Creatives Chat: Writing – Carol Knee-Omant
I work full time. I also eat, breathe and write. I don’t believe you get a choice. You write. It is a part of who you are. I write horror; I’ve tried other stuff, but it twists and turns until it becomes horror. I gave up trying to change it.
I started out in graphic design but my dictatorial personality shone through and I quickly moved into project management. If you think this isn’t being ‘creative’; you are wrong. I can write a business case that makes anything sound like you just can’t live without it. My partner Chris is also writer.
I have 3 children. He also has 3. We are like the Brady Bunch – just not as nice.
I blog religiously at Dating a Hunchback; this is my way to vent about the difficulties of partnering with a fellow writer, music lover and someone else’s ex-husband. The Bed Fairy I created to help guide his fifteen year old in the art of cleaning up after himself. It isn’t working…
I spent a while doing an MBT before realising that I should be looking at something more focussed on writing. In the end, I think the best education is to just write. If you’re a reader, you know what works and what doesn’t. You just have to continue to edit until you get there. No course can teach you to tell a good story; they can only show you how to write it.
Carol Knee-Omant chats writing:
1. How long have you been involved in the creative industries, and how did you become a professional writer?
About thirty years ago, I was working for a magazine. The editor went on leave and a temp journalist walked in the door. She changed how I viewed the world.
My life was crashing around me; but her style was not so ordinary as to offer platitudes and tissues. Instead, she suggested I go home and write a book. I did (and this still amazes her, and myself).
That book is actually the story I am working on at the moment. It’s raw (which is an understatement). In fact, it is so bad that rather than edit, I had to just write notes on what wasn’t addressed – then rewrite.
2. Do people offer you work, or do you have to chase it down yourself?
In sticking to where I started, I do get approached to design and build websites; which I do mainly so that I keep my hand in. Generally, this is via word of mouth as I don’t actively seek work. Anything you do takes time away from what you should be doing – writing.
3. Have you ever worked on a self-publishing project? What was the experience like – any traps or unexpected perks?
I self-published my second book; but the world had changed with the digital era. I had received a “readers report” and fantastic review from several publishing houses; however, it seemed publishing houses no longer took a raw author, gave them an editor to work with to bring the writing up to the standard of the story.
Now they wanted it all. They wanted the finished, edited version – and then to take a large percentage of that work for their marketing skills.
This time; this book…I intend to do a little differently.
4. How do you negotiate fees while freelancing for somebody?
Quoting; generally this is only for website work. I don’t fall into traps only because I work full time at something else, I enjoy the design work and therefore, it is a bonus.
5. What single piece of advice did you wish you’d known when you were starting out in the industry?
Don’t self-publish without hiring an editor to edit your work prior to upload. When you self-publish, you are releasing your work into the world. There is no going back after that. It’s gone.