The Secret Lives of Writers – Kristen Torgerson
Kristen Torgerson is a DIY-er at heart and can be found dreaming up her latest projects in Frisco, Texas with her sidekick mutt, Chewy Bear. Her favorite things include dark chocolate, long naps on the beach, and watching documentaries. Her first book, The Juice Junkie: Real Life Tips and Tricks for Juicing, shares the health benefits of juicing and her best tips to become a successful juicer. When she isn’t busy juicing and trying to become a doggy stage mom, you can find her blogging at JuiceJunkieWeb.com, and interviewing authors at AllBookCandy.com.
Table of Contents
Down the self publishing rabbit hole…
Dear readers, let me start by asking you a question. Do you believe there is foreshadowing in real life?
Looking back now I understand that a simple change of address announcement I mailed out a few years ago was actually my own unrecognized foreshadowing. It was a small 2×3 inch card stating: We Moved! Next to that was a cartoon picture of a blonde girl in a light blue dress, white apron, and black hair bow. By her side was a brown puppy dog wearing white bunny ears. I really only chose that card for the adorable dog that reminded me of my little Chewy Bear, but that card predicted the Alice in Wonderland adventure I was about to experience the first time I called myself a writer.
As a child, my Mom always told me that I reminded her so much of my Aunt Carol, mainly because of the word: So?
As in: Kristen, you can’t play outside. It’s raining. Me: So…?”
or: Why would you try to write a book? You have a day job, and you have no idea what you’re doing? Me: So…?
I was always quite the rebel, you see. Logic and reasoning have no place when it comes to your dreams.
Let’s step back a year or so, when I was coming up on 7 years working for one of the giants of the financial industry. Granted I learned a lot there, and I loved working with my clients, but the repetitive reports and technology, all numbers and structure could make an inquisitive, creative mind go a little buggy. I used my lunch breaks as an escape hour to get back in touch with the “real world” (the mall), think about pretty much anything but work, and read. I read a lot in my car or in restaurants, even if it was just an article on my phone, or a magazine I kept in the back seat.
Then I got my first iPad, and it thereafter became attached to my hand. I downloaded every Kindle freebie I could and quite a few paid books, until I had way too many books for any person to read in the foreseeable future. Soon Google Ads, and the clever tracking cookies in Internet Explorer caught on to my escapist lifestyle, and I started to see online ads offering The Best Writing Software and Write a Book in 30 Days! So down the rabbit hole I went.
In Alice and Wonderland, Alice finds herself in a strange place, full of people doing things she’d never seen. The further she ventured, the more interesting people and places she found. Deciding to become a legit writer with my name on a real book was just the same. What type of book should I write? Do I use a pen name? Do I need a website? Each question and decision led to an infinite number of subsequent questions and decisions. Ultimately, I made the decision to write a non-fiction book about how to juice, and the health and nutritional benefits of juicing.
As my new secondary career took flight, I still had to keep up with my day job, and tried to use breaks and commute time to listen to webinars and write blog posts. By night I was researching, writing and testing recipes, and taking my own photos for the book. I often found myself madly writing or designing graphics until 2 or 3 in the morning, not ever realizing it was that late because I was having so much fun. The ironic part was that I was so stretched for time, I no longer went to the gym, and I was eating frozen dinners so I could keep working. Try writing a book about health and nutrition while eating leftover pizza… the irony is astounding!
(While we’re being honest, here’s an extra little secret into a writer’s life. I needed a professional looking author’s picture for my juicing book, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money and didn’t have an HGTV worthy kitchen to use for a set. Let’s just say that my sister and I may have done a covert photo shoot in the model kitchen area of a certain home goods store. People certainly looked at us, but no one asked.)
This writing life
Being so fully immersed in a new creative endeavor had unleashed a thousand other rabbit holes I could pursue. I made lists of these ideas which are still scattered in my notes. I had an entire children’s book series in my mind, with a matching website of course. I had plans for at least 2 additional juicing books, and the elusive fantasy of writing all kinds of fabulous fiction novels. I have a few starter plot ideas and characters for those as well, but I feel that they’ll need more focused attention and practice to become something worthy of reading. I also had some glamorous fantasies of spa-like writer’s retreats where magic would flow from my fingers to the page, with majestic mountaintops perfecting the backdrop of my vision. Mostly, I write on my couch with my dog trying to steal my hand for attention. Super-glam…
The closest I ever came to that stereotypical writing experience was the few times I took my laptop to the Coffee House Café. They do have the very best food, and the ambiance of the fireplace and outdoor patio was close enough to mountains for me. That particular cliché does seem to be true though, writing alone at a coffee house does help you crank out quite a bit of work. I’m much less likely to be scrolling through my Facebook feed, or watching puppy videos with 10 or 15 strangers in viewing range of my laptop screen.
Fast forward to now, and my life is 100% different than it was a year ago. A year ago I didn’t have a book, didn’t have a website; I only worked 9 to 5 and who knows what I did with my free time. The people I associated with were mostly nearby friends, family, or maybe a few people I’d met while traveling. Now I have a copy of my own book sitting on my desk, 2 websites, and I spend a lot of my time communicating and working with people in other states and countries whom I’ve never met. I was also laid off from that day job along with most of my coworkers, so the year I spent diving into all of these projects has led me to a completely different career path. I had a marketing degree that I never got a chance to use. Now I go to marketer’s networking events, and invite people to view my work online, follow me on social media, or read my book.
My advice or caution to you is that if you have Googled for “writing software”, you are already down the rabbit hole. Every adventure requires a first step. – The Cheshire Cat
The Secret Live of Writers is a series of blog posts from writers (published or unpublished) who dish the dirt on how they juggle life and art. You can read about the whys and wherefores here.
The Secret Lives of Writers is now available as an ebook
You can now read all 13 guests posts from Volume 1 in the one convenient ebook. It’s out now in the Amazon Kindle Store and in other stores (iBooks, Kobo, Nook etc.) too.
Full of writing inspiration and advice, if you’re a writer, or an aspiring writer, and this book doesn’t get you putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), nothing will!
You can grab your copy from the Delicious Publishing Book Store.