in progress)? As well as future events for Lori Freeland, (my personal friend and teacher), Author, Wife, Mother, and Teacher of multitudes!
You can find my books on my Amazon Author Page, my inspirational blog at lafreeland.com, and my young adult and contemporary romance at lorifreeland.com. I’ve taken a teaching sabbatical this year to be home with my daughter. Being a teenage girl is hard!
However, I will be presenting this week-long workshop at the West Texas Writers’ Academy June 4-8th:
Unleash Your Story: From Ideas to Edits—Write, Rewrite, or Remodel Your Novel
Whether you’ve always wanted to write a book and weren’t sure how to begin or you’ve finished a manuscript that isn’t working, this class is for you. From planning to polishing, learn how to:
· structure a solid story
· create 3D characters
· build vivid visuals
· set scenes with purpose
· boost your words and sentences from ordinary to extraordinary.
Oh, and one more question, please. The writing world is, and I suppose always has been, involved in a whirlwind of change. What would you suggest for a beginning writer starting out in today’s market…self-publishing…standard publishing…Indie publishing? And why?
Honestly, I would ask God to open the doors to where He wants you to write. Everyone’s journey is different. One person’s best route could be another person’s worst. Like I said earlier, don’t be afraid of small-step opportunities and don’t wait until your writing is perfect. It won’t ever be! Learn your craft, do your best, and follow where God leads. And remember, writing is supposed to fun. Don’t let anyone ruin that for you.
Lori, thanks for sharing your life and heart with our readers. Now here’s a treat for all you Diamond Mine readers. Be sure to answer Lori’s question to have an opportunity to win one of Lori’s books! We will be drawing next Tuesday evening, April 18th…stay tuned!
Author, editor, and writing coach Lori Freeland is an encourager at heart. She’s written numerous articles for new writers and presented writing workshops at North Texas Christian Writers, Orange County Christian Writers, SoCal Christian Writers, Mount Hermon, Romance Writers of America National, and the West Texas Writers’ Academy. A former editor for The Christian Pulse, she’s a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, and has published a novella as well as contributed to multiple devotionals and anthologies. When she’s not curled up next to her husband, drinking too much coffee, or worrying about her kids, you can find her messing with the lives of the imaginary people living in her head.
Lori Freeland Author/Writing Coach
lorifreeland.com (young adult website)
lafreeland.com (inspirational blog)
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A girl can run from her roots, but she can't escape her heart.
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