A while back I asked fellow blogger and writer Karen Lange whether I could interview her for my blog. I am thrilled she said yes, and that she decided to share part of her (writing)journey with us. Karen is is an excellent writer and faithful blogger. Her blog WRITE NOW is a great resource for book reviews, meditations, writing tips and random thoughts on life. Here we go.
Please introduce yourself…anything special we need to know about Karen Lange?
I am a follower of Christ, wife, and mother. My husband and I are blessed with two sons, a daughter, a daughter in law, and a very cute 4-year-old grandson. My current projects include a collaborative work on a novel and maintaining my blog. I also freelance, teach online writing classes, and act as bookkeeper for my husband’s carpentry business.
How and when did your start your blog?
When I started blogging in March of 2009, I didn’t have a clue about what it involved. I did a bit of online research and decided to use Blogger. It was pretty much trial and error, and I learned as I went. Shortly after I started blogging, I connected with Susan J. Reinhardt, and she offered tips and encouragement. I think of her as my blogging mentor.
What is your drive behind blogging? What do you hope to accomplish?
I love the blogging community! I have met great people from all walks of life - writers, artists, book lovers, and everything in between. The support from other bloggers is nothing short of amazing. The experience has provided benefits beyond what I expected; it’s been a huge blessing.
My original goal was to build blogging experience so I could add it to my resume. I decided to offer info and encouragement to new writers. When I started writing in earnest some years ago, MaryAnn Diorio, a sweet writer friend, offered her wisdom and encouragement. She is a great mentor and blessing, and I wanted to follow her example and be an encouragement to writers. Not that I felt that I’d arrived, mind you. I just wanted to cheer others on in their journey as MaryAnn has so kindly for me.
Current goals also include offering writing tips, information, interviews, and book reviews. One of my favorite things to do is to generate conversations between my followers. I love it when they comment and share their insight. Blogging has taught me a lot, and I’ve built some great relationships too.
You are a writing instructor at the Coffeehouse for Writers. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
The Coffeehouse for Writers is a site where writers will find resources, forums, and online classes that help improve their craft. I teach Basic Boot Camp for Writers, which is a four-week refresher class that reviews writing fundamentals like active/passive voice, homophones, subject/verb agreement, and a whole lot more. We discuss ways to keep our writing fresh and on track, and stretch our writing muscles through fun and interesting prompts and assignments. I designed the course to be user friendly with the busy adult lifestyle in mind. Students can interact with each other on a private forum and they receive feedback on every assignment from me. The Coffeehouse website offers all the details, Coffeehouse for Writers.com.
Your current work in progress is an historical novel. Anything new you’d like to share?
Susan J. Reinhardt and I are making progress, but still have a long way to go. It is set in the American Colonial period, and we are adding twists and turns to the plot as we speak.
How does your faith in God help you in your writing journey?
When I get discouraged, I remind myself of my bottom line, that I feel God has called me to write. I trust Him to direct my steps, and open and close doors in His perfect timing. I am very thankful that He has brought me this far, and continues to lead me each day.
Top three writing struggles:
1 – Procrastination – At times, I am adept at doing everything but working on a project. From laundry to phone calls, bookkeeping to checking email, you name it; I can use it to procrastinate.
2 – Discouragement – I battle this particularly when I have other, outside issues going on in my life. For example, when my Mom and sister passed away in 2010, just eight months apart, I struggled to regain my balance and stay upbeat and focused on writing. God is faithful, though, and continues to see me through. I’m learning a lot of good lessons all the time. I confess to be a work in progress in Him.
3 – Frustration – I work at home, and some days interruptions are the norm. I am not always great at going with the flow. (Although if my husband comes home and suggests that we go out for dinner, I am totally willing to be flexible.)
Top three writing goals for 2012:
1 – Make good progress on the collaborative book project.
2 - Break into more freelance work.
3 – Convert a booklet (that I wrote for homeschool parents) into an ebook.
Do you have any authors or specific books that have been an inspiration to you?
There are so many great writers out there! I particularly enjoy James Scott Bell. He not only writes Christian fiction, but also pens books on the craft, such as The Art of War for Writers and Plot and Structure. I study his fiction for pointers on how to write it well. I also glean nuggets of wisdom from his nonfiction books. He’s an excellent writer; I appreciate and respect his insight. I’d love to attend one of his conference workshops someday.
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is my favorite must-have resource. This small book is a treasure; it has answered many of my writing questions. Another inspiring one - I picked up a copy of Bruce Ross-Larson’s Edit Yourself a few years ago on a bookstore sale rack. Now that was a find! It has all kinds of helpful goodies within the pages, including an explanation that helped me better understand the difference between active and passive voice.
Writers such as Liz Curtis Higgs, Cathy Gohlke, and Jody Hedlund inspire me in the fiction department. These talented women have a gift for putting words together, and when I grow up, I’d like to be able to write just like them!
Any words of encouragement to us bloggers?
If you feel called to write, then keep writing! Explore different methods and genres, play with words, take a class, and read other blogs. Delve into the blogging community – there are wonderful friends and resources within. Don’t be afraid of having your writing rejected. It’s part of the process, and though it stings, if we press on, it helps take us where we are meant to go. Don’t be shy about joining a writer’s group, online or locally. Feedback and info from others is usually a good thing. Keep learning, always.
Thanks so much for inviting me to visit, Marja! Your blog is a blessing, as are you. I am so thankful that we met through blogging.
Bio - Karen Lange is a writer, blogger, and online writing instructor at the Coffeehouse for Writers. Her work has appeared in print and online in business, parenting, educational, and writing publications. Visit her blog at karenelange.blogspot.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks Karen, for taking the time to share your knowledge and writing experiences with us. You are a treasure in blogging land!