Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guest Post: Nancy Christie

HI EVERYONE, TODAY I AM interviewing author and Nancy Christie, author, blogger and teacher.

Your writing background is quite impressive. One thing I notice is that your work is about inspiring others by exploring personal growth and relationship issues. I really respect that. Can you share with readers your vision and how it evolved? 

I suppose it comes in a large part, from personal experience. When you learn things the hard way or have to overcome failure and setbacks--and you are a writer--it's just natural to want to explore it in writing and then share the realizations you come to. 

Among the many conclusions I have come to are: 1) Nothing is ever wasted. Every experience enhances us and educates us, but it may be a while before we need to draw on that knowledge; 2) If something really matters to you, make time for it. Thirty minutes a day devoted to it can make a tremendous difference down the road and it will keep you from regretting not having taken the time; and 3) Sometimes what happens is your fault and sometimes it is, quite simply, what it is. You need to know the difference and not beat yourself up when you didn't create the circumstance. As for the ones that you had a hand in, learn from them and move forward. 

Interestingly, the characters in ANNABELLE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND can't move forward successfully. I wish I could have helped them but that wasn't my job. My job was to write their stories, not write what I wanted their stories to be.

Your short story ANNABELLE is about a young woman caught between her desire for love and feelings of guilt. Although I haven't read the story yet, I can so relate. What is your understanding of guilt and what is the healthiest way to deal with it? 

There are so many kinds of guilt. The guilt when we did wrong and knew better, the guilt we feel when we failed to do something to the standard we hold ourselves (and sometimes that standard is impossibly high), the guilt that comes when we blame ourselves for what someone else has done. 

The healthiest way to deal with it? I suppose it depends on whether the guilt is truly ours to bear. If it is, make restitution in some fashion. If it isn't, then understand that you are not to blame and let it go. In any case, if it becomes all-consuming and overwhelming, get some kind of professional help. Sometimes we need someone on the outside to give us permission to let go of the guilt burden we bear. 

I love what you call your "Rut-Busting" workshops. Can you elaborate on what "rut-busting" entails? 

"Rut-busting" is all about digging out of the rut we have created for ourselves--the bad habits, the non-productive tendencies, those mind-trails that our brains run on--and getting back on the right track. It's about making a choice, making a decision to act on that choice and then actually doing it. People get stuck at different stages: they don't know what they want, they know but they are afraid to pursue it, they get brave enough to take the first step but then don't know what to do next, or they run into a roadblock and can't figure out how to handle it. 

When I do my workshops, I encourage people to identify their strengths and abilities--their tools for breaking out of their ruts--because if they don't believe they have what it takes, no one else can get them unstuck. 

Okay, now let's get personal, okay?  Coffee or tea? 

Coffee, but pathetically weak coffee. What my friends refer to as, "brown water." With almond milk and sugar. 

Do you have any pets? 

Well, three cats live in my house but I hesitate to refer to them as my "pets" since if they read this, they will be so offended and hairballs will appear on my pillow and in my shoes. 

I have a couple of adorable chipmunks (outside) that I feed--not technically my pets but they make my day when they show up which is why I buy 10 pounds of peanuts for them on a regular basis. And then there are the squirrels, the birds, the rabbits--all wildlife all inhabitants of my garden. (Once there was also a groundhog but, cute as he was, he had to be relocated since he chose to burrow right next to my house's foundation. Bad move, big boy!)

Do you have a pet peeve? 

Lord yes! Lots of them, probably. People who assume that the "Yield" sign on the entrance ramp is just a suggestion. People who toss trash out their car windows. Those are the only two I can think of right now but I am sure there are more. 

Where is the most exotic place you've traveled? 

I've never been anywhere that I would call exotic but one of my favorite places to go is Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco. When I make my first million, I am moving there. And of course the entire Pacific Coast Highway. I've driven most of it a couple of times and I love it. 

What are your writing plans for the future? 

To stay focused on fiction. That has always been my passion and after an unexpected health scare a couple of years back, I decided that there was no time like the present to get myself back on track. So I started submitting my stories, got some accepted, and then this past year, Pixel Hall Press chose to publish ANNABELLE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND in ebook format.

Next summer, TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER my entire short story collection, will be released in both book and ebook format through PHP, a decade after THE GIFTS OF CHANGE was released. I also have a novel titled FINDING FRAN ready for an agent and/or publisher and several more novels at various stages. 

I also want to continue teaching workshops at writing conferences which I really enjoy. And of course as I continue setting aside time to write, I must continue my "work writing"--primarily copy-writing for ad agencies. It's very satisfying in a different, left-brain way and I feel good about pleasing my clients.

Nancy Christie: Writer
The Writer's Place
Finding Fran: The Work Behind the Work 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for a very interesting and enlightening interview! I like the term "rut-busting." I can see the need for that in my own life.

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  2. I really get that need for rut-busting. Even though I've taught good writing habits to students for years, when I started to get serious about writing again, I ironically found that I am not the best practicer of what I preach in the writing arena ;) I also agree that no experience is a wasted experience.

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