Writing crime fiction has some scary happenings–like my writing partner, Lon, waking up at 2am when ideas interrupt his slumber. And scribbling notes to finish our Tom Stone Day of the Dead. Sacrificing his sleep for the sake of our art! What a guy!
Writing interrupts authors of all genres or we do things like skip breakfast and chug coffee to finish paragraph before driving the kids to school or rushing off to the day job.
Anxiety can strike while we wonder how we can juggle marketing along with family and the investment of time needed to write a novel or collection of short stories.
Think concussions in the NFL and NHL are bad? The writing life can chew you up and spit you out.
Thankfully, Colleen M. Story is here to help.
This is Part 2 of our interview with this wellness writer and author who has a fabulous website, Writing and Wellness.com.
This post, Why Print Books are Healthier to Read before Bed, shows you’ve put lots of thought into this topic. What is your goal with “Writing and Wellness?”
My goal with writing and Wellness, first of all, is to help empower people to live more rewarding and fulfilling creative lives. The tagline for the site is “Empower, Nourish, and Replenish the Creator Within,” and when I’m writing a new blog post or book or whatever, my number-one thought is, “How can I help the reader do just that?”
It really helps that I’ve been a professional writer for 20 years, because I’ve gone through it all, from the aches and pains of working a lot to the ups and downs of the writing life to the self-doubt and discouragement to the thinking I should quit to the elation of having my dreams come true.
Looking back now, I can see how much self-doubt hurt my progress, for instance, or how I took way too long to get serious about submissions, or how the constant questioning of “am I really a writer?” held me back.
I’ve also suffered from back pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, elbow pain, neck pain, eyestrain, and more, and I know how these little (and sometimes big) irritations can get in the way of getting your writing done.
I enjoy taking what I’ve learned and turning it around to help others. It’s incredibly rewarding and helps me to feel that no matter what else may or may not happen with my writing, it’s well worth it if I can save someone else from pain or discouragement, help them eke a bit more writing time out of the day, or compel them to listen to their creative instincts no matter what.
Was Loreena’s Gift, your first novel? If so, how did you get it written so well that you won awards?
Loreena’s Gift was my second published novel, but it was about the seventh novel-length manuscript I wrote. So by the time I got to that one, I’d practiced enough that I was starting to get a feel for where I belonged in fiction—what my niche was—and what was involved in putting a novel together.
I’ve always been intent on improving my writing. Prior to Loreena’s acceptance, I consistently attended writer’s conferences and workshops, hired book editors to get professional feedback on how I was doing, submitted to contests that provided critiques and really studied those, and worked through many drafts to get the book right where I wanted it.
I’m very comfortable in non-fiction as I’ve been doing that most of my life, but fiction writing is (to me) so much more complex, in terms of what it requires in story structure, setting, plot, pacing, characterization, etc. I knew I needed to learn a lot, so though it’s never easy to face criticism, I came at it with a student’s mindset, knowing I needed a significant amount of education.
I’m still learning, of course! That’s the cool thing about writing—you can continue to learn until the day you die. I’m very humbled and honored by the awards given to Loreena’s Gift (and to my latest release, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue), as they help encourage me to keep going and keep learning, but even more precious was the feedback I got from readers who enjoyed the books.
How do you put Writing and Wellness into practice for yourself?
One of the benefits I’ve gleaned from Writing and Wellness and my health writing in general is that I’m much more aware of how my daily habits affect my overall well-being. So even though I’m definitely not perfect all the time—I have a weakness for cookies and cakes, and there are days I sit too much—I become quickly aware of the affect these slip-ups have on my body and mind and I’m quick to correct them.
I’ve also become much better at taking care of my creative self.
‘Through all the research and writing I’ve done on self-doubt and negative thinking, I’ve realized one very empowering thing: we don’t have to wait for someone else to give us permission to create a successful writing career. We can “choose ourselves” as James Altucher puts it in his great book, Choose Yourself. I now know more about finding your niche and drawing readers to you so you can feel more in control of your career. (My next book will talk more about this.)
I’ve also gotten better at taking action to keep my confidence high and my motivation strong. That’s not always easy to do, but I’ve learned we can put certain habits in place in our lives that help keep that creative core secure, and that’s key to a lasting writing career.
Read about self doubt, perfectionism, writer’s guilt, and more — and discover how you can improve productivity and time management in Colleen’s book, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue. Get your free chapters here!
Colleen M. Story is on a mission to inspire people from all walks of life to overcome modern-day challenges and find creative fulfillment. Her latest release, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, is full of practical, personalized solutions to help writers and other creative artists escape the tyranny of the to-do list and nurture the genius within. The book was named Solo Medalist in the New Apple Book Awards, Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book, and first place in the 2018 Reader Views Literary Awards.
With over 20 years as a professional in the creative industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. Her literary novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others.
Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers. Find more at her motivational site, Writing and Wellness, and on her author website, or follow her on Twitter.