Every once in a while I come across a writer that has so much going on, it makes my head spin. Katelyn Thomas is one of those writers. She’s balances her passion, family life, and writing world beautifully. One thing I really liked about what she had to say in this interview was in answer to the question “What is the measure of a successful writer?” To me, she hits the nail on the head with this one! See if you don’t agree. Enjoy this interview.
You’ve got so many different things going on; I’m not sure where to begin. First of all, how do you balance your time during the day?
I start by doing the “Me” projects that don’t have a mandatory deadline that day. I work on them in the morning after the kids are in school. Then, in the afternoons, I work on an art piece while the kids do art at their table or I try to catch up on a few small blogging/writing projects while I’m cooking dinner and helping with homework. It isn’t really productive time, but I do get some odds and ends wrapped up. In the evening, I finish up anything I had to do that day. I don’t turn in until I’m done. If I didn’t do it this way, I’d do the mandatory minimum in the morning and never get anything else done.
I am very big on Google calendar and docs to organize things. I break up big tasks up into milestones and then record the milestones I’ve met and finished projects on the calendar. I can see in a second if I’ve “done enough” for the day. For me, that is at least 5 finished posts or articles and a few milestones. Right now, I am doing an internship, so I let myself slide a little bit and count some of my more involved internship tasks as an article, too.
It is important to decide if you have to do everything every day, too. I know people who write an article for a certain site every day or write four or five a day. I might only write one a week for that site and I am totally okay with that. I’m only in competition with myself!
You blog, write online articles, and have quite a few hobbies. Tell me about your various writing projects.
I am the small business feature writer for Suite 101, I blog about thrifty living and holidays and I am working on an e-book about Lyme Disease. (I’m still looking for a few more patients, doctors and caregivers to interview, so feel free to pass the word around!) I have other blogs and sites I write for, but they sort of fill in around the edges.
How do you think your experience in the small business world has helped you when it comes to running a successful blog?
I wasn’t very good at putting myself out there before I had small businesses. Once you cold call someone to chat about advertising in your magazine, you sort of get over networking fears!
What is your advice to new bloggers or writers looking to write online?
Slow down. I see so many people appear online out of the blue and they’re everywhere at once. I’m everywhere, too, but it took me five or six years to get there! Start with one thing and concentrate just on it for a few weeks or a month. Read every blog post you can find, try different writing styles, learn how to research keywords and find out all about the long tail.
Don’t begin by starting a blog about internet marketing unless you’re blogging about learning how to do it.
Don’t let worries about market saturation or following the money keep you from blogging about something important to you. If you write about what you love, you will develop an audience. I think a lot of people feel they have to have the number one blog in their area to be successful, but there are plenty of bloggers who will never be a household name and still have an audience.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I’m concentrating on my book and growing my blogs right now. Growing blogs is never ending, but when I finish the book, I’ll work on getting a chunk of articles up on some residual income sites I’ve been playing around with.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. She usually writes mysteries, but this book, which deals with the murder of King Edward IV’s sons, is not a traditional mystery. It has a bedridden Scotland Yard Inspector researching the very cold case and coming to a conclusion about the murderer that doesn’t agree with the suspicions the rest of the world has had for generations.
Book you’re currently reading?
I’m actually between books. I thought Waking Up in the Land of Glitter would last me a week or two because I really don’t have a lot of free time right now, but I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one sitting a few days ago. I identify with the characters, who had a teensy glitter addiction.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
I know children’s novelists, who despite having books that were well received and are part of some good library collections, can’t support themselves by writing. I know other writers who feel bad about the fact that they’ve never been published in print magazines, but earn enough money to support their families. I know writers who follow up every introduction with, “But I only publish technical manuals.” To me, they are all successful writers because they don’t just talk about writing or dream about it. They do it. Even if they don’t feel like it, they pick up a pen or boot up their laptops and they write.
Where can we learn more about you?
I’d like to say you can head to me writing website, but it is under construction and will probably still be under construction when I retire.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t be afraid to try. The first rejection notice hurts. So does the second, the third…But when you rip open an envelope and realize you just got your first acceptance letter, it sort of is like holding a baby in your arms for the first time. You totally forget the pain of all the rejections!