Inside the Writer’s Studio with Lori Culwell

The internet is a big, sprawling playground.  The changes of bumping into someone you know seem to be miniscule. Imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox a few weeks ago and found an email from author and PR maven, Lori Culwell. I had read one of Lori’s books years ago because a friend had passed it along to me as encourage to get off our duffs and get to writing.

Lori  is the founder and president of Get Creative, an internet consulting firm whose clients include Johnson & Johnson and Apple among others. She has contributed to Salon.com and the San Francisco Bay Guardian and divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.

After I gushed about how much I loved her work, Lori kindly offered to do a Writer’s Studio feature with us (and also two of her books for me to review). Learn more about the secrets behind this indie’s publishing success.

 

1.   What is your one piece of must know advice for aspiring writers
My one piece of advice for aspiring writers is:  write every day.   You’re only going to get better if you practice.   Aim for 2,000 words a day, that way when you get your book deal and have to deliver a 50,000 word novel, you won’t freak out and get writer’s block.  Writing is like running –if you do it all the time, it’s no big deal, but if you put it off, it hurts!
2.  Is there an unforgettable lesson you learned from writing this book you wouldn’t know otherwise about fiction?
During the writing of this book, I learned the value of the peer group.   My first novel (Hollywood Car Wash) was written pretty much all in one shot (it was a NaNoWriMo book, actually), but “The Dirt” evolved over several years and was the result of the input of some awesome people who are my friends and readers.   I think writers (or really, all creative types) should have a group of friends/ trusted readers who can say things like “This plot point makes no sense” without hurting your feelings.   Trust me, it is way better to hear stuff like that from supportive people who you know like your work rather than later on in your Amazon reviews.  :)
3.  Any challenges for you as you wrote and published this book?
This book stopped and started several times, actually.  It was written several years ago, then the deal it was supposed to be part of fell through, so I put it aside for awhile so I could get over my angry feelings about it.   Then I got together with my fabulous friend and publishing partner (and now co-author on another book) Katherine Sears at Booktrope, she liked my novel, and she brought “The Dirt” back to life.  I was glad to get it out and start working on it again and get it out there.   I think that’s another good lesson– remember, there’s always a home for a story, sometimes it’s just a matter of timing.  So, keep writing and be patient!
4.  How would you start your next project? 
I write all the time (on my blog Funny Strange.net, on BookPromotion.com, and on LoriCulwell.com), and the writing I do now is mostly non-fiction, just computer stuff and helping people with their social media and their websites, which I think is really awesome and fun.  For fiction projects, I don’t have one going at the moment, though people have been requesting the sequel to “The Dirt” so I might have to take that one up soon.
5. Anything else you want to readers to know?
 I want readers who are also writers to know that there has never been a better time to be a writer!   Even five years ago, there was so much stigma around self-publishing, and now it’s like, the norm to do.   I’m so happy about that!  I work with agents, authors, and publishers every day, and it’s amazing how many self-published authors there are out there who are making real money.  Believe me, publishers are jealous, and they know you don’t need them anymore!   So, write, publish, get yourself out there with a website and some social media.  Take yourself seriously!!
Oh, and if readers have questions about their websites/ social media, feel free to ask me.  I’m always around!   www.loriculwell.com or @loriculwell on Twitter.
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Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. She is an award winning writer of novels, memoir and academic books. Check them out Amazon.com author page

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