How long have you been writing? Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
I have been writing since I first learned how to do it – I remember making up my own story book in kindergarten and drawing pictures to go along with the story. Ever since then, I’ve kept journals, written stories and, when the Internet made it possible, maintained a blog. It is always something that I’ve wanted to do and will continue to do for the rest of my life.
What books or stories have you written?
I’ve got a huge back log of partial work (mostly novels I’m in the process of writing), but I do have several short stories completed. You can find the very first short story that I ever submitted for publication on my blog.
I’ve also been published in the Mountain Valley News, a local, weekly newspaper based in Cedaredge, Co. My claim to fame there is writing the front page lead story a few years back. My official job title at the newspaper was Office Manager, but occasionally I got to write a story or two, which was a lot of fun.
What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?
One of the hardest things that I’ve had to overcome as a writer trying to be published is my fear of rejection. It takes a lot of guts to put something that you’ve spent time crafting out into the publishing world, and if you expect to be published immediately, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s sometimes easier just to write for yourself, share it with your friends and family or post it on your blog, rather than send your precious words out into the world where they might be ignored, or worse yet, rejected.
In all the years that I’ve been writing, I’ve learned that persistence, patience and practice do indeed pay off. As for rejection? Just because my work isn’t what one publisher might be looking for, there are plenty of other publishers out there. And I’m not afraid to go the self-publishing route in the future.
The publishing world is full of opportunities. As a writer, you only have to choose what you want to take advantage of and then go for it!
Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
Yes! Read and write every day! Reading keeps you thinking, learning and using your imagination. Writing does the same. If you make it a habit to both read and write every day, you will be on the right track to perfecting your writing and getting published.
Inspiration for me comes from just about anywhere. I read a lot, which keeps my imagination fired up and churning out ideas. I like to ask myself “What if?” a lot. I have a file on my computer specifically for those questions. Then I build on them – start asking more questions. Finally, I start answering those questions, and viola! I’ve got a shiny new idea ready to be researched and written up.
As for life lessons, I don’t necessarily use them as the source of inspiration, but I definitely try to incorporate them into my writing when it’s appropriate.
Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
Writing, for me, has so many benefits, and I think it can be beneficial for anyone who needs a creative outlet or just an outlet, period.
Writing helps me better communicate my ideas. I’m not big on public speaking, but give me a corner of cyberspace and a virtual audience, and I’m not afraid to be on stage.
Writing helps me organize my thoughts. It also helps me get things out of my head, understand myself and my emotions, and work through any problems that I need to solve.
Writing is also an escape. It’s a lot of fun to sit down at the keyboard and just see where a story takes me. If I ever need some time “away,” it’s as easy as sitting down in front of my computer and starting to write.
Has writing made you a better person? Was there a point in your life where writing helped you deal with something, a death or a problem relationship perhaps?
Oh, most definitely! Writing has helped me deal with so many things in life. It’s the best and cheapest form of therapy I could ever recommend to anyone. I’ve worked through the death of my father, an abusive relationship, issues with jobs, problems with friends – you name it – I’ve worked it out through writing. Because of writing, I’ve been better able to understand myself, which makes me better able to understand other people. I‘m a better person because of writing, no doubt about it!
Family seems to be very important to you Marie. Can you talk more about them and how they’ve helped you in your path as a writer?
My family is very important to me. I spent about nine years in Colorado, and we were pretty much scattered across the states at that time – my sister and her family are still in PA, but I just moved to AZ last February to be closer to my mother and brother. It seems so weird that I’ve almost been living here a whole year. It definitely doesn’t seem like it.
My family has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. They’ve supported me through every phase of my writing (including the bad, angst-filled poetry stage I went through as a teenager.) Even when I dropped out of college the first time, scoffing at an education (“I don’t need a college degree to be a novelist!”), they supported my decision.
My father was working on a novel before he died. He only got several chapters done, and I keep revisiting it thinking that one day I would like to finish it for him. It was high fantasy, and that hasn’t been my genre for a while, but I want to finish it and publish it to honor his memory. I will do that someday — right now I’m more concerned about finishing school and getting my own writing under control. 🙂
About Marie Patchen
Marie Patchen is an aspiring novelist, future librarian, and sporadic grammar Nazi. She spends her spare time wrangling zombie unicorns and playing “Where’s Waldo?” with her Muse, which is frequently and currently AWOL. She can be found kicking about the Internet on her blog and on Twitter. She is currently in the process of perfecting the art of procrastination, but she keeps putting it off.