BIW Member Interview
Shelly Hines is the owner/writer of All the Write Words. She has been writing for over twenty years with the past eight being on a full-time, professional basis in grant proposals and copywriting. She also writes both non-fiction and fiction projects on the side, with her most recently completed project being an e-book, The Free Money Myth: The Truth About Getting Grants. Shelly has written for small start-up and mid-sized businesses as well as several non-profit organizations. Her experience in copywriting includes brochures, newsletters, grant and business proposals, annual reports, flyers, ads, websites, and scripts. Shelly lives in the beautiful Northwest, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with her husband and two children.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Shelly Hines: I’d like to say I am one of those people who “knew” since a very young age that I wanted to be a writer. But, I don’t think I was that self-aware growing up. Sure, as a kid I loved books and reading, and I had a strange passion for both book stores and office supply stores. I even started writing poetry and little stories by the time I was six, but it wasn’t until right out of high school that I realized I was going to be a writer. I literally woke up one morning and decided I was going to write a novel. I felt guided to do this. Of course, that novel was never finished, but I still have the dream of completing one and I am still following this life path, writing every day. I guess writing always came natural to me, so it was just a natural flow to go in that direction.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing.
Shelly Hines: Geez, only three? I’ve been writing for over twenty years and I am continuously learning new things about this crazy, wonderful pursuit! But, if I have to stick with three, I’d say the lessons learned are:
1. While there are plenty of rules to writing and publishing, don’t ever let those rules override your heart and passion for your writing and your own way of seeing things. Sure, you should consider what your editor, critic, colleague, or friend says about your writing project, but in the end listen to your heart and do what you feel is right for the writing. Remain true to it and your vision.
2. Don’t talk about your project before it is in draft form at least! When you talk about it before you put it on paper you lose your passion for the idea. The idea no longer needs to be expressed in the written form because it has been expressed verbally. It’s the release of the energy, I guess. I just know I’ve made this mistake often enough to see that this really does happen!
3. Everything becomes so much more interesting when you should be writing! Chores that you hate doing can no longer wait! Cleaning the bathroom, reorganizing the closets, changing the cat litter – even the nastiest and most time consuming chores can seem so much more fun! It really is a weird phenomenon. Do your best to not give into it until after you’ve done your writing!
Moe: What are you working on now?
Shelly Hines: A lot of things! Seems like I’m always working on three or four projects all at once. Since my regular, full-time job is writing, and I have several clients on the side, I am usually working on several grant applications or other copy at any given time. I also recently started a blog for my freelance writing business. I am in the process of editing my newest e-book, “102 Ways to Inspire Your Muse,” that is full of different tricks and exercises for the “resistant writer.” Once I’ve completed that project I hope to start back up on one of my numerous in-process novels, or maybe work on a picture book idea or two I have been toying with, or maybe another e-book…
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?
Shelly Hines: No, I don’t really. Since I do a lot of different types of writing, I don’t have one straight across the board. I have several favorites for fiction writing (covering at least two genres), a couple for non-fiction writing, and several more for copywriting and marketing. I guess for the “process” of writing as a whole, it would have to be Stephen King’s, On Writing.
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing website?
Shelly Hines: There are so many really good websites out there for writers. I guess I would have to pick the one that comes to my mind first, which is the most obvious one: Writer’s Digest. I still receive the paper magazine, but I find their website to be very useful with writing-related tips and articles that cover all types and genres of writing.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Shelly Hines: When I started BIW numerous years ago, I set fairly modest goals and still couldn’t seem to make them. While it probably took me a good year or so to reach it, one month I did. And then that was it. Once I had met that, say 25 page goal, I broke the barrier and I consistently got beyond that each time after. Now I can typically write at least 75 pages in a BIW week. So, while it may take a while, you will eventually reach your goal if you stick with it! Then each goal after that will be easier to achieve.