Cherie Burbach makes her living as a freelance author. She is also a poet, self-published author of non-fiction books and a dear friend. I hope you can benefit from some of her wisdom as she shares her writing journey.
When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I always felt called to writing, even as a little girl. I would write stories and illustrate them. When I was in second grade, my teacher said I should try writing poetry because I had a “poetic” way of writing. I didn’t know a thing about poetry, but as soon as I tried it, it opened up a whole new world for me.
What’s with the artwork?
I’ve always painted but in the last few years I’ve discovered mixed media and it has been such a joy to do. I love combining words and images to create something that can visually tell a story or provide inspiration. I create images I often picture in my mind when I write poetry, so it’s been nice to go back through some of my older poems and showcase them in a new way.
Some of my favorite pieces:
Turning Your Ear to Wisdom
I like the proverbs a lot, and this thought is one of my favorites.
The poem behind this picture is a very personal one to me, and I also liked the background on here.
In You I Take Refuge
I like the colors and thoughts behind this series of prints. This passage especially brings me comfort.
I think it’s especially important for women to support each other. I wrote this poem (“Dear Women”) for my latest poetry book (Yes, You) with this thought in mind. I took words from that poem for this print.
What’s your pet peeve?
Oh wouldn’t you like to know! LOL
What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
Recently I found a spelling error in a book of poetry I published nine years ago. This error made it past me, my editor, and my readers. It wasn’t until I put the poem on a piece of mixed media that I finally noticed!
As an online writer, I have readers send me comments and corrections anytime they spot something, and I’m always appreciative! (You just can’t catch everything yourself.)
What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
I like to have a lot of different income streams and as a result I’m often doing a lot of really varied projects. My biggest challenge is always balancing my time and avoiding burnout.
How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
I follow the advice in The Four Agreements that says “don’t take anything personally.” It’s easy to say that about the negative things, but this bit of advice applies to the positives as well. So when someone gives you a compliment, you accept it but take it with a grain of salt. When you don’t base your confidence as a writer on the positives, it’s much easier to shake off the bad stuff, too. You can’t let the words of others define you, and that’s true of the positives as well as the negatives.
The other thing is, not every writing style or genre is going to resonate with every single reader, so if you get a bad review you know you probably haven’t reached the right audience. However, if a “bad” review gives you something constructive you can improve on, you need to embrace it and learn the lesson.
Writing, like any art form, is very subjective. You’re not going to please everyone all the time. It’s okay.
What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
I’ve been able to celebrate a lot of milestones as a writer I never thought I’d achieve. So I feel like the trip I won to New York for an essay I wrote twelve years ago was a big deal, and the surprise of having my “This I Believe” essay as the second most popular on the site was so cool, and getting featured in a book (What to Do When No One Has a Clue) along with celebrities like Arianna Huffington (founder of the Huffington Post), designers Badgley Mischka, Real Housewives of New York Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel, and Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger was a thrill.
Also, it’s very hard to maintain a freelance writing career, and I’m so grateful for the fact that I’ve been able to do that for eight years.
What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
1) Have a plan in mind for your career from the beginning. This way you can determine which opportunities are those you should focus on.
2) There are a million ways to create a writing career, so talk to as many writers as you can about how they manage their writing business. It will help you roll with the changes that arise in the publishing industry.
3) Always think about the ideal reader for your work. Keep this reader in mind before your ego, your salary, and your expectations.
As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
God has pulled me out of a bad childhood, and helped me find a happy and contented life. I want to help others who have experienced similar feelings and experiences to encourage them to trust God and let Him lead the way. When someone enjoys my work, I want their first thought to be God and the gift of grace.
What is your current work in process?
I’ve got a series of nonfiction ebooks in progress, and I’m currently finishing up a creative planner I’ve designed.
Check out Cherie
At her blog: http://cherieblogs.com/
Her Friendship blog for About.com: http://friendship.about.com/bio/Cherie-Burbach-94347.htm
Cherie’s Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CherieBurbach