Thursday, May 08, 2014
On Tour With Lori Soard
Today I have a guest blogger, Lori Soard. Lori is one of the first writers I met online. I love that she is always willing to share her knowledge of writing.
Why I Started Writing
People often ask me when I first knew I wanted to be a writer, but the answer really isn’t an easy one. You see, I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t hearing stories, reading stories and living out stories. Sometimes I wonder if I could have been anything other than a writer.
My mother and father were big on storytelling. From the time I was a baby, they would read to me and tell me bedtime stories. Probably even more influential was my mother’s family. They were from Appalachia and when we would visit, they would all sit around and tell stories about family, people they knew, and things that happened in the mountains. Some of it was folklore, some was gossip and some was just intriguing.
I always loved my Barbie dolls and my mom would have Guiding Light and Dark Shadows (the 70s version) playing in the background. My mother never stifled my creativity. She didn’t care if I made a huge mess creating a Barbie house out of books and knick knacks. Instead, she would help me figure out how to make a bed for my Barbies, what to use for a table and so on. I would fill up my room with a house with book walls and furniture and she never said a word. I realize now that most moms would have freaked out over this mess.
My Barbies lived out some pretty dramatic moments, even in those early years. As an only child, these dolls were often my only companions. The hours I spent coming up with the stories of their lives helped me learn to live in a make believe world and come up with a plot that worked.
My dad and I had a tradition every night. He would come and tell me a story about Geraldine Giraffe. Good old Geraldine was always getting into some sort of trouble. The stories were hilarious and always ended with the other animals helping Geraldine out. I am putting some of these into a book now and I’m so excited about it. As I got a little older, he would ask me to add to the story and would let me tell him stories.
He had also read somewhere that studying vocabulary makes kids smarter, so we would play a game with words out of Reader’s Digest. He would say the word and I would guess the meaning and then we’d learn the real meaning. It was a bit like the game Balderdash, but without points or competition.
Learning to Read
I can remember my first grade teacher so vividly. Mrs. Young was everything that Mrs. Deerman (my mean and cranky kindergarten teacher) wasn’t. She was kind, encouraging and she loved books. She taught us how to sound out words and how to string them together and read sentences. She loved the written word and it came through in her teaching. She made me fall in love with it, too.
She encouraged me to read books that were challenging and was my cheerleader when I finished them. I don’t think I ever stopped reading after finishing that first book. I still love to read today. One of my favorite things is to discover a new author I’ve not read before. Right now, I am reading a book by one of my writer friends, Becky McGraw. I’ve recently read Richard Paul Evans, Karen Kingsbury and I am getting ready to read a book by John Green. My reading is very eclectic.
The Light Bulb Moment
As you can probably tell from my childhood, I grew up reading, listening to stories, making up stories and eventually writing round robin stories with my best friends in high school (we would each add a little and exchange between classes). I had always journaled, always written short stories, already lived in my own world, which family and friends affectionately call “Lori La La Land”. However, it never occurred to me you could make money writing. I was in college to get an English teaching degree. I had to take some electives and thought I’d take some journalism classes because they seemed related. Our first assignment was to find a local business, write an article answering “Who, What, Where, When and Why” and submit it to our local newspapers.
I wrote an article about a local exotic farm. It was so much fun. I also adore animals and I got to go to this man’s farm in Greenfield, where I was living. It was “Skunk” Irving, founder of Irving Materials (a concrete company). I didn’t realize just how important he was to be honest. I was young and green and fascinated with the llamas. He was wonderful to me. Answered all my questions, posed for photos. A friend of his also had camels and worked with me to answer questions and take photos.
I completed my assignment and sent it to our local newspaper, assuming it would never see the light of day. They called me and wanted to know if they could print it and they would pay me $25. I was ecstatic. Publish it and pay me? Heck yeah! Yes, I was very green.
The next week, the article came out on the front page of the paper. It was like someone shone a light on my life. I had never thought about writing for a living. You could make money doing something this much fun? I started my first book the next day and I’ve never looked back. Today, I am a full-time writer, mixing fiction, non-fiction and business writing/promotion (websites, press releases, etc.) to make living.
Are some people meant to be writers? I think so. I think it is definitely a combination of childhood influences and interests that shape us into who we are. If writing has always been a dream of yours, what is holding you back? Even if you only write one page a day, you will have a book by the end of the year. I encourage you to follow that dream. Your life will never be the same.
Lori Soard has a PhD in Journalism but she's hardly the stuffy professor type. She enjoys writing romantic comedies, such as Finding Ms. Right, gets excited over a good comedy and has even seen one of her books turned in a Manga comic. When she isn't working on fiction, she is writing articles and designing websites.
------------ Visit my websites:
LoriSoard.com PromoDivas.com (websites, promotion, content writing, social media)