STORY OF THE WRITER
Welcome back to the Writing Train folks!
Our next guest to kick off the series is none other than the great Linda Yezak. Wahoo! Everybody put your hands together for Linda. *applause* I mainly know Linda as one of the critique partners of bestselling author K.M. Weiland, and a fellow wordplayer in our awesome facebook group. If you would like access to this group click here. Now if Kate or KM Weiland is likened to Yoda, then Linda is definitely Obi Wan Kenobi. Hands down.
Here’s a little more about Linda
Linda W. Yezak lives in a forest in Deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years after graduation, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, including the Carol Award Finalist, Give the Lady a Ride, its sequel The Final Ride, and short stories like “Slider,” which won an honorable mention position in Saturday Evening Post’s 2015 Great American Fiction contest.
1. Essentials first. What’s your favorite BBQ sauce?
My husband makes one that has me spoiled to all others, and it uses as its base a name-brand sauce that is one of my least favorite. Go figure.
Hmm. Sounds like a man with admirable skills. Tell him he’s hired, and we’ll put it on mail order.
2. Tell us a little about where you live, ranch etc.
Currently, we’re in a rural residential neighborhood in a forest in Deep East Texas, about a thirty-minute drive from Louisiana. From where I work, I can see our pond with all its lily pads in bloom, the squirrels chasing each other around the hickory trees, and bluejays and cardinals preening in the birdbath. Until we retire and move back closer to home, this is our little slice of heaven. Our farm back home is a bigger slice of heaven.
“in a forest in Deep East Texas” wow, the imagery this evokes is explosive. I used to live on a six acre property and thought that was big. Mowing the lawn was brutal. But your ranch sounds very peaceful and conducive to the writing process.
2. Have you always been a writer?
In one way or another. In college, I had a professor who wanted me to pursue it as a career, but I had other plans. Turns out I should’ve listened to her. If I had, I would’ve been better established before the industry started going wonky.
Wonky, now that’s a word that’s definitely going in my vocabulary. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. But I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences, you’re right where you need to be.
3. What’s your favorite book?
This is always tough for me to answer. I have several favorites, each for different reasons. To make it to my favorites list, a book must totally submerge me into the story and leave me drained afterward, leave me with a sense of awe. It also must teach me something about the craft of writing. Of all the books I’ve read, only a handful reach this level.
You just left me dangling on the edge of my seat here. We’re gonna have to have you back for an additional interview just to mine the riches of this statement.
4. Favorite writing craft books?
These days, I’m more a fan of learning from other authors than from “how-to” books, but if I had to name one, it would be Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin. (Not a K.M. Weiland star, but at least it’s one she recommended to me.) What I love about this one is that it’s aimed at more mature writers who have advanced beyond basics. She does include the basics, but she also goes beyond Writing 101. She has a new one directed at 21st century writing that I’d love to have.
I have the second book you mentioned: Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, and I can’t wait to read it! YUM.
5. You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?
As I said, I’ve always written, but most recently, back in 1997, I got back in to it out of sheer pragmatism. I needed a job I could do from home. When my husband and I moved here, my father had cancer, and my mom was soon a widow who lived 150 miles from me. I needed something to do that would keep me busy, but available to her when she needed me.
I don’t remember what inspired the first novel I wrote. It was a sorry thing, as was the second one. But the story behind my first published novel–my award winner, Give the Lady a Ride–is on my blog right now (here: Give the Lady a Ride) because I’m promoting its sequel.
Give the Lady a Ride is available now.
The Final Ride: The Circle Bar Ranch Series is coming July 2016.
Lovely book covers by the way.
6. What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?
Now that I have several novels under my belt, my immediate goal is to learn how to better manage them and make money from them. I learned more about how to write than I did what to do once I’d written, so I’m scrambling to catch up. Since I always pursued traditional publishing, I thought there were some things I didn’t need to learn. Wrong. Now I’m enjoying the control I have over my books, but I realize how little I know about the promotion/marketing end of the business.
Yep, that sounds like marketing. You’ll want to tune in for next Friday’s interview with someone who knows exactly how to help writers make money from their projects. Stay tuned Friday 5/20/16 for something special.
7. What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)
a. I have more projects than I can complete in my lifetime, which is the biggest problem–and should be familiar to anyone who is of a creative nature.
b. I apparently am incapable of saying “no,” so I’m always adding to my workload. Since, as a freelance editor, much of what I do is paid for in advance, I have to push my projects down the list until I finish work for others.
c. Since I don’t live in a vacuum, and I’m not a recluse, life tends to get in the way quite a bit.
On the flip-side, I have finished most of my projects for this year, so I’m not complaining.
Those all sound like pretty legit conflicts to me. Having an idea folder seems to help. But picking an idea and fleshing it out unto full maturity can be challenging when you don’t have the time.
8. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)
Deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, and the occasional kind word.
Ah, yes. The blessed deadlines. Those would be helpful. Or dreadful depending upon who you ask. Motivation and encouragement we all need on a daily basis. Maybe they could fill IV bags and pump it directly into our veins, that’d be sweet.
9. What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?
Good question. The answer is twofold: my inability to say no–which eats my time–and my lack of time.
Father time, stubborn ol’ geezer isn’t he? As they say, time and tide wait for no man. Matter of fact he’s running with reckless abandon. Definitely not on our side that’s for sure. I’ve been writing for five minutes a day and building on the momentum. Some of the most effective engines start out slow, but once they get going they’re hard to slow down. Trucks, locomotives etc.
10. What’s been your experience as an editor?
I’m always honored when people trust me with their manuscripts. They’re paying for my knowledge, expertise, experience, and, yes, opinion. I love it when my work for them is well received, and it breaks my heart when it’s not. But I always give it my best.
You’re right. It’s a very honorable interaction. Like handing your newborn sweetie over to a complete stranger. Well, kind of. Excuse the analogy.
11. Why do writers give up, quit, or abandon their dream?
I think the answer is as diverse as the writers who have quit, but among the top three are lack of time, lack of discipline, and lack of encouragement.
Aside from that, writing isn’t easy. Even those with a knack for it must learn, and keep learning, the craft if they want to rise above mediocre. When people type “the end” on their manuscripts without a firm understanding that they aren’t finished yet–that they have to edit and rewrite and sweat and spill more blood–they’re destined for disappointment.
You said it, Linda. Time, lack of discipline and encouragement will do anybody in. The writer’s graveyard is expanding as we speak in part to these three monstrosities. These three great assassins target your dreams at the end of their barrel. Without mercy or respect of person. The lack of time is inevitable and varies widely according to the individual. We can schedule, make it up, or let it squander. But let’s be clear, time and tide wait for no man. We have to go after it with whatever is left in the tank. Discipline can, and should be cultivated, learned as a vital productive tool. Otherwise we’re looking at holes in our pockets. Lastly we should seek daily encouragement from a writing community.
12. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?
Lands, I want to give up every day. This job, like old age, ain’t for sissies. It’ll pulverize your pride and stomp on your heart. It can be a cruel demon one day, and fly you away on gossamer wings the next. You can’t rely on your muse–she’s a drunken hussy who’s never around when you need her. So you’re on your own.
To the writer who has given up, I say bravo! Life is what happens when you’re not bleeding over a keyboard. Go live it!
To the writer who struggles with his decision to give up, I say re-evaluate. Are you–or others– disappointed in your writing skills? Study. Try again. Are you setting unrealistic goals? Give yourself a reality check. Are you suffering from a lack of encouragement from those whom you need it the most? Leave them to God and write.
Analyze why you’ve quit and fix it. Because if you’re really meant to be a writer, that drunken hussy of a muse will never leave you alone. At least not until you need her.
Your first response is comical. Had a nice chuckle! The second response is honest and practical. Re-evaluate things and determine the cause of disappointment. Take a step back and get a bird’s eye view.
BONUS: What’s it like being a critique partner with KM Weiland?
I’m blessed to have her as a critter. Though we disagree on some things, her input is a vital part of my process. Very few know the craft as well as she does.
I’ll say amen to that, we’re glad to be her little ducklings!
Thanks for joining us Linda! Please come back for a second round on the Writing Train!
Linda W. Yezak
The Circle-Bar Ranch Series
Coming July 2016: The Final Ride
Facebook Fan Page: http://dld.bz/LWYFacebookPage
Just FYI, I’ll be posting interviews every Wednesday and Friday for the Story of the Writer series. Our next guest on Friday the 13th is Kim Vandel! Come back hop on the train and check out her new book, Into the Fire. Don’t change that channel!
Over and out.
“Sleep is good,” he said. “And books are better.”
-George RR Martin
KEEP WRITING BECAUSE SOMEONE NEEDS YOUR STORY