Thank you, Ellis for granting this interview.
Snippets of Me
Hello! I’m L.S., a writer, reader, dreamer, creator of worlds. I’ve always felt that writing is something I was destined for. Growing up in rural Michigan, I could easily spend hours running around the woods, making up stories and characters and grand adventures, and I’m happy to say that the wonder of it all has never really left me. Now I just channel it all into words. I live in the suburbs of Chicago now, working part-time as a barista because those bills have to get paid. But when I’m not there, I’m reading or writing or exploring some of the really wonderful nature trails we have here in Northeastern Illinois. I’m vegan, I have two cats and a boyfriend, and my favorite color is green.
My very first story published ever was back in 2009, in Temenos, the graduate studies literary journal at my alma mater, Central Michigan University, where I studied history and creative writing. I started self-publishing in 2012, with my collection of short stories titled Bowlful of Bunnies, and have been hitting the publishing trail pretty hard since then, including starting my own literary journal, World Unknown Review. It’s been very gradual, glacier-paced start to a career, but it’s a start none-the-less.
Bits About My Blog
When you get into the world of self-publishing, you hear a lot about branding and building your tribe and the need to really reach out to people and get them to know you. That’s how I started blogging, as a way to meet with other writings and potential readers, sharing my thoughts and ideas. It’s sort of a catch-all for whatever I want to write about.
Mostly, I talk about stories that I’ll be publishing and upcoming books, but there’s also book reviews, recipes, and various other observances and promotions. I also like to use it to help promote the authors that contribute to my World Unknown Review. Nearly every month, we feature an author from the review, with a featured story and an interview. That’s probably my favourite part. I love spreading the word about stories I love and getting to know other authors, what makes them tick, what they enjoy to read, and things like that.
Staying On Top of Things
Sometimes, it’s hard to get posts up, whether it’s just a lack of time from trying to juggle too much or simply feeling like I don’t have any ideas worth sharing at the moment. What really helps is that I’ve started doing a weekly thing I like to call a “Monday Morning Reset.” On Monday, I mentally wipe the slate clean of all the stuff that may have dragged me down in the previous week, and I write a blog post talking about what was done, what didn’t get done, and what I hope to do in the upcoming week. I start reading a new book, I start working on a new story, I just try to keep everything new and fresh, and that’s been a great motivator. It’s important to sometimes look back at what you’ve done and give it a critical review. It’s also a great way to keep your readers up-to-date on what you might be working on and what’s going on in your world.
The Downsides and Yes, The Ups
So far, it’s just challenging trying to think of interesting things to say! There are so many blogs out there, so many of them talking about writing, that there are many times when you feel like you’ve got nothing new or interesting to contribute. That’s when it’s important to remember that people are reading your blog because they ARE interested, and you can’t let yourself get in the way of yourself. It’s your blog. Write what you want, even if it’s boring, even if it’s not too exciting. Even if it only get a small iota of views this time, maybe next time you’ll get more. But you won’t get any if you don’t post at all.
A Word of Encouragement
I would encourage other bloggers the same way I encourage other writers (and myself!): by emphasizing the importance of JUST WRITING. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you’re getting some writing done. Eventually, the good stuff shines through and you can run with it for a while. Even if you feel like no one is reading it, just write. Eventually, someone will.
Spend A Day With Me
My days are pretty simple and regular. I love order and I love consistency, so I try to keep a routine from day to day. I wake up around six thirty every morning, make some coffee, and settle in to read and write for about an hour. I have absolutely no attention span so I like to switch between reading for a little and writing for a little. After that hour, I hit the computer to write blog posts, answer emails, type stories, edit stories, send out stories.
Then I have a daily workout routine, then shower, and then a few video games before breakfast with my boyfriend, who, being a night owl, is just about getting up at this time. We always watch “Jeopardy!” with breakfast. Then it’s time to get lunch prepare and I usually have to go to work at this point. I’m an early bird, so I work nights so that I can have my sweet precious morning time to myself. Well, to myself and my cats, who intermittently want to cuddle while I work. I have two eight-year-old Siamese cats, brothers, one grey point, one seal, named Genghis Khan (leader of the Meowngal horde) and Baldur Cat (Bringer of Cuddles). They’re pretty affectionate and they keep me company while I work.
If I have the day off, I’ll usually spend the day running errands, preparing meals for the upcoming week, going out for a hike, or spending the day getting inspired at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of my favorite places ever. I’m trying to get into the habit of getting in some more writing before bed, too, though so far it’s been a little hit and miss. I haven’t had as much time as I’d like for my writing, as they have me temporarily full time at work, but I do what I can when I can, and a little bit here and there can really add up!
My next step is to finally finish my zombie trilogy, the Slayer Saga, with the final book, entitled “Fearless,” and I hope to get more books finished, too. And, of course, what I really wanted to share in this interview was information about the World Unknown Review. I started this literary journal four years ago, and it’s really been gaining momentum!
Last year, I received over a hundred stories from fifteen different countries, and the final product represented five of them. I’d love to see what this year will bring. So if anyone’s got some stories and they’d like to be a part of this hopefully steadily growing tradition, I hope they send them my way for consideration. You can find more about the journal and the submission process at http://lsengler.com/submissions
Other than that, it’s just more writing, more blogging, on to bigger and brighter things each and every day.