Today we’re talking with Jennifer Wagaman, Feature Writer for New Teacher Support at Suite101 (among many other things). Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and have come back to settle here with my husband and daughter. I have been writing for years, but have been writing professionally for just over a year.
What types of writing do you do?
I write both professionally for several websites including suite101.com, examiner.com and ehow.com. I have also integrated my writing into my private tutoring business and dog training business by developing a blog for both websites.
I write for personal enjoyment as well, keeping a daily journal.
What’s the best thing about writing?
The thing I like best about writing is the ability to share information with others and get paid while doing it!
Share some of your writing goals.
I currently have two goals with my writing. First, I want to share knowledge with others who are looking for information in an easily accessible way. Second, I would love to make enough money through my writing to pay our house payment each month. I still have a ways to go, but each day I get a little bit closer!
Is there a specific time of day you like to write?
I write during the middle of the day when my daughter is taking her nap and in the evening after she goes to bed. Sometimes I will grab a few minutes during the day if she is playing happily as well, but in general my time writing is limited to whenever she is sleeping!
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
By far the most interesting book I’ve ever read is the Bible. I am always amazed that every time I read it I learn something new, and I can read the same stories over and over and continue to learn from them each time.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never had an “aha!” moment that lead me to be a writer. It was more a natural flow as I grew up and developed my writing style. I stumbled upon freelance writing through a friend, and it seemed to me the natural extension of a favorite pastime.
Madeline L’engle is one of my all time favorite authors. I also enjoy reading C.S. Lewis.
Book you’re currently reading.
On Becoming Baby Wise: Book II (Parenting Your Pretoddler Five to Fifteen Months) by Ezzo and Buckman and The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
I have never been the outline type, I start at the beginning and write through to the end, editing and revising as I go. A final read through for any additional edits necessary and then spell check! I have horrible spelling and spell check is my savior when it comes to writing.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
It depends on the definition of writer’s block. I have sat in front of a blank computer screen unable to think of something to write only a few times, usually when I do not already have an idea in my head. If you have an idea of something to write about, it shouldn’t get stuck behind a “block”. If I end up stuck half way through an article, I put it aside for a time and come back to it when I have thought through the idea better. An outline might help in that situation, but I just cannot bring myself to use one!
What’s the measure of a successful writer?
It depends on the person. Each person has their own measuring stick by which they look at their writing. I consider myself a successful writer because I am accomplishing my goals. Before I began writing professionally I would also consider myself a successful writer because though my goals were different, I was still accomplishing them. My measure of success was the pleasure that writing brought me.
Advice for other writers?
Enjoy it! If your writing becomes a chore, you need to take a break. Set small goals and big goals. That way you have easy to reach targets and a distant goal to work towards. Expect criticism. Not everyone will like your writing style or what you have to say. Re-read your work and spell check!
Where can we learn more about you?
Find out more about me at my website: 321learn.net
Anything else you’d like to add?
One last piece of advice to ‘non’ writers- anyone can be a writer, it just takes time and practice. Don’t shy away from trying to write because you don’t think you’re any good. Start small and see what happens!