Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
This week Glynnis Whitwer is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Glynnis book, I Used to Be So Organized, leave a comment on this post! Also, if you missed my interview with Glynnis earlier this month – you can listen here or find it here on iTunes as a free download.
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I’ve been married to my husband Tod for 28 years. We have five children, ages 14 to 20. Our family is unique in that we have three biological children – all boys ages 16, 18 and 20. Then God added two little girls to our family 6 years ago and they are 14 and 16 now.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I have a degree in journalism and public relations, but I never did pursue reporting. I wrote professional marketing and PR copy for 10 years until God called me to Proverbs 31 Ministries. Since then, I’ve focused on devotional and non-fiction.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I always loved to write, but not stories or journals like most people. I loved school reports. Weird, huh? I was voted outstanding English student one year at my junior college, which confirmed my love of writing to communicate and educate. I never dreamed of being a published author until my friend Lysa TerKeurst got published. Then God started planting a seed in me.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
I first started writing devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Our subscriber list grew quickly, so it wasn’t long before we had 10,000 daily readers. We now have over 500,000, so God has blessed that endeavor. But for my own writing, it took three years to find a publisher for my first book. And in that time, God expanded my knowledge base so it was a good wait.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I have to eliminate distractions when I’m home. No music, tv or children around. Thankfully, I work at home so I have most of the day when my children are at school. But my best writing happens when I go somewhere else … like Starbucks or Barnes and Noble. Just being in another environment allows my mind to stop worrying about my emails, laundry or the doggies who just beg me to stop and love on them.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
The biggest help with my first book was my writing group. Each member added a unique perspective that helped me see my writing from new eyes. Since then, the biggest help has been dissecting what doesn’t work in the many articles I see as an editor. I pick apart bad writing, identify what they did wrong, then try and rework it.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
Well, I don’t think I really live the “writer’s life.” I consider myself an atypical writer … I’ve never kept a diary, I don’t journal and I don’t think I would “die” if I don’t write. I’m much more passionate about the message than the process of writing. So for me, writing is just a vehicle to communicate God’s truths.
What are your biggest distractions?
In addition to writing, I’m also an editor. So my biggest distractions from my own writing is work.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
The best moment happened this summer when a woman came up to me at She Speaks (the P31 writer’s and speaker’s conference) and told me my latest book changed her life. This book is “I Used to Be So Organized” but it’s more than just an organization book, as I deal with spiritual principles as well. That really blessed me. The worst moment was also one of the best. The first time I submitted to an agent she rejected me and said, “You are good, but you aren’t outstanding.” That hurt, but it motivated me to pursue a greater level of excellence.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
I don’t like it when I don’t have any ideas. That’s a horrible feeling. My favorite thing is when God floods me with inspiration.
What advice would you give to new writers?
My advice to new writers is to learn the craft of writing, starting with the basics, such as sentence and paragraph construction. Start with the smallest parts of writing and build on that. I like books on writing or any kind of seminar or conference. The more you can educate yourself the better.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Do you want a more organized and peaceful life, but can’t get it together? “I Used to Be So Organized” will help you understand the reasons why and give you a plan for regaining control.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I’m working on two new ideas, and I’m not sure which one I’ll present first. One involves taking old fashioned homemaking and time management principles and applying them to our lives today. The other involved helping people be free from clutter.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
I love referring people to Proverbs 31 first, since all proceeds from my book sales benefit the ministry. But then, I’m also available on Amazon or any other book site.
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)