I had the honour of interviewing Christine Royse Niles. She is a fiction and nonfiction writer and a blogger who guides writers step-by-step on how to grow their careers as writers. She is a wife to Mark and a mom to two beautiful Ukrainian daughters which they adopted. You can read about her passion for orphans around the world and how in a land far, far away she was a corporate project manager. You can connect with Christine on her writing blog at riverofthoughts.com, her fiction blog at nileswriter.com or on Facebook or Twitter.
*Christine shares her story of how she started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pencil. As she got older – and became more serious – her talent got channeled into technical writing, but she still wrote stories on and off. When she turned 40 she decided she needed to do something that mattered. She was working 60 hours a week in her corporate job but wanted to write so she started getting up at 5am.
*After she was writing everyday for 3 months straight, her husband saw that she was doing this and taking it seriously and gave her a MacBook Air for her birthday and encouraged her to keep writing. From that she learned the discipline of getting up early – when she didn’t want to – to write and schedule content ahead of time; and developed more relationships with other bloggers and writers. When a round of layoffs came at her job, she started writing for a missions organization and ended up being the content manager and copywriting manager for that organization.
*Christine encourages writers to give themselves permission to start to write. She writes about the step by step process of how to begin telling your story in her new book for writers Start to Write: Break Free from Rules, Overcome Your Fear, and Start Writing Today (Step-by-Step Guides for Growing Writers).
*Where do you get new ideas as a writer? Ideas are everywhere. Christine encourages writers to think of ideas as abundant – that none of your ideas are too precious. You can start by simply observing people around you. See someone with a brightly coloured hat, old tattered clothes or a limp, capture those ideas and let your imagination take you away with possibilities for their story. Christine says when she did that she started developing a giant list.
*Free writing is also a key to open up your writing. She encourages new writers to experiment with just writing down ideas and trusting emergence of the story. Then also try doing a little outlining of your story and see how the story weaves together best for you.
*Christine talks about how to get any writing project done in 90 days. She says she believes 90 days is long enough for something to matter; to do something where everyday it’s important to write. The most important detail to identify is your why – If you don’t know why you’re going to accomplish something then you’re just spinning your wheels. If you don’t stick to your plan, the book you’re writing won’t get done in the time frame you’re hoping for.
Grab your free copy of the worksheet on how to cut through the chaos to get your writing project done in 90 days at riverofthoughts.com.
*Christine talks about her own nagging fears. She encourages writers to give fear a name – it’s a bully – tell resistance to go. A big thing that helps is to have a community of writers to talk to and who encourage you to go on when you’re down and a few trusted friends who are your cheerleaders.
*It was great to get a little taste of Christine’s fiction stories and her writing process. She always liked thrillers and TV series like Bones, so she had an idea to try to write a thriller, mystery or detective series. She says she had a moral dilemma as these horrible characters popped into her head and she began to write them. She was able to understand that many times her characters were people who were deeply wounded and she was able to understand how the ‘horrible’ came to be in her character’s lives… and then exposed them to the consequences of their horrible.
*When she just let the characters be and do what they were going to do, writing fiction became so much freer. It was like an outlet to channel some of her anxiety and angst she sometimes went through as a parent to her own girls. Writing through the characters and scenes really helped her to let them go.
*If you’re planning on collaborating with other authors, Christine gives some helpful tips: Think generosity – make it about introducing your audiences to each other instead of making it about money; find authors who have something in common with you – who have a similar philosophy and worldview; find writers you really respect to work with; connect with writers who are in a similar place as you. Let your goal be something as simple as connecting with more readers. Christine did this in a recent Christmas collaboration she did with a few other author friends in their new release Christmas Wishes: A Dysfunctional Collection.
*A great tip, I learned from Christine, is to be free to experiment as a writer. Now, with since the start of self-publishing, nothing is permanent. In the old days once you gave your manuscript to a publisher they published a ton of copies and typos wouldn’t get fixed. There’s a tremendous amount of freedom. You can get a book uploaded fast for next to nothing. If you use Scrivener(I recommend Joseph Michael’s Learn Scrivener Fast course), then you can write and publish your book onto digital stores like Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and other stores quickly.
*If you’re writing your first book, don’t let prices hold you back. Christine says she made her first book cover using MS Word. You can also create covers using canva.com. And Christine recommends Brad from chrome47.com, who did the cover for her book Start to Write.
*Projects Christine is working on right now is 1 fiction book – the prequel to her Jennifer Hughes Detective series, and 1 nonfiction book, the next in her series for writers called Time to Write.
Do you struggle to find time to write your stories? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.