Hello and wilkommen to another instalment of Interview With A Writer, where I posed miserable questions to writers that hang out on the internet and they answered. I then took those answers, cradled them like a child might cradle an animal they found out in the wild that their parents aren’t too pleased about, then splashed them all over the internet for people to see.
Today’s answers come from Jill Jepson, author of Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing with Passion and Purpose and a blogger at WritingaSacredPath.com. Her fantasy novella Missed appears in installments every week on FantasyCrossing.com
NR: How many times did you want to pack it in, and what was/were the last straw(s)?
JJ: I have had many frustrations, major disappointments, and hard times, but I’ve never wanted to pack it in, not even for a moment.
Writing is in my blood and bones, it seems. Photo credit - jelleprins https://goo.gl/8sjQw4
I can’t even imagine not being a writer. Once, when I was going through a particularly challenging period–really struggling with sadness and anxiety–a therapist suggested that I stop writing, since it wasn’t making me happy. I told her that wasn’t even an option!
NR: What do you do (or have you done in the past) to get yourself out of a slump, whether it's because of a dry spell for writing, a dip in sales, or an emotional slump related to both?
JJ: I used to get very anxious when I went through a dry spell. I would try to force myself to write. I would do various exercises to jump start my creativity. I’d start to fear that I would never get back on track. Now I know that those spells are simply part of my writing process. I relax and let them work themselves out naturally. What I’ve always found is that they are followed by periods of great productivity.
I believe my dry spells aren't really as dry as they seem. Photo credit - galet09 https://goo.gl/eyBpSy
I may not be getting words down on the page, but subconsciously I’m working through plot problems, developing characters, and creating stories.
NR: How long before you started making a name (and a decent living) for yourself as a writer? If you write full-time, when did you make the leap?
JJ: I don’t believe most full-time writers do it for the money. I believe they do it for the writing. They’re just lucky (and good) enough to make money from their writing. The most money I made as a writer was back when I was writing for print magazines. I was doing all right, but I wasn’t particularly happy.
After a time, I realized I'd rather write what I wanted to write... Photo credit - Pacheco https://goo.gl/5c2JJx
…fiction, and work on the spirituality of writing. I’m very fortunate to have gotten a tenured position as a professor, which enables me to foster writing in students and gives me plenty of time to do my own writing, while getting a regular paycheck.
NR: What would you have done differently in your formative years as a writer?
JJ: I listened to an editor who suggested sweeping, fundamental changes on my first novel. I had an agent representing the novel, but she thought it needed to be edited. The editor I worked with just wasn’t on the same wave length as I. I wasn’t comfortable with the changes she thought I should make, but I was naive enough to believe I should listen to her. After I rewrote my novel as she suggested, my agent dumped it and me, and that novel is still sitting unpublished on my hard drive.
A major mistake... Photo credit - D. Clow Maryland https://goo.gl/BUq4RD
NR: Looking back now, what was the worst part of your writing life that you laugh about today? Are there still some things that make you cringe just thinking about them?
JJ: I still cringe at the thought of my poor early writing. I wish I could say I laugh at the bad parts of my writing life, but they still don’t seem funny, even now!
I still cringe at every work that never got published. Photo credit - Rajiv Ashrafi https://goo.gl/kuRkrF
I’d like to thank Jill Jepson again for taking part and being a good sport, even when the pliers came out during the interrogation. Make sure to check out her website where she’s helping writers find their own path. Also, follow her on Twitter @Jill_Jepson, and anywhere else you can find her! Her book Writing As A Sacred Path is available along with the rest of her catalog.
Like what you read here? Fan of Jill Jepson? Have you looked around the rest of the website? Feel like sharing something with me, like your journey on the path or how sad you felt at the end of Breaking Bad? Scroll down, “Speak Your Mind” and follow me on your social media of choice. While you’re down there, sign up for updates on my forthcoming novel and whatever else I can scrape together for you, and you can get a free ebook!
The Blue Ridge Project: A Novel
(This is an Amazon Affiliates link)
Sign up below for information, and get Junk Mail Poetry Vol. 1 for free!