Welcome to the Blogger Spotlight Interview. This week we have Rene from Keep to The Write taking part in the Blogger Spotlight interview.
If you would like to take part, and your blog is under six months old, or has been re-launched in the last six months, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Rene, which everyone pronounces as if it were Renee, but it’s really RE-Knee. I’ve lived in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area for about 9 years now, and work full time.
I have two wonderful teenage children and a supportive husband, and of course, Neptune the Cat, who we never actually call Neptune but rather Meessy, which is short for Meessy Foosa.
In addition to my day job, I coach academic writers though an online platform at The Academic Ladder. My specialty is STEM professors, most of whom are women. From time to time, I also help academic writers of all disciplines with manuscript editing aimed at improving their chances of getting their message across and published.
Besides the blog, my publications include a list of academic journal articles, a Ph.D. dissertation with a lot complicated math, and a novel for NaNoWriMo, which I keep in the bottom of my sweater drawer – initially because I didn’t want anyone to find it, but now just so I can remember where it is.
2 What is your blog’s name and what is it about?
The name of my blog is Keep to The Write: Making Writing Happen and my slogan is Get Out of Your Own Way and Write.
In my work coaching academic writers, and my own experience as a human being, I’ve been struck at how often we create artificial barriers and obstacles to realizing our goals.
We often talk to ourselves in an unproductive way, saying things like:
“This is no good. I’m not cut out to be a writer. I’ll never get anywhere with this. I should just give up.”
Or – one of my favorites –
“I’ll start tomorrow.”
And whether you have a day job like me, or are a full time writer, there always seems to be other demands on our time and energy and not enough time to do what we really want to do. All of this can be quite stressful and frustrating.
In my blog, I share tips and tricks that have worked for me to make the most of the time I have to get the writing done (or anything else for that matter) without going insane. Part of that is about becoming more efficient with your time, but a lot of it is also about understanding how your brain works and how it can help or hinder you.
Your brain isn’t being helpful when you are procrastinating or resisting the writing or just generally freaking out, and in my blog I try to show how we can avoid all of that (or at least minimize it), focus on our goals and reduce the stress in our lives that so often gets in the way.
3 Why did you decide to start a blog?
You know, I have been thinking about blogging for a really long time. I was first inspired by Gretchen Rubin, who I believe started her blog back in 2006.
Gretchen left an aspiring career as a lawyer to become a writer and stay home full-time with her young daughter. It was my dream job. I read her first best seller, The Happiness Project and was hooked.
Later in 2011, I stumbled on Lian Dolan at Satellite Sisters, who was pursuing a writing and podcast career while raising two boys. I found her Chaos Chronicles podcast randomly one day and thought, ”Wouldn’t it be lovely to be a stay-at-home mom-blogger like these women?”
I even wrote down that intention on a piece of paper that I found recently in one of my journals entitled, “Things I want to do in 2011”. It actually took me six more years and a monumental birthday to finally ask myself, if not now, when?
I’m still working on the stay-at-home mom part.
4 Do you have any goals for your blog?
My fantasy is to develop a large readership, turn my blog into a book, start a podcast and tour the country as a motivational speaker.
But then, we probably all want to write that best-selling novel that Hollywood turns into a blockbuster movie so we can dedicate our lives to writing, free of the mundane worries of where the money will come from.
Until that happens, my goal is just to be able to share what I’ve learned along the way with others and to create a conversation where we can support each other and share our insights. Getting the blog out there so it can find its tribe is what I am really trying to achieve.
5 Tell us one random fact about you
I am grammar and spelling obsessed and can spot a typo practically with my eyes shut, although only in others’ work and not my own. It’s like a superpower that you can only use to help others.
6 What is the best piece of blog related advice you have received so far?
Write what you love, create good content, and the world will find you.
7 What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Blogging makes you start with a really quite horrible draft and transform it into something coherent on a regular basis. I love watching that process unfold, and it reminds me that even when I feel like my writing is stuck in eternal winter, it does bloom one day.
8 Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over knowing what you know now?
I wouldn’t wait as long as I did to get started. I was quite anxious for a while about the idea of putting my writing out there before it was perfect, or what I deemed to be perfect, which is probably more perfect than actual perfect.
I also wish that I had made the time to do it earlier instead of giving in to the excuses that I was telling myself – the eternal procrastination. I had the blog paid up and under construction for 11 months before I went live and started posting to the general public.
All of this time, I was writing blog posts for my academic writers group, testing the waters, seeing if anything that I wrote resonated. You don’t need to know everything up front, or create the most sensational website before you can send out your first post. You will learn along the way and can build up from there.
9 Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’m a very social person, and I love to meet new people, in person or virtually, who have had the courage to do interesting things in their life – things that are perhaps out of the box and a bit daring – and I think blogging is both of those things. I have been inspired by reading many of the other blogger spotlights. I haven’t gotten through them all, but I do intend to!
10 Where can we find you? (blog link and links to any social media)