This is a special National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, edition of Innovative Editing’s Author of the Month program.
Usually, this platform simply highlights engaging writers who deserve to stand out for their skills and/or messages as presented in fiction or non-fiction, whether self-published or traditionally published. And that description certainly fits Phyl Campbell. But it just so happens that she comes to us at the perfect time…
Right when all of us crazy writers need a little sympathy-reading to let us know we’re not alone.
And here’s a bonus incentive to put NaNoWriMo in its proper place like a book on your bookshelf. If you'd like to be considered for an upcoming Author of the Month spot – or if you have a story idea burning a hole in your brain – I’d truly love to hear from you! Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with details about you and your book.
Let’s make this happen!
November’s Author of the Month: Phyl Campbell
Featured Title: I’m Not Writing a Book Today
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Appropriate: Age 6+
Bio: I, Phyl Campbell, am a creative writing instructor and author in my own write (I mean right!). I am creator and coordinator of the Make-a-Book classes. I’m also the author of my own books such as A Muse Meant, #25 Reasons, and I’m Not Writing a Book Today, available on Amazon.com and at i-ron-ic. Visit www.Phylcampbell.com or Facebook to learn more about my writing – and how you can create a children’s book or chapter book yourself!
Jeannette: Since this is my blog, I can break the rules here. Instead of introducing you right away, Phyl, I’m going to ramble on for a second or two about how brilliant you are.
When I approached you in October about filling the November Author of the Month spot with I’m Not Writing a Book Today, your response was something along the lines of, “Of course! That would be the perfect book for National Novel Writing Month!”
That absolutely floored me. I didn’t even come close to making that association, yet you’re so exceptionally right. This is the perfect reading material for NaNoWriMo.
And now I’m going to shut up and let you explain why. Please tell all the frantic NaNoWriMo-ers and lazy non-NaNoWriMo-ers (like me) out there… What is I’m Not Writing a Book Today all about?
Phyl: It’s exactly what it says. It’s about all the things a creative mind can do to NOT write a story. I call it the Procrastinator’s Handbook.
Jeannette: That’s awesome. Totally not relevant for me, of course. I never procrastinate. But I’m sure it’s perfect for all the mere mortal writers out there.
What inspired you to write this “Procrastinator’s Handbook”? I imagine the answer somehow connects with what you do for a living.
Phyl: Right. I teach young people to write and publish. The first group I taught met during the summer, one day a week. And for the other six days, their parents thought their budding writers would be tied to their laptops and quiet. But their kids still wanted to play, go swimming, pet pooches, and anything but work on their books.
When class time came around again, the kids were sheepish and the adults were mortified. But I’m a big procrastinator (and bigger kid) myself. So I got it. And when I wrote this book and shared it with parents, they did, too.
Jeannette: There really are just so many distractions out there, regardless of whether it’s NaNoWriMo time or just every-day ordinary time. So annoying.
Do you ever find yourself sympathizing with the protagonist in the story?
Phyl: Sympathizing? I AM the protagonist!
Jeannette: I really try to hard not to put in any “lols” in here, but you’re making that very difficult, Phyl. Way to make me unprofessional.
Okay. But you’ve written more than 10 books at this point. So clearly, you’re not that bad of a procrastinator. How do you motivate yourself when there are so many “someone else’s” stories to read and dogs to feed and life in general to deal with?
Phyl: I spend a lot of time not writing. I smell the roses, play the Facebook games, do all the things. But at the end of the day (and day might be a day or a week or a month), I itch to share my own stories. And I know I can’t do that without writing them down and polishing them up a bit until they’re ready to be shared.
Jeannette: You just laid out three critical parts of publishing a book in that response: writing it, editing it and sharing, or publishing, it. But then there’s the “after” phase, of course.
How do you handle getting the word out about your work? All that fun marketing stuff?
Phyl: I use social media to spread the word when I’ve published something new, and I visit groups and read my stories aloud. But I’m not very good at promoting. I’m focused on building up my catalogue and teaching classes. Maybe someday, I’ll make enough from teaching that I can hire people to sell my books for me. Or maybe one day, I’ll quit procrastinating.
Jeannette: Eh. I can normally motivate myself well enough to write or edit. I usually can’t get enough of those parts. They suit my happy little hermit personality. But when it comes to marketing, I’m all in favor of procrastinating.
With that said, let’s get the word out there for you! Especially for any NaNoWriMo contestants who need a little encouragement that stories can happen – eventually. This might be a children’s book, but it’s one of those children’s books that are bound to make adults smile too.
Where can people find you as an author and as a writing coach for their brilliant little authors-in-the-making?
Phyl: I teach classes at GUSA by Victoria and Rustic Cup, both in York County, PA. As my schedule permits, I also teach privately, including online. So writers (or their parents) can contact me by email or through my Creative Writing and Publishing Workshop Facebook page.
Jeannette: Phyl, thanks so much!
Writers, be sure to buy I’m Not Writing a Book Today for yourself or your kids… then get back to NaNoWriMo-ing!