Today we have the fun and fabulous writer, Mary McCarthy stopping by! I think you’ll love her humorous take on life and writing, and I KNOW you will be surprised at her writing ritual. Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
(Although I rarely admit to having been born in Camden NJ..) I am originally from King of Prussia PA. I have lived in Maryland (now live on the Eastern Shore) since I graduated from Western Maryland College in 1991. I am a mother of four (Sarah, 15, Molly, 11, Faith, 6 and Bobby, 3) and I’ve been writing professionally since Sarah was born and I wanted to make money from home.
What types of writing do you do?
I used to do print writing, mostly magazines and newspapers, but now all my writing work is online. I am Home Management Feature Writer for Suite101.com and I also write for ehow.com, associatedcontent.com and other sites. My favorite thing to write is my blog: www.pajamasandcoffee.com; it’s sort of a random mix of mommy stuff, with a mix of everyday humor. Stop by!
What’s the best thing about writing?
You can work at home in your pajamas while drinking coffee- which is how I chose the name for my blog!
Share some of your writing goals.
I would love to have a literary agent and be published by a major publisher. I have self published two nonfiction books (Cape May for All Seasons and Adult Halloween Parties, which releases this month) and have recently finished the first draft of my memoir. I just began writing my first novel and am really excited about it. I guess my goal is to keep self-publishing until I get an agent. Fake it til ya make it!
Is there a specific time of day you like to write?
When my four kids are at school! And in the summer…before they wake up.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
Right now I would say the book On Writing by Stephen King. It’s a combination of his memoir along with a very motivational self-help book for writers. I learned a great deal from it. I have always loved Stephen King’s books, and when I read this I was quite inspired.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing always came very naturally to me, so for some reason it took me awhile to think of it as a profession instead of just something I loved to do. Which is a really vague way to answer that question- sorry! I think probably when I was a kid reading Erma Bombeck’s newspaper columns and books, I thought: I want to do that someday.
Oops, got ahead of myself. Erma Bombeck, Stephen King (I know, they don’t match), Dave Barry, Jen Lancaster, David Sedaris.
Book you’re currently reading.
Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster- hot off the press. I’m going to her book signing in Washington DC this week to get it signed!
Any type of writing ritual you have?
I have to write with my feet up. Is that weird? So, at home, on the couch recliner and that the writer’s cottage where I go each season to work on books, it’s an armchair with ottoman overlooking the water.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
I think it can happen, but it’s very temporary, and the cure for it is going somewhere that you can completely clear your mind of all the daily clutter- kids, laundry, noise. If you have writer’s block and you take a two hour walk by yourself on a beach or a wooded trail, I don’t think you’ll go back to your writing with any more block. It’s like plunging a toilet. (Charming analogy, yes?)
What’s the measure of a successful writer?
My immediate thought is… “I don’t know, you’d have to ask one!” I guess to one person, it could be a top ten New York Times bestseller, to another, it could be writing in a handwritten journal to their child every day. To me, at this point, I would feel successful if I landed a publishing contract.
Advice for other writers?
Write every day. Stephen King says 1000 words a day. I strive for that, but some days write much less (often not at all on weekends when family’s all home) and I have to wait for a writing getaway and then I can hit 10,000 words in a day. So maybe my advice is “GO AWAY!” You get much more done if writing is the only thing you’re doing.
Why, I’d be happy for you to Twitter me at marymac, or friend me on Facebook at Mary Baschoff McCarthy- but please visit my blog at www.pajamasandcoffee.com– that’s definitely my writing home, where you’d learn the most about me. I try to make it a fun place to hang out.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity to chat!