Linda Morris: Roots of a Writing Career

Morning folks! Hope your day is a blessed one 🙂

As I thought about how I would greet everyone today it occurred to me that this little corner of cyberspace is a lot like my home. I love meeting new people and inviting them over for a visit! Came across today’s guest kind of like that. She posted a link to an appearance that caught my interest. For some reason, that link seemed broken. I e-mailed her about it and our interactions led to today’s post.

A little about our guest: Linda Morris works as a freelance technical writer and editor and lives in central Indiana with her husband and young son.

She takes over from here: 🙂

I’ve done a lot of things as my “day job” — customer service rep, airline employee, proofreader, and a variety of jobs in publishing, plus too many freelance and part-time jobs to count — but I’ve really only wanted one career: writer. Specifically, fiction writer.

I love stories for the way they show me worlds outside my own, educate me, broaden my viewpoints and perspectives, and entertain me. (Amen!) Although I’ve always liked books and remember being a quick reader in elementary school, I remember the first book I fell in love with. My sisters, both several years older than me, had moved out of the house: one into the military, one to college. They had left behind boxes of books and LPs, and on one dull Sunday afternoon, I looked at my oldest sister’s books. Most of the books weren’t interesting to me: They were novelizations of Star Trek, the original series, or bios of popular musicians. (I did eventually get around to reading one of them, No One Here Gets Out Alive, Danny Sugarman’s bio of Jim Morrison. It was very educational, and not in a way my mother would have appreciated.)

But my interest in rock and roll was still far in the future that afternoon, so I picked up The Clue in the Old Stagecoach, a Nancy Drew mystery by Carolyn Keene, featuring this iconic cover art:

I was hooked! I read every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on from then on, either at the library or at the local K-Mart. (My hometown did not possess an actual entire store dedicated to selling books at that time. Hard to believe, huh?) From there, it was a short leap to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and the Meg mysteries by Holly Beth Walker. I heard about Newbery Award winning books at school and, armed with a list of all the winners, set about reading them all. I never quite made it through the list, but I read quite a few great books in the process nonetheless. Books became a window to a wider world, an escape, and an ambition, all rolled into one.

I started my first novel when I was in college. It was very bad. After college, I never completely gave up on the dream of writing. When I began dating my husband, I was delighted to learn he was an aspiring writer too who had had a few short stories published. If it weren’t for him, my dream of becoming a published writer might never have come true. We’ve had many long conversations about writing, we’ve read and critiqued much of each other’s work, he’s recommended many great books about writing, and he explained POV to me! He’s been a constant cheerleader for me throughout the process, despite the fact that if he weren’t married to a romance writer, he assuredly never would have read one. (That’s OK. I wouldn’t have read very many horror stories if it weren’t for him!)

When I wrote my debut published piece, Montana Belle, a western novella from the Wild Rose Press, I sent it off to the publisher without a critique from him (or anyone else) first. Although it got positive feedback from an editor who felt it had a lot of potential, I quickly found myself in a revision loop. The editor requested changes, I made them, she felt it still wasn’t quite right, she requested other changes, and repeat. Finally, unsure I would ever get this story right, I had my husband take a look at it. He made great suggestions, and I finally understood what needed to change. I made the revisions, resubmitted it, and voila! Montana Belle sold.

What’s the moral to this story? I learned the difference that a great critique partner can make. There’s nothing like someone who is really invested in your success and can take the time to read your work and make invaluable suggestions. If you don’t have someone like that in your life, find one ASAP!

Important points to consider, Linda. Had it not been for my critique group and a couple of close friends who have no problem telling me what I need–vs what I’d like–to hear, don’t know that I’d be here either! (Wish my kids would see stories as the escape /window-to-the-world/ fun way to educate oneself. Sometimes, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about places, cultures, history, etc from a well-researched novel. And it never felt like ‘studying’.) Okay, I’m done nattering on! Like the rest of us writer-folk, Linda loves cybercompany! Visit her online at http://lindamorriswriter.blogspot.com/, where you can find excerpts of her work and more information about her forthcoming books.

Linda’s brand-new release, due out from The Wild Rose Press on February 18th! Best of luck! Thanks so much for dropping in, Linda.

Just a reminder for those of you love giveaways: Yesterday’s guest, Anna Kathryn Lanier’s e-book and cookbook are still up for grabs by one lucky commenter! Drawing Sunday evening circa 7 PM. Don’t be left out. Scroll down to the previous post and leave your thoughts on the matter of backing up your irreplaceable files, photos and other virtual content.

A great weekend to all,

Joanna

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5 thoughts on “Linda Morris: Roots of a Writing Career

  1. Good morning all and welcome, Linda. Let’s see if I guessed right. Did my favorite Rae Monet do the stunning cover for Forget-Me-Not? (One look at the cover of No Matter Why and you’ll know why I’m biased… :))

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    1. Aw, “No Matter Why” has a nice cover too. Both of my covers were actually done by Kim Mendoza. I like them both, but I’m particularly fond of “Forget-Me-Not.”

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  2. Critique partners have gotten most of us published. After all, we’re writing to connect with readers and if we can’t connect with a crit partner, we need to listen to the advice and try again. But there are healthy boundaries to set when working with critiques. Know them, make them known, justify them rationally, and let it go.
    Congrats on your new book.
    Joy Held
    Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity
    Who Dares Wins Publishing

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  3. So true, Joy. A critique group’s response to a piece I read prompted me to enter my first and only contest. Not only was I fortunate enough to take second place, one of the judges advised me to “go forth and publish”. Two months later, I submitted my first query and was offered the contract to my debut novel!

    Thanks for dropping in!

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