What type of writing do you do? And are you traditionally published or self/indie published?
Ann: I write Non Fiction: devotionals, inspirational articles, letters, etc. I also write Short Stories, FF, and Novels that range over a number of genres: Women’s fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Mystery. So far, only my non-fiction has been published. I am hoping to be traditionally published, but will consider self-publishing.
What inspired you to begin writing?
Ann : Not what, but who? My first significant mentor was Mr. Riley, my high school creative writing teacher. I took his class during my senior year. Mr.Riley’s assignments forced me to write extensively across the range of NonFiction and Fiction. In the writing—I discovered my home, my happy place. I settled into poetry which became the mirror reflecting my day to day experiences, till—married and mother to two children, I met Jesus. I began reading the Bible, journaling, and writing NF articles. I’ve heard it said that the main difference between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee is that the water in the Dead Sea has no outlet while the water in the Galilee flows freely in and out. The more I learned about Jesus, about His love for me, and my relationship with Him, the more I listened to Him, the more the words about Him bubbled up in me. Writing became the outlet for the living water that He was pouring into me, and—it still is.
Do you schedule the time or write when the Spirit moves you?
Ann: Yes, and no, I get up early and write in the morning, first though I do a Bible study, pray and journal a meditation on the Word, and then I write 500 to 1,000 words as a way to prime the pump, to remove the extraneous fluff, to stretch my way into the writing projects I am in the midst of at the moment.These are the givens (well, plus, initially, before any of this starts, I make my bed—if my husband is up—, get a cup of coffee, and drink the first glass of water.). And then, I write as the Spirit moves me throughout the day. I am very programmed in the morning.
What are your favorite resources for writers and why?
Ann: Writers Digest and the Writer are two magazines that are filled with good tips, market guides, and author profiles. James Scott Bell is one of my favorite writing coaches. I suggest two books of his: The Art of War for Writers /fiction writing strategies, tactics, and exercises and his Revision & Self-Editing Techniques for transforming your first draft into a finished novel. Also shelved on my desk are two current market guides —Writer’s Market and The Christian Writer’s Market Guide— along with a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. One of my writing teachers, Devon Ellington, says she reads this book from cover to cover before she begins revising a novel. Right beside the Elements of Style is The Chicago Manual of Style /16th edition, and Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1949 copyright). In November there is the Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month)—a fun, madcap sprint toward 50,000 words—that has been mentioned in the newsletter before. They send informative emails all year.
When do you bring in outside help? Beta readers or street team? Editors? Book/cover designers? Marketing help?
Ann: My outside help at the moment consists of the writers I have met through ACFW Virgina and CCFW. When I finish the revision on the novel I am working on, then I will look to the other sources of help. Beta readers? Street team? Editors? etc. I am gleaning information about them and storing it away till I need it
What is your writing dream?
Ann: My dream is that everything I write will be published, read, and will make a difference somehow in someone’s life, and that through the writing / publishing process, I will have the opportunity to encourage others and help them bring their dreams to fruition.
What would you most like to share with other Christian writers?
Ann: I’m writing from the unpublished side of published. I’m in groups with wonderful writers, all much younger than me, who have published. It would be easy for me to say, “They’re the writers; I’m not.” But we can’t do that to ourselves, and they actually, would be the first to tell you that. So my definition of a writer boils down to this: A writer writes. I set my goals. I write. In the meantime, I remember that I am not the boss of me. I handed that responsibility over to God, and it is His right and privilege to interrupt my “to do” list for something on His. Blessings.
Writer, contributor to Prayers for Writers
Drawn to writing since she wrote her first poem at age seven, Ann Westerman journals daily on a variety of subjects—meditations, reflections, and prayers. She has written articles for a parenting magazine, her churches’ newsletters, and letters to the editors of magazines and local newspapers. Now she is writing stories that often are set in her beloved Tidewater Virginia where she grew up. She views the stories — the characters, the conflicts they encounter, and the choices they make —-as an evangelistic tool to share the gospel of Christ and His love for us.