Front of the Class – interview with Cheryl Wright (25 May 2007)

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Introduction

I am a subscriber to Cheryl’s newsletter, Writer to Writer. I was on the look out for people to interview and wondered if Cheryl would be interested. I asked. She agreed. so, without further ado, I have great pleasure in introducing to you Cheryl Wright …


Aneeta: Cheryl, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Cheryl: Thanks for asking me!

Aneeta: Cheryl, let’s start by getting to know you a little bit more. Where did you grow up and what kinds of jobs did you do? Also, where do you live and what’s it like there?

Cheryl: I was born in a little town called Bright, which is at the foot of Mount Buffalo in Australia. When I was three years old, my family moved to Melbourne, where I grew up, and still reside.

I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, which is not far enough out to be called country, but not exactly close to the city either.  When I was growing up, this area was totally country, and it was a half-day trip to get here.  These days, with the freeway, it takes around thirty minutes.  Now that’s progress!

I’d love to move further out, into the ‘real’ country, but I have three young grandchildren live with me, and I don’t want to uproot them from their school.  Maybe one day – when they’re older.

I’ve undertaken a variety of jobs throughout my life, including accounts manager, credit assistant, events organizer, shopping tour hostess, debt collector, secretary – both for a project manager, and later for the manager of the handbooks department of an international business. It wasn’t until I became quite ill with a lung disease – around five years ago – that I was able to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming a writer.

Aneeta: When did you start writing and what was it that made you want to be a writer?

Cheryl:  I’ve always known I was born to be a writer, but tried to push the idea aside.  When I was in grade six, my teacher went on long service leave.  A hippy substitute teacher arrived.  I wasn’t too sure about him and moved to the back of the class.  After a few days he began reading poetry to us on a daily basis.  This was the springboard for discussions about the history of the poets, and ultimately, Australian history.  Down the track he also introduced short stories.

I’m convinced this teacher inspired my love of the written word.

And yes, I moved to the front of the class not long after he arrived!

Aneeta: I understand that you’re not only an author of several books, you’re also a contributor to a few others. Please choose three in each category and describe that work to us.

Cheryl:  How do I choose?  Okay, here are three of my own books:

Outside the Square Fiction Workshop – this is a compilation of my online award-winning workshops on fiction writing.  This book was extremely popular when it was released, and still is today.

I Wanna Win! – Tips for Becoming an Award Winning Writer – the title of this book is quite deceiving.  It was written for those people who want to enter and win writing contests, but it’s also a boon for those who need to hone their writing skills.

Writing for Profit: Break into Magazines – this is the latest of my ebooks to be released, and has been very popular from the moment it was available.  I think that’s because it goes into absolute basics of magazine writing, and doesn’t assume the reader understands the terminology and concepts.

And here are books I’ve contributed to:

Writer Profits: How I Got the Gig, Volume I – 15 Writers Tell How They Get Paying Gigs and How You Can, Too
– this is the latest book I contributed to, and I’m extremely proud of that effort, particularly because my story is the lead in the book. (Yay!)

The book is a compilation of chapters from a variety of authors from around the world.  It features stories of how each writer ‘won’ specific writing gigs.  Mine uses networking and marketing as a basis, showing how each gig I gained came as a result of these important concepts.

Cancer: A personal challenge
this book features stories from a variety of people, not all of them writers.  My essay is about the death of my father eight years ago from lung cancer, and how it affected my entire family.  Sadly, my mother died in December (2006) – also from lung cancer.  All profits from this book – from my websites – goes to the Australian Lung Foundation.  They are undertaking further research into this killer disease.

Book Marketing from A to Z
this is another book that features my marketing expertise.  Again, it’s a compilation from various writers around the world, but this one has short, quick tips.

Aneeta: Now, I know that you own and manage several website, namely,

http://www.cheryl-wright.com

www.write-essentials.com

http://www.writer2writer.com

http://www.romancewriter2writer.com

http://www.aussieauthors.com

Would you care to explain the purpose and function of each of these websites, please?

Cheryl:

http://www.cheryl-wright.com is my author website, and features my books and other related work, such as editing, and gives an insight into me – the author.

www.write-essentials.com is my business writing website.  It is there to showcase my copywriting, newsletter, and other business writing skills, and is aimed at small and medium sized businesses.

http://www.writer2writer.com is for writers who want to learn the craft, or improve the skills they already have.  This is the site I needed when I started out.  (Hence the reason it was started.)

http://www.romancewriter2writer.com  is similar to Writer2Writer, but contains only information pertaining to writing romance.

http://www.aussieauthors.com is a place for Australian and New Zealand writers to promote themselves.  Believe it or not, this is the only website that is dedicated to this purpose.

I am co-owner of this site.  My writing buddy, Sarah Cook, is the other owner.  The site was her idea and inspiration.

I have added another site to the list!  This one is a paid membership site called www.Resources4Writers.com

The site contains books, courses, and software etc., that are relevant specifically to writers and internet marketers/entrepreneurs who want to make money from their writing. The site is very new, and has only recently opened its doors.

Aneeta: As you know, this website caters for storytellers. Would you care to share your thoughts on this art of storytelling with my subscribers, please?

Cheryl: When I was starting out I found it hard to write fiction.  It took a very long time before I realised I was thinking too much when I wrote.  Once I stopped thinking, my writing started flowing, and my work began to get published.

In my experience, the trick is to let your heart rule, not your brain.

Aneeta: Cheryl, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Cheryl: Just one little tip.  Writers need to constantly hone and update their skills.  Some writers believe that once they’re published, they no longer need to educate themselves.  That’s totally incorrect.

Even with all the publications I’ve had, I still take at least one class per year, and often two.  They may not be directly related to writing, but usually they are connected in some way – like web design, for instance.

Aneeta: Thank you, Cheryl.

Cheryl:  Again, thanks so much for the opportunity to talk with you.  I hope this helps your subscribers in some way, and has inspired them to pursue their writing goals.


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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