How did your family and friends feel when they heard you were writing?
HAPPY! Since I was a little kid, my nickname has been “Motor Mouth.” They were happy I’d be quiet for a bit and put some of the thoughts in my head down on paper instead of constantly into their ears. 😉
How long have you been writing?
I have always loved to write and studied as a Communications major at Vanderbilt University where I learned all different ways to use words (from public speaking to poetry to lyricism.)
When I left school, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to “be” so I became a Communications Consultant, which brought even more forms of writing into my life. My favorite form was creating wellness campaigns that helped adults “look inside” and find aha moments to change their life. When I met my stepkids in 2007, I decided to leave Corporate America to use my skills with campaigns to bring wellness to children through stories and activities. I love it.
Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
JUST DO IT!
Do not hold back because of fear of rejection. Know that rejection will come, but so will acceptance! There is no way on this planet to make everyone happy, but because there are so many people out there, others will love your writing just as much as you do!
And please, do not judge yourself by the commercial success of your writing. If you are brave enough to put your art in the hands of others, you ARE a success!
What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?
I self-published because my books were meant as a gateway to my company. The books offer positive lessons for kids, and the company has fun activities to reinforce these lessons.
Whether self-publishing or looking for a publisher, know things can go very slowly. Don’t get down on yourself or your work. Persistence and patience – and faith – are key.
Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
Absolutely. We all have so many thoughts in our heads. Writing is a wonderful way to learn more about who you are and the way your mind works. Whether writing in a personal journal or with the purpose of sharing your work with others, getting your thoughts out on paper is hugely therapeutic.
Has writing made you a better person?
100 percent. When I was a Communications Consultant, I wrote to help others better their health and finances. As a children’s book author, I write to teach kids to respect themselves, others and their planet (and hopefully make them laugh!). I truly hope I am helping others with my work.
As a person, writing has helped me get through many tough times. I often find when I’m down, if I put my feelings on paper and read them back to myself, I am able to more clearly understand what I’m feeling and more quickly “get over it.” As I read what I’ve written, it puts things into better perspective, and often times, when I delete what I’ve written, the negative emotions go into the trash with the written words!
Was there ever a point in your life where you felt like giving up because nobody understood you? How did you overcome this time in your life?
Many, many times. I aim to take accountability for misunderstandings I encounter and learn more about the others so I can present my thoughts in a different manner. If I do this in an empathetic and kind way and there is still a misunderstanding, I can move forward, knowing I put in my best effort with a kind heart. Life is full of different types of people, and as frustrating as it is, we simply can’t please everyone. As long as we are the best person we can be, we can look back at our experiences – even those that don’t turn out that great – with respect for ourselves.
What are your goals as a writer?
To help others find and focus more on happiness. Life is hard. There is NO question. So if in my children’s books, my company and my blogs, I can help people smile and recognize the good things they do have despite life’s obstacles, then I have succeeded.
Any new challenges you’ve had to face?
Creating my own company and writing books have been huge growth experiences for me. When I was younger, I tied how I felt about myself as a person to how “perfect” I did at tasks (be it being the best on my soccer team to getting the best performance review from a superior). If things were any less than perfect, I was devastated with whom I was as a person and treated myself as a failure. It was a black and white existence. The growth of my company and the sales of my books have been slow. If I tied how I felt about myself to these facts, I would be shattered. I have learned to look at the things I have done – having the guts to start a company and write books – as successes and be proud of myself for persevering.
Focusing on small successes and letting go of “perfectionism” has changed my life for the better in all aspects – from being a business owner to a parent to a spouse to a friend.
Check out Shannon’s author bio on Amazon, her children’s book series on Amazon, her blog with simple play ideas and fun for families, and her author website to help people laugh at themselves and give themselves a break.