A while back, I got a direct message on Instagram, it was a writer named Michelle Schlicher, and she was asking if I was willing to read her book, and maybe if I could write a review? I was over the moon! Did an actual writer just asked me to read and review her book? This is all I want from life! Of course I replied as fast as I could; YES!!
Apparently Michelle already wrote two books: The Blue Jay and Gracie’s Song, before publishing Come This Way; the book I reviewed. On Michelle’s website I read a lot about her life as a writer, it’s a great website to browse if you are an inspiring writer like me. Michelle really lets you take a peek in her life! And it turns out those magicians called writers do live a normal life, like all of us, with kids and a husband
I’ve read Come This Way in a week, and I loved it! I decided to contact Michelle to ask her if I could ask her 5 questions. Just five because I figured she’s really busy taking care of her family and finalizing a fourth book! (she’s on a roll!).Here it goes
In what moment did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I’m not sure there was ever one moment. I have always enjoyed writing. I wasn’t the type of person who could always articulate my feelings with words. Writing made it easier for me to be comfortable with myself and with my feelings. It gave me a way to show people what I felt. I remember writing poems and journal entries when I was a kid and then, in fifth grade, I spent recesses writing with a friend of mine. We weren’t writing the same thing, but we wrote, sitting side by side. We essentially built a friendship by not talking. A lot of times, I felt like my emotions were too big for me, that I was tooemotional. Whenever I felt that way, I just picked up a pencil.
Is it hard to combine married life with kids and writing, how do you cope?
It is extremely difficult. I wrote my first book when my second daughter was around 6 months old. I’m trying to remember now how I did that. Most of it was done after they had both gone down for the night. I would write from about 8 p.m. until my youngest woke up needing to be fed. I’d never written a book before and I wasn’t sure how long it would take me, but I knew I needed to do a little every day. Some days I only got in 200 words, some days were over 2,000. No matter what, I kept going. I knew if I just wrote something, it was moving me closer to my goal. I also read a ton of writer blogs that helped motivate me. I wanted to do what they were doing so I just worked at it until I made it happen.
Now it is even harder to find that precious writing time because my girls are older (6 and 4) and they need my mental energy, not just my physical energy. By the end of the day, I am zapped. That means I have to get my writing in when they are both at school. My youngest is in preschool four days a week. It lasts two-and-a-half hours. That is my writing time now. I sit down at my desk and do what I can in that amount of time.
I’m fortunate to be at home with my kids right now. That allows me to find small bursts of time to write. If I was working full-time and taking care of my family, I would have to write at night. I’m hopeful that if I had to, I would be able to make that work, but it would definitely be hard to balance everything.
What’s your favourite book in the world?
Classic: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Contemporary: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, Out of my typical genre: Faithful Place by Tana French and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Do you already have the end of the story in mind before you write the book?
No. I don’t outline. I usually have an idea about 3/4 of the way through of how the book will end, but even then it can change. I just finished up the first draft of my fourth book. I attempted to outline the ending about halfway in. That attempt was unsuccessful. I didn’t end up using any of it! I suppose it was good to get me thinking, but I scrapped pretty much everything. The characters just went in another direction.
I’ve read you don’t force yourself to write; does it all come natural, and if so, please teach me how you do this!
It doesn’t always come naturally. What I mean when I say that I don’t force myself to write is that I don’t force myself to write all the time. While I’m in the middle of writing a book, I do force myself into “the chair” and do what I need to do to finish the story, but if I’m between books and I’m doing a lot of marketing or busy with my family, I try not to feel guilty about that. Of course I would love to be writing as much as possible, but I know that, for me, writing has peaks and valleys and that’s okay. As long as I find my way back to that writing chair eventually, I’m good.
Thank you Michelle for answering these questions so honestly and extensive!
I really admire Michelle for writing every day, even though she has a busy life. Also I am really excited about her next book! Be sure to check out Michelle’s website and her first book which is on sale this February!
Curious? Check out my Bookstagram account