One of the best parts of my job (if you could even call it that cause it’s just so much damn fun it should be illegal) is meeting and connecting with so many awesome creative souls like the lady featured in my latest interview. Cera Daniels is a writer, like me, and in this interview she shares a bit about what her life is like as a writer. She’s amazing and I’m glad to call her my friend.
Here’s what Cera had to say!
Hi Cera! Can you tell me a little bit about your life as a writer?
Sure thing, Tobi!! My schedule looks a bit different than a “routine” because I work around both a four year old and intermittent chronic pain–both of which can be just as demanding as my books! J To work on my health this year I transitioned from my day job and into the role of full-time writermommy, and though it’s been an adjustment for our house (and definitely tough on my budget-mind), I absolutely love it.
Instead of squeezing a mish-mash of words-at-any-cost into my lunch breaks and laaaate at night, a typical day now means I get to do crafty things with my daughter, fit in a yoga session and a gentle walk, write 2,000 words I can feel great about, cook dinner that may or may not be burned (ooooh yeah, I’m still learning!), and score a full night of sleep.
I still get stressed about deadlines and scenes not going right, of course! Hubby takes the little one on Saturdays and on tough weeks there’s daycare time so she can hang out with friends and I can buckle down and make things shiny.
It’s part-domestic, part-determination, very happy-making, MUCH healthier than my workaholic-driven 60-80 hour weeks (I now work about 44 and take holidays!). I get to take care of my family in a way I never gave myself time for before, plus I get to give my words the space they need to flourish.
What is your background? Have you always been a writer?
I wrote my first book, about a sheep who ran away to live in a playground, in kindergarten. My drawing skills are still at the same level they were then, but I’d like to think my stories kept evolving. 😀
The encouragement I got then carried me through high school–short stories on the backs of spelling tests, stories instead of straight-forward reports, personalized adventures for my friends to read, etc. I had AMAZING teachers who not only put up with my creative shenanigans, but also nourished my muse and I love them for it! In college I stopped writing fun stuff for anyone but myself. It was a discouraging environment for the worlds in my head. Folks wanted contemporary, gritty, literary, real.
I see enough of the real world in my daily life and frustrating news feeds: I wanted fun, adventurous, romantic, on-a-spaceship, out-of-this-galaxy. Or sky pirates. Or superheroes with powers that don’t always work right. All of the above. (ed. note: ALL of my faves, btw!) And I figured, hey: others might want to get comfortably lost in stories like that for a little while too.
I’ve been a Copy Editor for 12 years and a Technical Writer for 8, and once in the office job realm, I let my muse free. It was hungry! I wrote 15 novels and novellas while working the day job, while pregnant, while nursing and writing manuals and running conference calls and trainings, while coaching other writers during NaNoWriMo. (Whew! Did I mention those workaholic tendencies?)
What compelled you to start writing?
I grew up an avid reader…and I was running out of the things I loved to read. No one was telling those stories fast enough, or the library didn’t have them yet. There were other tales beginning to swim in my head, characters begging to be heard. So when I first started writing from Once Upon a Time to The End, I wrote those stories for myself.
As a writer myself, inspiration can be found anywhere! Where do you find your ideas and inspiration for stories?
I love ideas! And you’re right, they’re everywhere! My top go-to jams:
People-watching (literally everywhere)
Documentaries or crazy science articles (did you know there’s now a robot that dissolves in water? YES! Muse explosion!!)
During the research I should have been doing (read: getting lost down the rabbit hole on Wikipedia or TV Tropes)
And pictures (I love cruising Pinterest and DeviantArt and recently was introduced to “moodboards” on Tumblr which…is dangerous if I want to get ANYTHING else done that day other than spark character concepts)
What do you like best and enjoy most about writing?
I love the moment when I’ve written something new that, in the moment, feels utterly brilliant. A dialogue line or description that lights me up and makes me want to dance around my office. (Which I of course do, while cackling maniacally. Which is another reason I don’t write in coffeeshops.)
How do you feel about writers block? Real or imaginary? (I think it’s imaginary! Ha ha)
The only real writer’s blocks are burnout and depression. If those are behind it, there are folks who can help, and no matter how much you might want to fight it, it is true: addressing those things WILL bring the muse back. <3
The more common writer’s block we can sometimes be prone to lean on is both an excuse not to sit down and get stuff done (priorities!), and an excuse to drain our energy by staring at a screen and convincing ourselves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we CANNOT. We’re harder on our muses than anyone else could possibly be.
Some ways out for those of us stuck in that mindset:
1: Stop lying to ourselves (have we not typed a sentence before??).
2: Give ourselves permission to be imperfect in that blank space!
3: Switch up mediums (because our muses really do like to play with pen and paper).
4: Move, even for just 5 minutes. If the brain has no bloodflow because we’re sitting in one place doing all that staring, how’s it supposed to find the energy to toss creative thoughts around?
I’m not a fiction writer (yet), because it seems like it would be really hard to keep stories straight. How do you overcome the challenge of writing fiction?
Sticky notes. Color coded. Everywhere. Once, in the middle of drafting the novel I have coming out in December, my husband woke up with one stuck to the side of his face.
I was banned from plotting in bed after that.
Now, they all go on one of those big tri-fold foam boards (the kind you might see on display at science fairs) and after that get organized in both OneNote and Scrivener.
How can my readers find you and your stories?
Vigilante Mine: (My favorite review so far has compared this paranormal romance to “Kate Beckett (from Castle) + Batman”!) Available for Kindle
You can find the full list of vendors here (got all your ereader bases covered!)
Meeting Marleeta: Lunchtime sci-fi read:
Tiger’s Catch: Shifter romance! Preorder here or find it on Amazon on August 10, 2015
Wherever you beautiful people may drop by, I’d love to say hello and find out what’s up in your world! 🙂 Oh! Aaaaand of course, if you want bonus scenes and book discounts, plus sneak previews of what I’ve got coming up, click the previous link.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
How about a free book? 🙂 Tiger’s Catch comes out on August 10th, and I’d love to get a copy into one of your lovely readers’ hands!