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Self: Howdy, y’all! Welcome to today’s edition of Taylor’s Featured Blog. I am your host, Self, of the totally fictitious (but often-quoted) authority of all things literary: Me, Myself and I. We have with us today the owner and president of Taylor’s Book Pub, Taylor Stonely. Welcome to the show today, Mr. Stonely!
Taylor Stonely: It’s good to be here. Please, call me Taylor.
Self: I will, thank you. It is great to have you here with us this fine Texas day. So, to start this edition of Taylor’s Featured Blog, tell us a little about yourself.
TS: Thank you. I am an aspiring writer of suspense fiction, I am a husband to (garbled sounds meant to protect their privacy) and a father to four beautiful children, who’s names are (garbled sounds again, meant to protect their privacy). I work at a major financial firm called (garbled sounds yet again, meant to protect the company from being identified with, and endorsed by, the interviewee, all rights reserved), where I currently work in Customer Service. Um, is that garbled noise going to happen a lot today?
Self: Never mind that. This is fascinating information that you are sharing with us today! So, tell us about this Freelance Writers Den contest that you are entering?
TS: Yes, I understand from an email that I received today that Freelance Writers Den is having a writing contest to celebrate their 1-year anniversary.
Self: And who is Freelance Writers Den?
TS: To quote their mission, they are “the supportive place where freelance writers learn how to grow their income — fast.” I came across their website, saw their video, and wanted to join immediately. I wanted to join because I saw a professional website that helps freelance writers improve their craft. However, their window for membership in this exclusive forum was closed. So, I gave them my name and email in the hopes of someday being invited into the club.
Self: It’s as if you’ve been given the keys to the kingdom, right?
TS: Exactly! They are giving out 1) a free, one-year membership to the den, 2) a 30 minute mentoring call with Carol and Linda, the co-founders of Freelance Writers Den, 3) access to their Freelance Writers Blast-off Class Audit, 4) access to their 4-week Journalism School Audit, 5) the Basic level of Write for Magazines e-course, 6) Linda’s ebooks on freelance writing, Get Unstuck, the Guide to Marketing Your Writing, and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock, and finally 7) Carol’s ebook, Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide.
Self: Whew! That is a boatload of resources. Did you just rattle those off the top of your head? Anyway, why should you win the contest?
TS: I believe in developing my writing craft. I am a pianist, and have played since I was seven or eight years old. I was always told by my mother to “practice the piano” and “sit up straight” and “eat your broccoli” and, um… er, sorry. It was ingrained in me at a very early age that in order to get better at something, you must practice, practice, practice! It was a hard lesson to learn — I even learned to enjoy broccoli as an adult — because I was lazy and I wanted to have fun. However, once I decided that I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to learn from the best! And, because I am lazy and I want to have fun. I don’t have a lot of time to pursue things that are not going to get me where I want to be. Winning this contest would allow me to learn the craft of writing at the feet of those who have gone before me, who have blazed the trail ahead, who have found the pitfalls, and who have developed the best path to get there.
Self: Thank you for sharing that. Earlier, you listed a bunch of resources that you would receive if you won the contest. How in the world are you going to find the time to use them all?
TS: That is a great question! Right now, I am on this writing journey alone, but I recognize that I need help. I need a community to help me become a better writer. So I will take full advantage of the den by asking a lot of questions, I am going to audit the two classes that are being offered to jump-start my technique, I am going to take the weekly course to align myself on the right path, and I am going to read the e-books that are offered in order to hone my skills with laser-like precision.
Self: Sounds like a lot of work! Are you prepared to put all that effort into this, and what do you hope to accomplish?
TS: I am very motivated to make this work, as I love to learn new things. I love expressing myself, so my main goal is to tell people what I know in such a way that I can get paid for sharing that knowledge. While the money may seem to be the main pursuit, it is not the money as much as it is the satisfaction of having shared something of value to those around me. I want to stand out! And, I want to make my family proud of my efforts, that those efforts have finally paid off. Finally, I want to retire by the age of 55 so that I can travel to places in the world that I have seen pictures of, but never experienced first-hand. Someone once told me that I would travel to far off places, but besides a two-year stint in Portugal and a vacation with my wife to Barbados, I have never really been abroad.
Self: You have some lofty goals, Taylor. Thank you for sharing! So, what has been holding you back from reaching those dreams?
TS: Time and money. Simply put, there is just not enough time in my day to do all of the things that I want to do. Just to give you an example, this past weekend I came across an amazing set of videos of some performing artists that just blew me away. They inspired me to such a degree that I had to share those videos by creating a page on my website. Since I work until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, I got started on this late last night. I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. this morning, cutting and pasting HTML links in order to create this video page. Then I got up at 8 a.m. this morning, saw the email inviting me to enter this contest, and I have been interviewing with you ever since! My days are constantly filled with typing and editing and helping people, not to mention that I have to make a living, working 40+ hours a week at a job that provides health benefits for my family. To top it all off, I have been a stay-at-home dad for the past two and a half weeks while my wife travels across the great state of Texas. All in pursuit of the almighty dollar, which seems to be stretched even more these days.
Self: Wow, you are a busy man! Taylor, I don’t want to keep you any longer, so any last words?
TS: I just want to say thank you for having me on your show! (Turning to the audience) Be sure to share this post with all of your friends and family! The more people that I share this with, the more chances that I have to win. Thank you, and Happy Creating!
(Applause, and video fade out)