BIW Member Interview
Sandy Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri, where she can see the Gateway Arch and smell the beer from Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Sandy’s article about Izzie appeared in Animal Wellness Magazine. Also in residence is Avery, a Cairn/Yorkie mix and Avery’s five cats. Avery does allow Sandy to feed, clean up after and provide veterinary care for her cats. Avery has generously offered to be Sandy’s model stand-in. She thinks she looks very “artsy” in her red John Lennon sunglasses.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Sandy Murphy: When I think back to being a kid, I remember three Omens of the Future. I had a toy truck, mostly to haul stuff around in – you should see the back end of my station wagon today. All my dolls were high fashion; my sister had the baby dolls. Here we are years later, I have a degree in retail management and she has four kids. Most importantly, I loved yellow legal pads and ink pens.
I didn’t know what to write but felt it was important to be ready when the idea came. In the back of the car now are a pack of twelve yellow legal pads and a box of pens. I’m still ready. Thankfully, the ideas are too.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
1. Don’t agonize over every word. Your writing will sound pompous instead of readable.
2. Reading out loud is the best way for me to edit. If I stumble, the reader will too. Joining a writer’s group where the other members compliment first, critique second, was an enormous help as they zero in on the real story to be found in the pile of words I’ve written.
3. Writing is a job. There are some days where everything goes wrong, some days when I am brilliant, and a lot of days that are productive but ordinary. Celebrate the brilliant days, use the bad days to write a humorous piece and the ordinary days to keep moving forward.
Moe: What are you working on now?
Sandy Murphy: I have a lot of articles either ready to be submitted or in need of polishing so that is a goal for the next few months. I started writing non-fiction, mostly about my dog Izzie and her long illness. Fiction didn’t seem to work for me at that time. Now I have a murder mystery story that may grow into a book and I’m very excited to work on that piece.
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?
Sandy Murphy: I like Patricia L. Fry’s books on writing. I met her at a book fair here in St Louis a few years ago. She showed me I had articles to write, I bought A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles and The Successful Writer’s Handbook and have been writing ever since.
Moe: What is your favorite writing website?
Sandy Murphy: There are several sites I like but I always make time to read Patricia Fry’s blog. There’s so much good information there in a very easy to read style.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Sandy Murphy: I find knowing BIW starts on Monday, ideas start coming over the weekend. I can either let them pile up to use on Monday or start writing on Saturday. I tried waiting until Monday but then the first excitement of the idea has worn off. I’ve met my goal faster and easier when I’ve started working with those ideas on the weekend. It gives me momentum as one idea generates another. Before I know it, the week is over and I have written a whole lot of words! Some are not so hot, some are just brilliant, and a lot are ordinary – but saleable.