This month, I am so excited to introduce you to my dear friend and fellow author, Cindy Lynn Speer. Cindy writes wonderful short and long fiction, mostly fantasy and murder mystery inspired by fairy tale and myth. When she’s not busy doing those, she is active in her local chapter of Society of Creative Anachronism, where she makes beautiful period clothing and is an active fencer. You can visit her at www.apenandfire.com.
Cindy, how would you describe yourself as an author?
I’ve been telling stories all my life. I love words, and tales, and I enjoy stringing them together to create something that makes people happy. And that’s about all.
Have you ever felt like you were “in the zone” while you were writing? Can you describe what that’s like for you?
It’s wonderful. Everything clicks along. You know that feeling when you’re reading a wonderful book and you’re lost in the world and you can’t stop? It’s the same for me. There’s nothing like it.
So many creative people have trouble with the word “artist,” because they feel that it only belongs to very famous, accomplished artists. How easy is it for you to call yourself an artist? Was it hard for you in the past? What made it more comfortable?
There was a huge discussion a few years back about the difference between being a writer and an author. I think it’s an important distinction in some ways, not because authors should be all snobby over being lucky enough to be published, but because when I write, I could always say, “I am a writer…I put words down on paper and make sentences that become stories. No one can take that away from me because I’ve not published.” When I became a published author, I realized that I could then call myself an author…that it was a mark of achievement that no one could take away from me, no matter how I got published. Small press, self published, big publisher…anyone who is published is an author.
So that goes into art. I always was able to recognize myself as an artist because I knew, always, what I was.
A lot of us want to work on a creative project, but then resist actually doing it—and there are as many responses to that resistance as there are creative souls. Do you have any tips for those who struggle to get to their creative projects?
Nibble away. A book is a huge thing, isn’t it? But when you break it down, it’s just words. It’s the same thing with any art…it’s just brush strokes, it’s just notes. I think everyone should take a time and make it their own, every day, to create something, but that’s not always possible, and the end of the project seems so huge and far away…so just take it a little bit at a time. Do what you can. Then stop. Then the next day, do what you have time or inspiration for. And every day, it’ll get better. It’s also how I deal with feeling overwhelmed or when I’m procrastinating…I just do a bit. 100 words is 100 words closer to done.
Are there any other creative dreams you hope to get to someday?
I would like to write screen plays or comics. Those are mediums that tell stories in vastly different ways…the idea of how you depend on someone else to bring your words to life is both scary and fascinating. I think you’d have to learn to let go a little, and I think it would help me grow as a writer.
Having written a short play that’s been produced, I can say there’s definitely a big difference between being master of your universe and having others interpreting your words, that’s for sure! (I didn’t expect how much I’d have to let go, certainly.) Thanks so much for sharing your process with us!