The Prosperous Writer

I teach writers to prosper by building solid, saleable, life-long career skills via classes and training groups that work even in a rapidly evolving publishing marketplace. Author of The Writer's Workout, Get Known Before The Book Deal, and Writer...

Christina is a winner of Top 25 Book Author Moms - 2012

What tips would you give a mom who wants to write a book?

I have been giving writers tips on book writing since 2007, specifically for moms in my book "Writer Mama, How To Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids" and in my e-book" Author Mama, How I Became A Published Author & How You Can Too." I have always encouraged moms to work their way up to a first book deal gradually over time, getting known as they go, as described in my book, “Get Known Before The Book Deal” and how to nurture and grow a writing career, as described in “The Writer’s Workout.”

However, today my advice has changed from what it once was when I wrote “Writer Mama.” Back then I encouraged writers to go right for a traditional book deal. These days, I encourage moms to increase ownership in their careers before going for a traditional book deal by micro-publishing several short e-books. This is a great way to learn the ropes of writing, editing, specializing, selling, platform development and self-promotion in order to develop and hone the skills traditionally published authors need to have.

If you follow this advice, and like I said, it takes time. Then when you get that traditionally published book deal, you already will have income streams in place and you are going to need them. Because it costs money to make money and traditional publishing does not preclude the necessity of investing in your career.

Claiming ownership of your hard work first is the kind of empowerment mom writers need before a traditional book deal, in order to experience their own worth in action. It’s extremely helpful to know what you have to offer before you get to the negotiation table. Micro-publishing is the perfect way to work your way there gradually, over time, getting known as you build a body of work, just as I have always taught.

How do you balance writing and motherhood?

You balance writing and motherhood by taking charge of your career. This means, if you want to write, you commit to it for the long haul, you tell the important people in your life this is what you are doing, and then you prove that you are serious by following through.

So basically, what I am saying is, if you don't value yourself enough to commit, communicate, and follow through, then you can't ever balance writing and motherhood because something else is in charge, and it’s not you.

The other thing to focus on is being of service to your family, your readers and the world—in that order. Keeping your family in mind first and foremost will keep you grounded in reality. A lot of writers have trouble with this. So many mom writers succeed because their families help them keep things real on a day-to-day basis. It’s hard to get grandiose when you are changing diapers, going to parent-teacher conferences, and chaperoning field trips.

Serving readers, keeps your work real. You can't grow and improve without a strong, clear connection to your readers. The reason many self-published authors fail is because they did not have their focus in the appropriate place, which is on readers.

When you focus on serving the world, you are thinking about what you intend to leave behind when you are no longer with us. The series of positive acts you leave in the wake of your writing career is your legacy.

You can’t control the creative process of your career, you can only allow it to flow, but you can control how you make folks feel in all the work that you do. When you educate, inform, inspire, and entertain others, or anything else you are meant to do through your writing, then you are serving the world.

A writer who can let her writing be the service she devotes herself to, doesn’t need life balance advice. She’s got her priorities—family, readers, and the world—straight.

Where do you find writing inspiration?

There isn’t anything that doesn’t inspire me. I am constantly drawing on my own life for inspiration, ideas and direction in addition to what I learn on a daily basis.
When I need to get grounded, because the possibilities to create, expand, and grow are so unlimited that I could burst, I spend time with my family, go out in nature, take a walk, garden, or simply do nothing but lounge about.

Because I am steadily productive and prosperous, I have the opposite problem many folks have. And now that publishing opportunities are all around us, the potential to burn myself out or be constantly available to others is always present. If I didn’t shut off the creative flow from time-to-time and step back from the churn and whirl of the publishing world, I would just wear myself out.

I would say, at this phase in my career, I find inspiration in containment, whether that means withdrawing from the fray to rest and relax with my family or whether that means devoting my professional time and energy to a specific, reachable objective. I have succeeded as a writer because I learned how to apply myself to one achievable goal at a time and this is exactly what I teach my students.
Achieving one goal at a time, and choosing one that you are likely to succeed at, is something in your life you can control. And what the unproductive or distracted writer needs to know is that doing something well and sharing it with the world never gets old.

It’s true that I make thousands of dollars from my writing and so do my long-time students, but at the end of the day, successful writers prosper because we tackle one task at a time, get the job done well, and then move on to the next task. We prosper because we know when to work hard and when to take breaks.

No one thinks of success as being so straightforward, but even if you create without a to-do list, as I do, you will likely find, over time and with repetition, that creative success was so simple and within reach, all along, that the real problem is that most people simply won’t settle down and get one job done that is right in front of them.

If you want to really be inspired, then think about this: there is a creative force that wants to move through you today, but if you can’t or won’t get out of the way and allow it to pour through, then you are depriving the world of the gift that is you.

I inspire myself by putting my abilities to good use, my students inspire me by doing the same, the world inspires me by being such a creative place, and the universe inspires me by being behind and inside everything—but nothing has ever inspired me more than showing a person who couldn’t follow through that she has the power to follow through today. And if that person, who I coach or teach, has a small success today, then I have done a big thing for the world. I have started that writer on a path and who knows, some day she just might become unstoppable.