Friday, August 14, 2009

Dog Days of Summer: Melody on Contests & Authors to Emulate


I asked this week's Dog Days guest, Melody Dawn McClarty (an aspiring author with multiple books of poetry soon to be released) if she'd ever tried any writing contests and what her thoughts on contests are...

Actually that’s something new for me and something that I have only started really looking into this year. I am very cautious about such things because there are a lot of problems out there I have found for authors (especially new ones).

To me the writing contests aren’t as important as learning the craft and trade. It’s all about finding your own voice and polishing it to the best of your ability. I am currently participating in a few local writing contests at the Chautauqua Writing Center held at Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York.

When I asked Melody which author or authors she'd most like to be like, she said:

There a lot of really really fantastic authors out there but what I want to do most is aspire to find my own style and perfect it.

For me it would have to be a recipe of talent. If I had to choose – it would be a combination of George Lucas, Micheal Crichton, Terry Brooks, J. K. Rowling, Dan Brown and Barbara Cartland with maybe just a dash of Stephen King to give it a totally wild kick.

(Definitely an interesting mix!)

For every author we've interviewed here this summer, I've asked them to try and identify what their strengths are as writers. I firmly believe tapping into your strengths and harnessing them will get you the opportunities you most desire as a writer. Melody answered my question with:

My creativity is definitely my strength.

My cup runneth over with ideas sometimes but this is also my weakness too. Staying focused long enough to make something coherent out of something.

It’s taken me a long time but I have learned the hard way how to discipline myself. I also thinks its important to give yourself daily goals that aren’t so impractical as to being out of reach. Don’t do anything that is gonna leave room for discouragement. A friend once said to me that she only really became a writer when she mastered the martial art of parking her butt in a chair and staying there. But I also had to learn to be flexible too. I’m a stay at home mom with 3 children. A lot of things happen around here on the fly.

(Ah yes, Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Butt In Chair-Itsu--the main disciplines of the martial arts field! :-) Seriously, the commitment to write--to stay focused, productive and forward-thinking might as well be a martial art--and self-defense strategy when you are struggling as an author.

Leave Melody a comment here--wishes on success and continued growth as a writer and check out her website: MelodyDawnMcClarty.com . Commenting automatically enters you in our weekling drawing for free books! Join us tomorrow when Melody shares the most important advice she's gotten as a writer so far!

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