Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace. My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.
Today, I am most eager to welcome Linda Leon, author of ROCK STAR MARKETING AND PUBLISHING and PUBLICITY FOR SMART PEOPLE.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?
Author Linda Leon
I have an extremely interesting life. I never wanted to be mediocre so I never set out to have mediocre goals. As a result I have done lots wonderful things. I had a career in the media for over 12 years. I produced programs and hosted my own television shows. I have been an avid radio/podcast producer. I broadcast on international short wave radio for 7 years and hosted an author’s podcast for 4 years. I started my own book marketing and author support company 8 years ago and have watched it grow (http://www.bookmarketingprofessionals.com). I have been a columnist for United Press International and a professional ghostwriter. I am also an author. My latest books, Rock Star Marketing and Publishing and Publicity for Smart People made the Amazon Best Sellers List. Every time I think about the things I have accomplished I praise God for the work the work ethic that he has given me. My entire life is wrapped up into communications in print and in broadcast.
The other aspect of my life that is more important than anything is my family. I have a wonderful, god-fearing husband, two spectacular children, and a beloved dog. The greatest thing in my life is my family. The reason that I wanted to become self-employed was so that I could spend more time with my children and navigate them through their teen years. They are now grown and it paid off.
My hobbies are writing, bike riding and cooking. I started writing professionally in the second grade. I am serious about that. My mother and second grade school teacher got me writing and nurtured my talent. They got me involved in writing competitions at an early age and I just never stopped writing.
In the area of writing I have done a spectrum of work – I have been a blogger which lead to me becoming a ghostwriter. My columns at UPI were very popular. I was loved by their editorial staff. I have written books that are religious and inspirational, I have written books on marketing, I wrote a cookbook to accompany my nutrition work and I am currently expanding into fiction writing.
Bike riding and cooking are ways that I relax. I am also a certified nutritionist and have taught cooking seminars and hosted cooking shows nationally and internationally.
1. Where do you do most of your writing?
I do most of my writing on my office desk and only at my office desk. The reason that I do it that way is because I work in my home office and it is easy to bring work into my family space. That is a draw back with working from home. When I first started working from home I worked on my office computer during the day and my lap top any time of day. I learned very quickly that is a mix for burn out. So I had to learn to separate work from family time. Now I do all the writing on my office computer that is a Mac. If I need to use a PC I use my laptop but no longer bring it out of the office.
2. Where did you get your desk?
I could not find a desk suitable for everything that I do so my husband and I built the desk. My work is part writing, marketing, communications, video and editing. I had to have a desk large enough to handle multitasking. So we built a full size work station that covers one wall. It is enough to house multiple computers, multiple hard drives, and video camera’s. It also houses a large assortment of office related items.
3. How did you go about arranging your work area?
I have a section for my organizers, scanning, video files because we create book trailers and other commercial work. I have a section for multiple computers and hard drives. Video work requires a lot of hard drive space so I have to have several storage locations. It takes a lot of work keeping up with everything on the various hard drives. You have to be very organized to manage that. Over the years I have come up with a system of organization that works.
4. What are some important things on your desk?
My hard drives and computers are the most important things on my desk. I would be lost without them. I have so much work on them. They are critical as air is to breathing. The next important area is my “Wall of Fame.” Every time a client says something nice about my work or provides a letter of recommendation I post it to my wall. It’s a very nice habit because it keeps me uplifted all year round. Whenever I have a tough day, all I need to do is look at the wall and know that people appreciate my dedication and hard work.
5. Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?
I cannot work in clutter. There are some days when the desk does get overwhelming and I have to stop and clean it up. I work better in an organized manner. I have been that way my entire life. I also love to work with the window open – no drapes or closed blinds. I love the sunlight and the view. When my kids were young I could sit in my office and work and at the same time while seeing them play in the neighborhood. I have always counted that as one of my biggest blessings – to work and be able to be a watchful mom. Occasionally I will listen to soft jazz music while I work.
6. What do you love most about your workspace?
It’s organized and its cozy. Also I love the fact that I added a lock to my office door to keep me out of the office after the end of my day. Before I added a lock to the door I would sneak back into the office and work “after hours.” That is a no-no that you must learn when you work at home. You must understand when the end of your day is and keep it that way.
7. Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?
My organizers because I can keep a tight reign on everything I do and know where to find information when I need it.
8. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?
I never drink while writing because I don’t want to risk spilling anything on the computer. I normally take a mid day break and drink water or juice. I know lots of people have coffee or tea while writing but the thought of damaging my computer overrides that.
1. Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is God. When I was a child my mother and grandmother used to read me Bible stories and they absolutely fascinated me. When I got to be an adolescent I found a modern version of the Bible written in storybook form and it got me hooked on reading the Bible. I spent hours and hours reading the stories. I found it fascinating, inspiring, and filled with adventure. Haven’t stopped reading the Bible since that time. No matter how many times you read it, you find something new. My other favorite author is Nicholas Sparks – loved The Notebook and got hooked on his style.
2. Who inspired you to write?
My mother and second grade teacher, Katherine Glass Kelly inspired me to write. I am so grateful for the input they gave me. I was in the second grade and they took my childlike skill and made such a big thing out of it that I knew I was a successful writer at that time. They made sure to keep me challenged. They put me in poetry contests and writing competitions and I excelled at them all. The power of positive affirmations for children is invaluable. You never know what they have the potential to become so speak wisely to children and encourage them. All the success I have had in life is directly related to their influence.
3. What’s your typical day as a writer like?
Extremely busy. My day is split between writing, getting business leads, working on projects, developing new writing projects and managing the video side of the business. I have very little slow periods. I am very organized. I set goals for each day. My work day is over when all the goals have been met. If it takes two hours or ten hours, it does not matter. The goal is to get everything you planned finished. I try to work on no more than 3-5 projects a day.
If it is a writing day my goal is 2000 to 4000 words. If it is a production I try to make sure that the production is completed or nearly completed. I also avoid time wasters like constantly checking email. Twice a day is normally sufficient.
I love multi- tasking. If I did not multi-task I would be lost.
4. Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?
Yes, when I start typing I don’t stop until my goal has been met. That’s the best way to be productive.
Yes. Writers should always be writing. If you constantly write you will never have writers block. You writing time should include any written correspondence. All of that keeps the mind brimming with good information. Take writers prompts from everywhere including nature. Writing about the leaves turning colors in autumn can provide great inspiration. Look around, there is always something to write about.
5. How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I will spend whatever time is needed to work on writing projects. I can write a book per week if need be. If I am doing a writing project for a book the minimum will be 10,000-12,000 words.
6. What are some of your worst writing distractions?
I am very disciplined so don’t get distracted. I do have a dog, but I think she believes she is a writer too. Sometimes she sits on my lap while I am typing. She is disciplined too. She never barks while I am working and she runs into my office every morning before I get there. When I say it’s time to go to work she leaps into action. She looks forward to our workday.
7. Why do you write?
I have a gift that has been with me since I was a child. Writing is in me. I could not live without writing. It is in everything that I do. My dear friend said to me once – hand Linda a problem and she is going to write a book. That is so true. I am constantly writing.
8. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?
If you want to write great books be a great reader and understand genre’s. I learned that by studying history. Ben Franklin was a prolific writer and they asked how did he get that skill, he said from reading. I never forgot that and began to incorporate that into my daily activities. I am constantly reading. The more I read the better writer I become.
9. How about a favorite writing quote?
Here is a favorite quote – once a task has begun, do not finish until it’s done.
That’s what my mother always said and it has served me well in life. I have instilled that in my children. If you want to be a good writer read a lot, work hard and be dedicated to learning the skills. It will pay off financially and be emotionally rewarding.
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Linda!
Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.
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