Melony Candea has been writing since she was 15, starting with short stories. She moved into poetry and then wrote a novella. She started writing niche articles which led her to blogging, and she’s got some great insights for writers new and old.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from a podunk (written with much affection) town called Ronan, Montana. It’s on the Flathead Indian Reservation. I moved to New York when I was 18, the Czech Republic when I was 25 and I’m currently a ‘digital nomad.’ We’ve been travelling Europe in a minivan for the past year, going on two.
You’re working on a book right now. Tell us about it.
The book that I’m working on is a typical writing labor of love. It’s a collection of poetic excerpts that are divided into categories. It’s an exercise in patience and persistence, especially in editing and re-organizing of bits into a cohesive whole.
I hope readers connect with the moments, the ideas or the emotions that are conveyed. That some of the excerpts make them laugh or nod in recognition. The stale, clichéd concepts of letting a reader know that they aren’t alone, I suppose.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
The biggest struggle, which I think is true for most writers who also write online, is finding a balance between work and art, plus a ‘normal’ offline existence. When I have too much work I daydream about spending the same time on my writing. The same is true of the opposite- work can be a good break and external influence.
My next goal(s): finishing my compilation and fleshing out the evergreen for the site.
How often do you update your blog and what types of things do you cover?
I have two blogs. The travel blog, arTrek12, is a journal and tips guide for travellers in Europe. We travel and live in our minivan (by choice, mind) and we’ve had some unbelievable times.
I usually post 1-2 times a week there, though it was more over the summer because we were travelling like maniacs, on assignment. I think it was 7 countries, 1 week in each-? The topics range from off-the-beaten-track places we visit, to travel tips or odd facts- and our lives are interwoven throughout.
The second blog, Freelance Writers: Expertise for Newbies, is a quiet little creation. I don’t promote it, I rarely send people to check it out. It’s more a work-in-progress. I started it out of frustration on how new writers were being treated on several forums.
I usually just write an epic post monthly on this one, because it takes me a while to research and organize the information in a useful way. Topics include writing scams, finding copyright-free images and creating a writing portfolio.
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Care to share a link to a favorite blog post?
I’d probably choose Palermo Love: Part 2, though our week staying with the circus comes a close second. Grin.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
That’s a bit difficult to pin down to one- I’m a voracious reader. Most interesting: ‘House of Leaves,’ by Mark Z. Danielewksi. It echoes in your memory months later, though when you’re reading it, you have moments of ‘Is this a book or concept art-?’
Favorite authors: Voltaire (Candide), Ken Follett, Andre Gide, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, Hakuri Murikami and Anne Sexton. They each offer unique writing gifts. They’re the only authors I re-read regularly.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I either do photography, drawing or watch superbly silly TV series like ‘Stargate’ or ‘Firefly.’ My boyfriend likes to inflict walks and movies on my free time. Grin.
Book you’re currently reading?
‘American Gods,’ by Neil Gaiman. It’s an absolute pleasure.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Two musts: a great pen and a notebook that’s got more than 5 pages left. I prefer writing first drafts on paper, editing as I type into Word and then continuing the edits on computer. I need noise in the background to focus- either TV or an It’s All Indie Mixtape- plus googobs of coffee.
What is one of the things you’re most thankful for as a writer?
That I stuck with the passion long enough to find my voice. That I get to express myself, daily, in the best way I can. And that the freelancing part of my life keeps me on my toes and my head sharp for the unexpected.
What is one thing that frustrates you about being a writer?
The stereotype of ‘writer,’ certainly gets me. For example, that writers ‘don’t actually work,’ but simply copy and paste. Or that anyone could do the same- ‘a monkey could type.’ It doesn’t help the reputation that some writers don’t actually write but merely talk about it, or that online freelance work has become a contest of selling to the lowest bidder- and the results make my eyes wince.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
I believe that writers block themselves, for various reasons. Through laziness, fear (of failure, self-discovery, success) or simply being overwhelmed. I don’t try to force writing moments if I’m not there. I take a break, get distracted and take a walk if it’s a creative problem. If it’s work, I push through then leave it, take a break after I finish and do an edit later when my head’s clear.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
Number one: affecting just one reader, or helping just one person by your words is the highest level of success (I think) a writer should crave. I also think peer respect and support plays a role in feeling successful.
Of course, we all want the rags-to-riches J.K. Rowling surprise to happen our way. Grin. We prefer those fairytales to the Poe side of the writer’s story.
The reality is: most of us write because we have to write- for ourselves. I consider it a success I write and live on my own terms.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think there’s a vast amount of negativity being piled onto new freelance writers, and new writers in general. I personally don’t understand the pettiness, or the misdirection in giving them ‘help’ that I’ve seen by the so-called ‘pros.’ It angers me.
Not everyone who wants to write is a writer, or will become a writer. But how on earth will they ever find out if they’re never given a chance-?
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” -Voltaire