Hello faithful audiences! I have had the marvelous opportunity to interview a fellow blogger who has navigated (and survived) trying to juggle writing and homework at the same time. Talk about talent. I'd ask to hear some applause, but since I can't hear it anyhow, let's get right to the good stuff.
First tell us a little about yourself. What are important things to know about you personally?
My name is Elizabeth Hausladen, although you can often find me posting under the name "Elenatintil" (yes, that's from Tolkien's Elvish). I'm 23 years old, and I am a professional costumer and writer. I love history, art, and basically anything geeky. Doctor Who, X-Men, you name it!
What do you enjoy reading?
My two big loves are historical fiction and science fiction. Whenever I find a good historical fiction novel I rush to the computer and blog about it - such finds are rare and worthy of immediate sharing! For science fiction I am a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, who is a prolific writer of many generes, but most well-known for "Ender's Game." I also greatly enjoy anything by Regina Doman.
What do you enjoy writing about?
I like to write what I read... the setting is always science fiction, fantasy, or historical (and often a combination!), and I'm big on creating well-fleshed out characters with compelling plotlines.
Want to tell us a little about your work in progress (if you have one at the moment)?
I have two at the moment, although the time travel is on the back burner while I work on getting the first draft of the other novel ready for my publisher. This second project is slotted to be book three of the "Ruah Chronicles" series being put out by Chesterton Press hopefully next year. My installment is set in Paris, and deals with nuns, mermaids and the last unicorn! That's all I'm really allowed to say at the moment, but it's a story I'm very excited about and can't wait to share with others!
What are your top tips for juggling important life commitments (homework/jobs) with writing?
Carve out writing time with ferocious sword hacking. Because writing is so mentally demanding, it is nearly always what you end up putting off in favor of less intense tasks. It is absolutely essential to designate 'writing time' and then stick to it. For me it varies with the seasons. Last spring I wrote first thing in the morning. During the winter I really like to go out to coffee shops and away from the distractions and responsibilities of home (I work from home so it's a double guilt-trip).
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Wow, that's hard, I've received so much good writing advice in my life. I think the most powerful experience I had was when Regina critiqued the first chapter of my novel multiple times, and kept pushing me to tighten it up. My characters kept doing things that really didn't tie into the plot, which made for a long and rambling first chapter. Regina pushed me to rethink every sentence I had in there and make sure it was vital.
Any warnings to give?/What are the biggest mistakes that a young(ish) writer could make?
Don't try to publish too early. Hone your craft first. Read writing books, read writing blogs (particularly from editors, agents and experienced writers!), go to talks and seminars and classes, and then just read as much good stuff as you can. Rewrite your book, and then rewrite it again. Find people to read it who will be honest and harsh with you - not your mom. Don't self-publish because you don't want to do the work of going through a big publisher. The publishers know a lot of stuff that you don't, and it's dangerous to assume that your book is 'as good as what they're publishing' unless you have a professional in the field affirming that.
Anything you would do differently (in your writing life) if you could time travel?
I would not have tried to get an English Literature and Writing degree. While some of the fiction writing stuff was relevant, it was still a tiny fraction of what we actually studied in the major. Most of it was analyzing poetry, which doesn't have much to do with writing a novel. If you want to have a career as a writer (and not just write a literary novel that the critics will love), have life experience. (Or get a major pertaining to the genres you want to write in, history, psychology, science, etc) While I did have a good time in college for my first year, by the time I got to year two I realized that I was in the wrong major, and I wish I had realized that earlier... although honestly it all worked out, so I'm glad that God, not me, was in charge of making those decisions.
Last words of wisdom?
Write! Write every day! Write your novel, write a blog post, write an e-mail, write fan fiction... but keep on writing. It's a muscle that will get stronger if you use it, and weaker if you abuse it.
Awesome stuff, right? Be sure to check out Elizabeth's blog: http://elenatintil.blogspot.com/