I spent decades doing other things before coming out of the closet as a writer. Anything I know about telling stories comes from those various experiences, which include an early life as a musician and twenty years in the theater as an actress and teacher. I am also a devoted student of Brenda Ueland, Dorothea Lange, Ray Bradbury, and William Shakespeare. And whatever other shortfalls my background contains I try to compensate for by reading.
Ray Bradbury (another author lacking an MFA in Creative Writing) says this: “Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
If you want to know more about me, please visit my author website: www.stephaniekallos.com
My writing roots
One of my earliest memories is of my mother teaching me the right way to open a book. "If you can read," she told me, "you will never be lonely."
I wrote my first story when I was seven. I still have it. It's called "The Wonderful Dove" and at the time it caused a hullabaloo for its sixty-page length and reference to Thalidomide babies.
Around that same time I wrote a contest essay for the Mattel Toy Company: "I want to be a writer when I grow up," I said, "because it's the kind of job that lets you stay home with your husband and babies."
Understanding why we feel compelled to tell stories (and what planted those seeds) is crucial. In trying to locate your writing roots, consider Flannery O'Connor's statement: "Anybody who has survived childhood has enough information to last the rest of his days."
Henry Miller advises us to work "calmly, joyously, and recklessly." And yet, so many things barricade us from joy.
Writing should connect us with what we feel most passionate about and obsessed by; indeed, those passions and obsessions are our most uniquely qualifying credentials. We need to locate and name them. We have to cultivate an awareness of what makes us one-of-a-kind storytellers, because only that kind of mindfulness engenders the confidence, faith, and stamina the writer's life requires.
My goal is to not only help you troubleshoot impediments around your current projects, but identify the deeper issues coming between you and your work, and ultimately provide strategies that will enable you to bulldoze blockades to joy whenever they arise.