Interview + Giveaway

About Us photoToday my friends Tim and Olive Chan are launching their book Then Came the Baby: The Wonder, Mayhem, and Hilarity of Our First Year as Parents this week. I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy which I really enjoyed. My husband, Willy, heard me laughing from across the house on a few occasions. The way they open up their lives to the reader, showing the highs and the lows, the funny and the difficult is really refreshing and helpful, especially for a not-yet-parent like myself. Tim has kindly agreed to an interview. As someone who also wants to publish one day, I was thrilled by the opportunity to learn from them

So without further ado, here’s the interview:

Describe how you guys decided you were going to write for a living.
There were a few factors involved. The first was that both Olive and I felt like we could not authentically live out our callings in our previous jobs, and were looking around for something else to do. The second was that the blog we started in November 2011 had been getting positive response from friends, family, and even people we didn’t know.

We felt it was a good time to take a risk, and trying writing full-time for a year. Writing allows Olive to be able to interact and influence people while having to expend too much social energy (which she does not have much of as an introvert). Writing full-time also gave me a chance to launch our own business, which was something I’ve been itching to do. Lastly, writing gives both of us the flexibility to work part-time and take care of our daughter part-time.

What has been the highlight and the lowlight for you guys in the process?
The highlight has been the chance to work together. Many people say that they cannot work with their spouse, but we’ve found it to be a positive and enriching experience so far. Working together has allowed us to see each other in a different context, and appreciate the strengths of the other person. As new parents, it gives us something to do together that does not revolve around our daughter.

The lowlight has been the stress and worry of attempting to make a living through writing. Often I struggle with the fear of failing. Though it’s difficult, it’s given me a chance to exercise living courageously.

What is one thing that has surprised you (good or bad)?
One thing that’s surprised me is the impact we’ve been able to make through writing. We’ve had many people tell us that they like reading our blog, and that it’s helped them with their marriage or as a parent. We’re humbled and grateful knowing that we’re making a small difference in the world.

What is one thing you would go back and do over if you had the chance?
One thing I would have done differently is to work on our blog sooner. Olive and I have been blogging for over 8 years, but it’s been something we do in our spare time. We’ve never really worked on building it until a year and a half ago. If we had started earlier, our impact might have been so much more today.

What advice (if any) do you have for someone who wants to publish an ebook like you are?
Write a little every day. Writing a book seems like a daunting task, but if you spend time every day to write, soon your book will be done.

Another piece of advice is to get people to help you edit the book. I’m not talking about someone to find grammatical errors (although that is important too), but someone to give you feedback on the direction and message of your book. We’ve been blessed to have many friends help us with this. The first draft of our upcoming book had 52 chapters. The final version of our book has 41 chapters. Through the editing process we cut out 11 of the weaker chapters, and most of the chapters that remain we rewrote. Our book is many times better because of the input of our editors.

What’s your next goal?Our next goal is to apply for the Aikman Opportunity Award. It is a book writing competition where the winner is awarded $20,000 and the opportunity to work with a publishing company. Our goal is for both Olive and I to submit book proposals for this competition. More details here:

Big thanks to Tim and Olive for answering these questions!

To celebrate their launch Tim and Olive have graciously given me two copies of their book to give away in Kindle format (which you can read on your tablet or smartphone if you don’t have a Kindle). Details of the giveaway are below the interview.

The Giveaway

  1. Entry method #1: leave a comment saying you want a copy.
  2. Entry method #2, 3, 4+: Share about the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, G+ or on Pinterest (by pinning the book cover linking to this post) and come back and leave a separate comment for each social media share.
  3. Entry method #5ish: Follow my blog by email.
  4. Be generous! This book may not reflect where you are in your life now, but maybe you have a friend who is planning to have kids soon, trying, or about to pop! Share this with them.
  5. I’m looking into getting a self-hosted WordPress site so I can actually use Rafflecopter and none of this annoying make-you-comment-a-lot stuff.
  6. Go and share!Cover (Final)

Writing in 2013

I haven’t really written much since Nanowrimo (which I’m so glad I did, by the way). I’m trying to figure out a project to work on to help me develop my writing, save this blog that keeps me at the keyboard a few times a week. I have one small project on the go that I’ve been really enjoying. I was about to write “I need to find a project to do this year” without acknowledging that I’ve been writing this ebook for the past few months. It feels weird to say that. It feels weird to make it real by talking about it here. A few people know I’ve been writing out some vignettes of my life since I’ve moved to Montreal, but talking about it on the internet feels a lot more official. I’m not entirely sure what will come of it save that I have been writing it with the intention of sharing it with people. I do have a specific audience in mind, which is a lot more than I can say for most other things I’ve written. So that’s exciting.

Ok so I’ll tell you a little more about it: a little hope I have is to publish it for Kindle. If you’re familiar with my Bucket List, publishing an ebook is on that list. Wow, I can’t describe how scary it is to talk about this. Now you might ask me about it. Now you might want to read it!

So maybe it isn’t any more scary than me announcing I’m going to do my best to run a 5K in April. Or a 10K in Sept. Those are scary announcements too but they’re far, far less personal.

Anyways, that’s what’s going on in terms of moving towards my writing goals. I may never speak of this again until it’s about to get real. We shall see.

10 reasons why you should participate in NaNoWriMo this year

In two days National Novel Writing Month begins. It’s a month where a bunch of aspiring writers/creatives get together online and in
their communities with the goal of writing a 50, 000 word novel in the 30 days of November. That’s a small novel around the size of the Great Gatsby which you likely read in High School.

I first found out about it online when I was just two months into my degree. I was eager to try but I thought, ‘this is crazy, I’m super busy with my university classes, how could I ever find the time?’ and then I realized something important: my life was only going to get busier and busier from that year on (which I was right about). So I decided to do it.

It was marvellously thrilling. Not every step of the way, there were times when I hated it and wanted to quit. But 30 days isn’t that long. The story itself was crap and I dealt with the concept very childishly, but hey, I was 18 and I wrote a novel.

10 reasons why you should do nanowrimo this year:

  1. It will open your mind creatively.
  2. It will help you realize the things that aren’t all that important in your schedule.
  3. You can draw off this experience of doing something hard and finishing it.
  4. You can say you’ve written a novel.
  5. You will learn something about yourself.
  6. You will learn to write every day.
  7. You’ll have the thrill of writing in coffee shops, and staying up to bizarre hours, all while holding down a job/degree.
  8. You don’t have to be a perfect writer (see No Plot? No Problem!).
  9. You will build confidence.
  10. Win or lose, you will rock for even trying.

Like I said, when I look back I knew my story was pretty awful. The point was never to be a good writer, but to get the process of writing started. I had to kill the snob in me who said, “I will only write if it’s good.” You’ll probably have to kill the snob in you too. THAT’S ALWAYS A GOOD THING. Writers who don’t write aren’t writers. They’re just people who like literature.

So go sign up and maybe even get connected with people in your community who are doing it with you. Maybe you’ll find a kindred spirit writerly friend!

As an aside, every year I contemplate doing it again. After browsing that website, it really made me want to do it again. I have approximately ONE day to decide. Gulp.

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