Monday, September 11, 2017

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Sherrie Gavin

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. Being New York, there was enough city influence to keep things interesting and artsy, but it was also a small enough area where I had opportunities to be involved and try lots of things out.

In 7th grade, I wrote an essay as a part of an English class assignment. Before then, I never thought of myself as a writer. I liked to write, but it seemed like no one around was interested in my writing—or in me. In a family of seven children, I felt like just another kid, imperfect and lonely, trying to find out who I was. But that year, my English teacher entered my homework into a city-wide essay contest. It was something she did for all students, as a means to encourage us. It felt like a miracle when I learned I had won. I was suddenly someone special. In a good way!


I remember the awards night at a local theatre, feeling a different feeling—like I was…. Smart. Special. I’m not sure. But it was a good feeling. And I was happy. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as lost. Since then, I've developed my love of writing by writing, reading, dreaming and being me. Warts and all. I find that imperfection is a good thing in life, even in writing.

Now with a busy family of my own, finding time to write can be hard. Still, I block out four days a week where I can write in the afternoon before my children come home from school. Once every few months, I also take myself on a writer’s retreat. Armed with my trusty laptop, I book a hotel, pick up my favourite foods, and stay in the hotel room for a night or two. I stay up later than usual, skip my usual workout, have a bubble bath and even nap between writing. It is a great rejuvenation weekend for me, mostly because I feel accomplished returning home with a chunk of writing, proofreading and editing completed.

My favourite part about writing is when a writing project is done. For me, there are two stages in this: the first stage is the idea that is in my mind. Often, I find my mind clouded with the idea—and I have to write it in order to be able to think clearly again. So putting it on paper seems to clear my mind and take a weight off of me. The second “done” is when the piece is printed and I get positive feedback. Words are obviously important to me, so having positive words describing my work is a satisfaction like none other.

On the other hand, finding the time to edit and proofread is immensely difficult. I often feel euphoric getting the words down in the first place—so revisiting them can be draining, depending on the topic.

Get the Book at Amazon
For Baptism & Boomerangs, I often used the boomerang as a tool when I taught Sunday school. So the concept had been on my mind for quite a while. I usually write nonfiction for adults! So a children’s book was not something that I normally considered. But then, things changed. My husband took a job where he flew to work sites a few times a month, where he would work for a few days. It was a busy time for both of us, so we planned to have a romantic mid-week getaway. I flew to meet my husband, but he was caught at work, and would not be able to pick me up for a couple of hours. So I did what most writers do—I found some paper and a pen and wrote the story.

The story had been on my mind for years, so finally putting pen to paper, it did not take long. After my husband and I met up, I stayed up that night typing it into his computer. Within a month, it was polished and all of the details for submission were complete. Miracle!

Marketing the book was and is a challenge for me, but I like it. I’ve had wonderful support from family and friends, many who have invited me to share the book with those they know. Family and friends really are important in the process and creation of good writing, and I am grateful for mine.

I keep an ongoing blog and become involved in the community as best as I can. I find that by sharing my story, both my book and my heart, that marketing is a labour of love wherein I meet and make friends. It really is a beautiful process.  

Right now I am working on a couple of other LDS children’s books, this time with a New Zealand theme (we are living in New Zealand right now.) Additionally, I am working on an autobiography of how I miraculously came to meet and adopt my children. It’s been a challenge to be as open as I want to be, as our adoption story is so personal. But I am excited about telling our story—it is an adventure as well as being a story about perseverance and true love!

Plus, I always have things on the back burner, simmering away… until I see them clear enough to write.

In the end, I think it is okay to shoot for the stars. Anyone who dreams of being a writer should write. Just start writing. I didn’t think I had talent is anything as a shy 12-year-old. But as a matter of policy, an English teacher showed me that I was someone special. It still wasn’t easy from there, but at least I had a spark—something that made me feel happy about being me. From there, I needed to work on honing my skill.

How did I do that? Years later, one of my university professors told me that it didn’t matter if what I was writing was perfect, or right, or even good. She said: JUST WRITE. Write, wrote, write, and write again. Get it out of your head and onto the computer screen. Make it real so you can work with it.

I found that one I started to write regularly, I became better at constructing my story. I discovered things about myself, my words and my writing that were buried underneath concepts that had inspired me to write in the first place. Finally typing the ideas made them tangible and easier to direct. But like everything, talent alone won’t win… hard work and talent together make miracles. So write. And write some more. And edit. And be happy writing. Happiness is there for all us. A part of mine is in writing. I’m glad I found it. I hope you find your happiness, too.

You can find more information about me at my website, www.sherriegavin.com. You can also purchase a copy of Baptism & Boomerangs at https://www.amazon.com/Baptism-Boomerangs-Sherrie-Gavin/dp/1462116817.



Reactions:

0 comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.