Writer Interview-Meggan Connors

Please join me in welcoming fellow Reno author, Meggan Connors

Creative Pursuit: Author

Day Job: Speech Pathologist & Mom

How do you balance your creative pursuits with your day-to-day commitments? I can honestly say, I am not sure I know what balance is. I get up around 5:45 to do Twitter and Facebook from my iPhone, so I don’t have to get out of bed and put in my contacts. After that, I get the kids ready for school/preschool while I get ready for work, and we’re out the door by 7:30.

After work, it’s baseball, piano, soccer, and, in the summer, swimming lessons. Then comes dinner and homework, followed by showers, getting ready for bed, and story time. There’s the occasional PTO meeting or a parent training night at work, so sometimes, I don’t even get home until 7:30 or 8:00. Once 8:00 rolls around, the kids go to bed, and then I sit down to write–nearly every night. Not every single one—I took a day off two days ago, in fact. But I find my productivity decreases if I don’t sit myself down and write, even if it’s only for twenty minutes, and even if it’s crap. Because, let’s face it, not everything I type will be beautiful, but that’s what editing is for, right?

I’ve given up a lot of things in pursuit of my dream of being a published author. I rarely watch TV. I don’t do yoga, which is something I really wanted to do. I don’t even get that much sleep, because I’m often writing until 11:30 or midnight. What I’ve discovered is that I can’t do it without help, and my husband and friends have been great in that respect. If I’m really feeling the muse, he’ll do dishes and laundry. Maybe not the way I would have, but honestly, I’ve learned that done is done, and nothing else really matters after that. After all, everyone has clean underwear, and we have plates to eat from. Can’t ask for more than that!

I’ve also learned to say no. I work in Special Ed, and I’m a pleaser, so I spent years saying yes to things I didn’t want to do. But I’ve discovered that if something makes my life more difficult, or causes strife and disharmony, it has to go, or, if I can’t rid myself of it entirely, it has to be put on the back burner. I can handle work drama, because it’s always there. But I have to know when to say no, to recognize that even I have my limits, and I think I’ve started that process.

What’s next for you?  Right now, I’m working on the sequel to The Marker  , which is tentatively titled Shanghaied. I hope to continue writing, and to have a few more books out in the near future.

Favorite guilty pleasure? My favorite guilty pleasure is…really bad reality TV. Not The Bachelor or The Amazing Race (which I enjoyed back when I still watched a little TV every night). No, I’m talking survivalist reality TV. Doomsday Preppers, Dual Survival, Man v. Wild. Not because I’m planning on doing any surviving—let’s face it, if there’s some sort of disaster, my behind is pretty much toast—but because it’s entertaining to watch other people do it. Not only that, but I can justify watching it because it’s research. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

Thanks for having me! I’ve enjoyed being here today!

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TMCC Writers’ Conference

Now in its 22nd year, the TMCC Writers’ Conference once again delivered a unique blend of literary agents, high profile and local talent for a day of instruction and inspiration.  In addition to an impressive line-up of speakers including authors, Jennifer LauckNina Amir and Shawn Grady, the conference provided opportunities to network during through round table discussions at lunch.

The conference offered a broad spectrum of perspectives on the craft and business of writing, two speakers impressed me with their ability to manage the writing, work life balance.   During his afternoon discussion on crafting a book, author and Reno firefighter, Shawn Grady noted he scribbled the first page of his novel on a napkin while at Starbucks.

 Even with full life as a firefighter and family man, Grady has three novels to his credit.

Broadcaster and writer, David Stipech noted that writing is not just about the craft or the work, it is about the endurance even when life is full.  He recommended the Great Escape approach to writing—sometimes large goals have to be approached in small increments like the prisoners who tunneled their way to freedom a spoonful of dirt at a time.

What unusual tools or small steps can you use to work toward your goals?

Create a Life Worth Living

For most professions/trades the career path while not necessarily easy it is at least straightforward: Get the education/training >Pass the test/apprenticeship>Look for a job.  Also, most day job career paths rarely offer alternate routes.  In most jurisdictions, if you want to be an attorney, you have to pass the bar exam.

The creative career path appears straightforward:  Produce the work>Find an audience>Get $.

The wonderful and frustrating thing about the creative path is that the route to success varies from person to person.  In fact there are so many variations on that path; people often have trouble making the first step.  There is a multitude of avenues to become a published writer, contests, local newspapers, indie magazines, blogs, self-publishing—all valid opportunities, but not for all writers.

For anyone looking to chart a course in a creative career, I strongly recommend Carol Lloyd’s Creating a Life Worth Living. She puts a different twist on the remark “Don’t quit your day job”. It was my good fortune to have opportunity to hear Lloyd speak early in my writing career. She encourages artists to find meaningful work to complement their creative pursuits instead of having to choose between art and financial security. Her book contains exercises to help creative folks develop tangible steps toward their goals.

What tools have you found useful in charting your path?