Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet Our Writers Week 20: Elizabeth Irwin

Tell us about yourself

My name is Elizabeth Irwin. I am a freelance editor, writer, and voice over professional from Northwest Ohio. I've been a full time freelancer for four years, but I've been editing, writing, and voicing for about 20 years.  Four of my clients have published and I'm working with a novelist and memorist on their projects as well.  I'm also a writing instructor - I teach Writing Family History and Writing Short (a course on short format writing, such as articles, blogs, commercials, and flash fiction). I'm a certified lay speaker and Biblical storyteller. As a Biblical storyteller, I relate Bible stories, parables, and psalms from the heart, rather than reading the text.

Tell me about your blog(s), name(s), what does it mean to you?

I'm new to the blogosphere. My blog, "I Face the Sun" at WordPress, went live in January 2011 after much deliberating, over-analyzing, and fear of failure. The one line description on the site is "Faith, Hope, Gratitude, and the Creative Life."  It's somewhere between an experiment and a passion.  Writing is a passion and I wholeheartedly believe in gratitude, having faith and hope even in the darkest moments, and contributing to the beauty and positivity of the world, rather than to the negativity and ugliness.

When have you started blogging?

As I mentioned above, I started blogging in January 2011.  I felt like I "should" blog as a way of building a pre-publishing platform...but I didn't want to blog too much about writing techniques and publishing. There are plenty of experienced professionals out there doing that already and doing it very well. A good friend of mine said, "Write about your passions.  What really lights your fire?"  Being happy and positive lights my fire, and helping others be happier lights my fire too.  And it seems like the grumpy, irritable, negative people get all the press.  In my own small way, I wanted to be the antidote.

What's the theme(s) of your blog(s)? What do you write most? poetry, fiction or novel, or  short stories?

I Face the Sun is about choosing to live an optimistic life, embracing creativity and keeping the eyes and heart open for everyday miracles.  There's a whole lot of good out there - we just have to be willing to see it.  I started out determined to focus on personal essay/nonfiction.  I play with poetry, and I have several offline novels in progress, but thanks to the Short Story Slam at Bluebell Books, I'm letting my flash fiction writer out for a run once in a while.

What are the inspirations of your writing?

From ancestors to zebra swallowtails, I find inspiration in everything. And when I get stuck, there are month-long prompt challenges to get the creative well filled back up again.

Does music impact your writing?

Music does impact my writing!  When I'm working on a longer project - pretty much anything that's not a blog entry - music helps me stay focused and in the moment of the character's life. I listen to everything from Adam Ant to Vivaldi, but my favorite artists are Jason Mraz, Lady GaGa, Melissa Etheridge, Train, Casting Crowns, The Afters, MikesChair, and Pocket Full of Rocks.

You are involved with Bluebell Books Short Story Slam writing challenge? How do you feel about it so far? What's the benefits of it?

I love the Short Story Slam and made a point to tell the members of my writers group about it.  Not all of them blog, but I encouraged them to go and look at the images, let them get inside and swim around a little, and then write something. I'm amazed at the diversity of responses to the image prompts, and I admire how supportive and encouraging all the participants are of each other.

Do you have a favorite blogging friend to share? Tell us about his/her blog link and the writing in it!

My friend Karen C.L. Anderson is the one who encouraged me to pursue blogging, and she set the bar for me! At www.kclanderson.com, you will find her blog "Before and After", which is about weight gain, weight loss, and weightlessness through self-acceptance.  Her blog was the basis for her book, After (the Before and After), which I had the honor of editing.

Do you have a favorite book or author?

Picking one favorite book or author is like picking a favorite flower or favorite piece of chocolate. But a "game changer" for me was The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brene Brown.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” — Lord Byron

Or "Where the meek get pinched, the bold survive." - Ferris Bueller

Any tips for those who started blogging and wish to become successful in it.

I'm not entirely sure what success looks like - not everyone is married to stats and hits and visits. Don't feel like you "have to" run your blog the way anyone else does. Do what's comfortable for you because if it seems too much like work, you won't do it.  Write about the things that rock your world - even if they don't seem to go together - like RPGs, neon-colored Chuck Taylors, and wine.  Although I like the idea of sitting around in my Chucks with a glass of wine playing an RPG with friends!

What's your writing plans in the near future?

I feel like I always have three things going on simultaneously - which might be why I never really get anything done!  I'll participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. And I'm in the process of reworking the content on my business web site and uniting it with the blog.


Jingle Poetry At Olive Garden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jingle Poetry At Olive Garden said...

Glad to learn about you, Elizabeth.

Bluebell Books Twitter Club said...

love reading you, Beth.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you! Thanks for asking me to contribute. :-)