Finding Fuel And Focus – An Interview with Cecilia Clark

StADa: When did you first participate in StoryADay?
I don’t remember exactly when I joined a Story A Day but it was likely close to the start of 2014. In 2013 I had begun exploring what was available in the wide world to support and encourage my new career direction as a writer and when I gave notice at my day job in December 2013 StoryADay was one of the important tools I used to keep me focussed as I took the scary, exciting, long overdue and challenging path.

StADa:  Tell us a little about your success.
I had put aside my youthful dreams of being a published writer and paid artist when my first child came along and then life kind of got in the way and my dreams slipped way back into the dust covered depths of the internal storage of my mind.

When a life changing pivotal moment arose I finally embraced my inner creative and launched myself whole heartedly into becoming my dream.

I completed my first NaNoWriMo in November 2013, working a full time job, raising teens and participating in three other challenges as well, I managed to produce 104000 words, 36 pieces of art (SkaSaMo) and 41 picture book ideas (PiBoIsMo).

Then I joined social media groups for writing and art, paid subscriptions to organisations dedicated to supporting writers and artists and I looked for opportunities to challenge myself to write stories and then find homes for my stories.

Since my first camp Nano in April 2013 I have written and had published more than fifty pieces of fiction ranging from 500 word competition pieces and ezine contributions to 30k short stories and novellas. I have completed two novels 60k and 80k+ and begun five more novels. I have produced several hundred pieces of art and actually have a growing body of dedicated followers to my blog.

StADa:  How have you used StoryADay to help fuel your writing?
At first I was lucky if I wrote 200 words a day so I needed fuel for story ideas and some form of prod to keep me focussed. StoryADay provided me with a lot of good ideas for generating flash fiction. StoryADay has a great deal to offer in terms of prompts and advice and I found this to be terrific for churning up the creative juices, especially when I have been stuck.

StADa:  What advice do you have for someone thinking about embarking on the challenge or longing to boost their creativity?

There are so many opportunities and I have found the creative community is a generous and supportive one world wide.

Use what you find out there and make it fit in your life. Whatever time you can dedicate to your dream there is bound to be someone out there with just the right bit of advice for you at a price you can afford. There is a lot of free information- find it and share it.

Set aside fifteen minutes a day and write.

Thinking about your story counts as writing but at some point you need to transfer the words from your head to the page or you will lose them.

Keep a note book handy and jot down ideas, snippets of conversations you overhear, interesting thoughts.

Don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t write. When you decide the time is right to write you will dedicate the time and effort to it that you give your other day job (that includes parenting). Remember that some of the best writers in the world did not start their writing careers until they had raised their kids and filled their memories with incredible experiences to draw on.

It takes a long time to become an overnight success and the money doesn’t roll in quickly but don’t give up because your story could change the world or even just one persons life so write it. Oh and writing 104000 words in a month while doing all those other things is stupid crazy and caused me to strain my eyes to the point of needing reading glasses, plus swollen ankles, a sore back and no housework done for a month.

It was worth it and I learned to be a little less obsessed and a bit more level headed. The most I have written in a month since then is 56k.

StADa:  What’s next for you?
I have been working on prioritising my online time and increasing my actual writing time. It is way too easy to spend too much time in social media groups to the detriment of the word count. I joined a class to learn how to plan my novels more efficiently. I am attending conferences this year for Romance writers, SCBWI(kids books) and finding writers festivals to attend.

After having 30 anthology pieces published I am no longer submitting to small press as most small press pay nothing and I want to be paid for my work. I intend finishing at least two novels this year.

I have had a brief break from my art due to moving house and intend making art daily once we settle in again. My goal is to have my first full length novel under contract this year.

Cecilia A. Clark is a writer and an artist. She has been a chef, disability carer, teacher, farm worker, foster parent and props master plus so much more. She has volunteered for dozens of organisations, had children, coached public speaking and lived. She is curious. Shecan be found online at her blog, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

I’m exhausted just reading all that. Good luck, Cecilia! I expect to see your novel under contract soon! – Julie

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