I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son.
Thank Lord for cyberspace!
I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald.
During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch!
Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW!
I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick.
Including writing these chronicles.
Through joining shewrites I have had the opportunity to liaise with lots of writers at different stages of their 'careers.'
Many of these inspirational in their own right.
One such writer I had the fortune of chatting with is Author, Columnist ,Blogger and Californian Gal Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela has recently had her personal story, 'Silent Sorority' published.
She has inspired me by showing how writing from a place of pain and honesty we can connect and help others.
I asked Pamela questions about being a published author and columnist - but discovered more about her story than just the nuts and bolts of being 'published."
Thanks so much Pamela.
You are a published author and columnist! Tell me, what was the secret for 'sealing the deal' in both positions?
Dedication. Unwavering commitment to your projects. Discipline. A willingness to knock on as many doors as it takes to get where you want to go. Oh, yes, and moxie coupled with the ability to write persuasively enough to get others interested in your ideas.
Tell me about your book and who you are a columnist for?
My book, Silent Sorority, was five years in the making and followed nearly 10 years of trying lead a conventional life while in the throes of trying to solve a medical mystery. Each day I'd get up and go to work, doing my best to pretend everything was normal. What my extended family and most friends didn't realize was that I had become a science experiment. You can find out more by reading the book!
I don't want to give away the punch line. As for my column, well, here's a clue. It's called Barren Not Beaten and it's one of five featured on a site called Fertility Authority.
What do you believe are key ingredients for being a successful columnist?
The most important element for being a successful columnist (or blogger for that matter) is to have a distinct point of view.
Let your personality come through in your writing.
People aren't interested in milk toast topics or imitation.
Be creative and find your voice.
How did you go about getting your book published?
Was it difficult?
I'm not going to mince words here. It was brutal. A strong ego and a drive to succeed are essential. That's because rejection and long periods of waiting and wondering if anyone is ever going to embrace your work comes with the territory.
How do you FEEL now that your story is out there?
It's surreal, really. Until recently I was a very private person. At the same time I now feel a bond, a connection to readers and a sense of legacy.
I like to thinkthat some time a hundred years or more from now someone will stumble across my book and gain insight into a difficult experience told from a candid, humorous and poignant perspective -- much like we read and contemplate diaries of those who came before us. I don't have to wait a hundred years though. I also have the immense satisfaction that comes from readers thanking me for sharing my frank story and telling me that I've touched their lives. One recent reader email in particular stands out.
She wrote: "I just wanted to let you know how much your book has helped and is still helping. I am in a good place at the moment and thought you should know (since reading your book). My mom has read the book as well and it has opened up a line of communication that we did not have before. I really can not thank you enough!"
Any advice you would give to somebody with ambition to achieve what you have?
For anyone starting out today I would strongly encourage them to do exactly what you're doing, Sharni.
Get to know other writers and editors.
Figure out how to build a following by leveraging the social media tools that allow your writing to get from your computer to readers.
There are writing platforms out there that will allow you to test your ideas and experiment with what works -- they range from Open Salon to BlogHer.
The best advice though, while maddeningly cliche is still true: follow your dreams, and write what comes naturally, write what you know.