Linda Clare – Featured Woman
Linda has always been a daydreamer, artist and storyteller.
Her alter ego, Miss Crankypants, has loads of fun and laughs, mostly at Cranky Cat’s expense, in weekly blog rants that are chock-full of fat cats and CRANKYTUDE! In addition to doting on grandbabies, collecting too many cats, gardening and walking on the beach, she loves to write and to help writers develop their skills. She lives in Oregon with her family and all those wayward cats.
Linda S. Clare has published three nonfiction books and two novels, plus many Chicken Soup stories, poems and essays. She teaches writing at a community college in the Northwest where she lives with her family and three naughty kitties.
1) What exactly is your business and what made you get started?
I am a novelist and freelance writer, editor and writing coach. In high school, I took my first Creative Writing class and saw my first poem published in a national publication. This was followed by many rejections, but I had already caught the writing bug.
2) What one thing do you do every day to move yourself forward and stay focused? Where do you find your inspiration?
Every day, I try hard to rediscover my passion. Writing isn’t as much about words on a page as it is about saying what you have to say—what you are passionate about. My inspiration comes mainly from my faith, but I’m also very interested in American Indian culture (I’m part Cherokee/Choctaw), visual art, music and right now, my adorable three grandchildren!
3) What do you do regularly to take care of yourself?
Not enough! I admit I’m a doer and I easily get over-committed. But I’m working on being more selective in what I take on. I want to help everybody, but I’m trying to learn to say no more often. I need to learn I’m not the only help on earth! I like walking here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and chasing those grandorables is good exercise too.
4) How do you keep yourself emotionally balanced while you are pushing forward?
Being emotionally balanced is tough for writers or artists—we thrive on digging deep to uncover and connect emotion with our readers. But if I’m learning anything, it’s that I really don’t have time to stay angry, hurt, bitter or cynical. Life is too precious and short to grind an axe. I’d rather have an “open arms” policy.
5) What’s the best part and the worst part of your job?
LOL! The old saw goes: “The best thing about being a writer is that when I get up in the morning, I’m already dressed for work. And the worst thing is that I’m dressed for WORK.” Yes, you get to write in your pjs, but you also have to force yourself to get things done. I tell my students to remember this: BIC (Buns in Chair!). It is hard some days to sit and type at a keyboard, especially if you’re not sure if your project will be published. I try to imagine a tiny little slave driver with a tiny whip who sits on my shoulder and makes me write. Just kidding—but the dust bunnies and other chores do try to get me away from my desk. The other magic thing is to give yourself permission to fail—in my case, write badly. My first drafts are awful. But it’s not how your writing starts out that matters. It’s how it ends up.
6) What failure taught you the most and what was it?
In the mid-1990s, I wrote my first novel and secured a big deal New York City literary agent. I was envisioning my interview with Oprah, thinking I had it made. But the agent couldn’t sell the book. And I nearly quit writing. I didn’t though. Wherever you quit, well, that’s all you get. I couldn’t stop hoping, working, working harder to be a better writer. Fifteen years later, my first novel, The Fence My Father Built, was published.
7) If you had to do something different, what would that be?
Uh, have fewer than four kids? Kidding. It was hard to write while the kids were young. I guess if I could do it over, I’d major in Creative Writing instead of Art. I was an elementary school art instructor and I liked doing it, but writing really is where I belong.
8) If you had advice to give to someone else who was thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, what would that be?
Be willing to work hard. Develop selective hearing when the naysayers start telling you to quit. And never ever let go of your passion for whatever it is you do.
The Fence My Father Built
9) What did you have to overcome personally to be able to do what you do?
Don’t tell anyone, but I am a polio survivor. My left arm and hand were left paralyzed. I type one-handed. But it doesn’t really slow me down much, because I love what I do.
10) Any last parting words?
If you want to write, don’t wait. Start today. The novel that stays in your head is not writing. You have to write it and learn your craft. But don’t not write because you are inexperienced or busy or whatever. Writing is its own reward.
OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook.com/Lindaclarebooks
- Amazon Affiliate