BIW Member Interview
Dawn Compton, from Bellville, TX, writes that, “Living in Texas on a ranch is my best motivation to write. My family is kept busy with many animals that my son shows at all the major state livestock shows. Since I do the hauling and dead time before the shows, my favorite place to people watch for inspiration is at the stalls. Inspiration is everywhere, we just have to slow down and see it.” Dawn lives with her husband, college junior daughter and freshman son on the ranch with numerous assorted animals.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Dawn Compton: I have always wanted to be a writer. As a youngster, I remember scraps of paper with scribbles on them. But in January 2004, I made a New Year’s resolution to submit something to a publisher. I was lucky enough to find a publisher to self publish my two children’s books in November 2004 and September 2005 respectively. The greatest blessing was finding an illustrator that was a friend of a friend who did an awesome job.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
Dawn Compton: You can’t be a writer only in your mind. You have to practice the art. I don’t do this enough and it shows. Making the time is as important as eating in some cases.
Find inspiration in groups. Friends and family that know what you do can be proud of you but groups of people with ‘the goal’ will inspire you to find the time and get the words down. I have grown so much by surrounding myself with writer’s groups and learning from them.
Be ready for ideas when they hit you. I find I am most inspired during busy times at stock shows and rodeos. Why? Because this most often is the setting for my stories. Why be ready? I am usually hit with a unique and wonderful idea but it is when my hands are full of buckets, feed or the halter of a 1200 pound steer that needs to be walked. I am considering a voice recorder! I have called and left myself a voice mail but sometimes you lose the moment.
Moe: What are you working on now?
Dawn Compton: Well, working on is the operative word. I have several children’s stories kicking around and am hoping to get them on paper in the next two months. I have about three weeks of travel to stock shows with animals and quite a bit of downtime once I am there so I am optimistic I can be productive. The novel that I submitted to 3daynovel.com was not picked. I wasn’t ‘dark’ enough for the picks so I am finishing and editing it because as God as my witness I will submit that to a publisher by May! Or I may self publish because I think (and the few readers that have seen it as well) it is worth it.
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?
Dawn Compton: Actually I don’t have a favorite because I am still reading thru all of them. Anytime someone mentions a book, I have to try it out. I’m currently reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Publishing by Jennifer Basye Sander.
Moe: What is your favorite writing website?
Dawn Compton: I get information from several websites regarding writing and children’s writing. But you know, I love Children Come First. They have a monthly contest that is free to enter. The contest gives you the first line and you have to come up with a story within 200 words. Winners are posted on their website but I try to do it monthly because it challenges me.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Dawn Compton: My tip is none other than to find a way to BIC HOK TAM. Find some way to get that done. Oh, and remember to post your totals ‘cause Moe doesn’t let you slide!