Nancy Christie talks to Liana Metal about her book.
when did you get started as a writer?
I have been writing
since I was in second grade. Writing was as natural to me as breathing—the way I chose to express my imagination and
explore concepts and ideas. But I didn’t start writing professionally until the mid-1980s, when I write articles for
local newspapers. By the 1990s, I was submitting to articles and essays to magazines, and in 2004, had my first book published,
The Gifts of Change.
How do you usually
find your ideas?
The magazine article
ideas are usually generated either by an issue or subject that I am interested in (environmental topics or health, for example)
or a problem I am trying to resolve (for instance, low-cost marketing ideas for business).
Essays come from
events I’ve experienced, while the short fiction usually has its genesis in snatches of overhead conversations or interactions
observed between two strangers. The story flows naturally from that starting point.
ever get any rejections?
how did you react to them?
book, article queries, essays and fiction have all received the “Thanks, but no thanks!” response! In the beginning,
it was disappointing and frustrating, and frequently led to periods of self-doubt. But, because I am naturally stubborn, I
kept sending pieces out until I finally had success—admittedly more with non-fiction than with fiction, but that’s
because I send out more of the former than the latter. In this business, quantity counts.
about your books. What was your first one?
My first is The
Gifts of Change, which focuses on two concepts: each change, even the ones we may not have desired, brings with it the opportunity
for self-development and personal growth, and to make the most of these opportunities, you need to keep in great psychological/emotional
shape by exercising your “change” muscle on a regular basis.
I am currently
working on a second book—a guided journal for change as well as a compilation of stories based on other people’s
experiences with change in various life categories.
you to write this book?
It began as a
journal I kept during a period of great change in 1999. From being a grandmother for the first time to learning my mother
had cancer, to re-marrying, to my new husband losing his job when the company he worked for shut down—change was coming
fast and furious. I turned to writing as a coping mechanism, and the journal entries ultimately became essays and then a book.
How long did
it take you to write it?
I spent about
two years developing the essays, and then began contacting magazines (for individual publication) and agents and publishers
(for the book project). I signed with Beyond Words in 2003 and saw my first finished copy in 2004!
the major challenges that you have faced in your career?
The only challenge
was figuring out how to turn my gift for non-fiction writing into a source of income without sacrificing the time I need to
pursue the less lucrative but more satisfying fiction writing. This is a battle I wage daily. I’ve become more successful
at magazine work (which is great for the income) but ironically, it takes away from my fiction writing time.
Internet helped you in your writing career?
Indirectly I think
the Internet helps by allowing me to contact my sources easier and more efficiently. It also gives me a way to learn so much
more than if I had to spend time searching through books. Magazine web sites are great places to view contents without buying
every one! But I have not yet gotten involved with online publications, so it isn’t a direct income source for me.
you advise new writers to do?
Make writing as
much a part of your day as brushing your teeth. It doesn’t matter if you are making money or not—you need to write.
If you go into it as a way to make a living, make sure you don’t get so caught up in the “business of writing”
that your time to be creative is lost.
take rejections as a sign that you have no value, talent or ability. The only thing you have control over is whether or not
you are writing and submitting. Acceptance is outside your realm of influence. That being said, don’t shoot yourself
in the foot and submit poorly written pieces. Take time to learn your craft, don’t be afraid to revise and listen to
comments with an open mind.