Interview: Paula Mooney

I often get asked how to be successful writing online, and my answer is to pay attention to something like Paula Mooney. She has the right idea about being a writer and about life. Too often writers get caught up on one aspect of writing or another, and instead should think of the big picture. Paula gives excellent advice and I know you’re going to enjoy this interview.

You’ve been making a successful freelance living online for quite a while now. How did you get started writing online and what are some of the things you most enjoy writing about?

I began writing online back in December 2005, when I put up my first post called “Motherless” on — back when I was only putting my writing online so that I could have an easy place to tell editors whom I pitched my writing to via email where to go for a gander.

I enjoy getting up and writing about some of the latest news happenings (sometimes, when the news isn’t too harsh that day) and the ability to express myself, my own views — and to be able try and get tons of pageviews when I’m into that kind of immediate writing that day.

What are some mistakes that new writers make when trying to make money from their work?

Lately the proliferation of scam websites promising get-rich-quick schemes would be a mistake for writers to delve into. Plus, I believe some writers give up too quickly, or don’t understand the online model of writing today, and just how much content creation has changed since the “dead tree media” days. Basically giving things a chance that look good, learning about SEO and other ways to market your writing online helps.

Being honest is great — and not expecting writing to pay a ton of money right away, but not selling yourself short either.

Can you share a favorite article or blog post you’ve written?

Lately is one of my favorites. More on the way…

Please share some of your writing goals.

To get a Random House book deal, to see my writing on TV in the form of an African-American drama — something I can’t remember seeing in a while, other than Lincoln Heights.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

I always think I should say the Bible when people ask me this. I just watched “The Book of Eli” last night, and Denzel’s faith reminded me of that fact, and just how power-filled and multi-layered God’s Word is. I should read it more.

Favorite authors?

Oh man, the guy who wrote “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” had me so jealous of his writing!

Book you’re currently reading?

Let’s see, just finished reading Jonathan Volk’s Facebook Ads Guide after buying it yesterday. Still trying to get through Sapphire’s Preciousto figure out if I should burn the thing or toss it from what I saw they said about Jesus in the back — but loved delving into Kitty Kelley’s Oprah book and finishing that, as well as Angels in Our Lives by Maria Chapian, glad my 23 Minutes In Hell by Bill Wiese and other study of that aspect of Hades is over for now.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

Yeah, something the guy who wrote those Captain Underpants series of books wrote spoke to me: He waits for the words to come to him, and doesn’t force an idea. I’m doing that lately.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

Hmm…as a Christian, I harken ever measure of success to lead to where we’ll all end up after this short life is over. A person may deem folks like Stephen Hawkins or that guy who wrote “The God Delusion” as successful writers because their stuff may be all over Barnes and Noble, and their royalties high, but that doesn’t mean the Lord thinks that way.

Advice for other writers?

Get close to God, keep writing, get baptized in the Holy Spirit. That’s when He allowed me to begin getting published in national mags.

Where can we learn more about you? and the aforementioned blogs. Stay tuned…

Anything else you’d like to add?

Trust Jesus. And thank you for reaching out.

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