This is another post in my monthly author interview series. This month’s interview is extra special to me, because writer Tammy Strobel has had an impact on my life and my work. Reading her blog, RowdyKittens, inspired me to simplify my life, get rid of my excess “stuff” and focus on my writing career. I would like to take this opportunity to tell Tammy thank you for sharing your story with the world, I know you have helped countless others like myself :-).
If you’re an author and are interested in being featured in this series, please email me: amanda (at) amandabretz (dot) com.
1. Can you give me a synopsis of your newest release?
My first print book, You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap), will be out on September 18, 2012. In the book, I combine the newest research on well-being with real world stories to offer readers practical inspiration to simplify their lives and find a whole lot of happiness too.
2. What’s your creative process: Do you use an outline, write to certain type of music, use document maps, etc?
I’m not a linear writer, so I have a tendency to journal a lot and create mind-maps in my journal too. From that an outline starts to form in my mind for my writing project, whether that’s an article or a book. Then I piece it all together. It’s a little convoluted, but it works for me.
3. If you weren’t a writer what do you think you would be doing instead?
I’d be a full-time photographer.
4. Personally, I hate formatting, just the term ‘header/footer’ makes me want to run and hide! What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?
I hate formatting too! It can be such a pain and it can take hours. If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably run into HTML formatting issues. I’ve spent hours trying to sort out formatting mistakes, when I’d rather be writing in my journal or out for a walk.
5. Do you have a mentor or another writer you look up to?
I love Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones. In the book she talks about writing as a practice, kind of like meditation, and the importance of a beginner’s mind. She notes, “In a sense, that beginner’s mind is what we must come back to every time we sit down and write. There is no security, no assurance that because we wrote something good two months ago, we will do it again.”
Her words are affirming and that’s why I read all the time. Books give me ideas and help clear out the cobwebs in my head.
6. What advice do you have for someone who wants a career in writing?
You have to develop a consistent writing practice. I know that probably sounds
like lame advice, but it’s true. It’s far too easy to procrastinate and to avoid writing. Your words are powerful. Use them. Make the time to write.
I’d also suggest starting a blog. I’ve been blogging for five years and my blog resulted in a book deal, freelance writing work, and the ability to run writing ecourses. The blog has been a wonderful way to help readers through writing and photography.
7. It’s been said that to be a good writer, one needs to be a voracious reader. What are your favorite types of books to read and what are you currently reading?
I love reading and I tend to read a lot of non-fiction.
This year I’ve read a lot of memoirs and I love books on photography. You can see my full reading list here: http://rowdykittens.com/2012books/
8. What other interests or hobbies do you have outside of writing?
9. What’s your next writing project?
I’m working on a new book idea. It’s not fully developed, but I know it will talk about grief and how to deal with grief in healthy ways.
I’m also working on another ecourse called How to Capture Everyday Magic with Your Camera.
10. How can people reach you online?
They can find me at rowdykittens.com.