Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! Today we have an interview with Laura Obiso, a nature writer who has authored "...articles, books, blogs, web content, and information materials on the environment, natural history, birds, animals and pets, local history, wildlife, alternative health, metaphysics, health and medicine, gardening, and several other topics..." Whew!
Laura has some great things to say about her experiences writing, so enjoy her words of wisdom, and please leave her a comment when you're through!
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I’ve been writing a long time, though I haven’t been seriously freelancing until the last six months or so. It’s actually a very new aspect of writing for me. I’ve done two books (a long time ago) and I’m now working on one that will be published early in 2008, so I’ve been more of a book writer. I’ve fallen into a comfortable niche writing chapters for a medicolegal client, but that’s changing too, so freelancing is the logical next step. Isn’t it?
Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
I’m writing Images of America: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area for Arcadia Publishing. It’s a fun book to do, and I love local history and live in this area. I’m writing more articles too, and focusing a lot on online writing. I think the worst thing about freelancing is the wait time!
What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Have a plan, stick to it, and never give up. When I started freelancing, I was all over the place for the first week or so, then I realized I was so scattered in what I was doing that I was accomplishing very little. Now I have a plan of what I want to accomplish, and set a few tasks that need to be done to get there. As I do them, I revise my list and keep going. Keeps me more focused on the goals.
What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?
There are two most difficult things for me. One is choosing the topic, because everything has been done at least 100 times. So, based on that premise, I find it rewarding when I can come up with a new slant or idea or spinoff and actually turn it into something decent. Worse than that, though, is the marketing part. I really dislike promoting myself, but without that, you don’t get very far in this business.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
It is very much part of my life. I’ve given up a few times, like all writers do, but then I find myself buying that new journal, or jotting notes for ideas. As I’ve become more focused, I find I’m looking at things differently, and thinking how I can write about that thing I’ve seen or experienced or read about.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?
That I could actually do this. Funny thing now is when I look back on that first book, published in 1987 and now out of print, I’m amazed it got published at all. It’s not bad, it got good reviews and was in print until 2000, but it seems amateurish to me and I would do it so very differently now. It shows how we grow and improve if we stay with it. I have much more confidence in the book I’m working on now.
When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?
Let me tell you – I’m old enough to have been writing before computers! I just don’t know how it’s done anymore without a keyboard. I journal by hand, but write articles and books by hand? Egads!
Thanks, Laura! For more information about this author, visit her website or her blog.