We’re absolutely thrilled to share our interview this week with the incredible Susannah Conway. She’s an author of several books (in fact, she’s just started her book tour!), blogger, and photographer. In addition, she’s one of the nicest ladies we’ve met. She graciously chatted with us and gave out some great advice for you!
In case people don’t already know about you and your amazing business, would you mind sharing what you do?
Hello everybody! I am a photographer, an author and an e-course creator. My first book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart (Globe Pequot Press) was published in June, and I’ve also co-authored another book, Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids (Chronicle Books). I’ve been running creative courses online for the last three years and currently have three on offer: Unravelling, Photo Meditations and Blogging from the Heart. I guess you could call me a creative entrepreneur. Or, lately, an author-preneur.
You have a background in photography and journalism. How did you transition so smoothly to blogging, creating an e-course, and writing a book?
Actually it wasn’t a smooth transition at all, more of a LIFE transition. In 2005 the man I loved died very suddenly and everything I thought I knew about life changed in that instant. Now I look back and see that my life has unfolded in two acts: in the first 32 years I was lost and disconnected from myself. In the last seven years I’ve healed and become the person I am today.
I found my way back to myself through my cameras and journals. For as long as I can remember writing has been the way I figure stuff out and connect with how I’m feeling. I’ve always kept a journal so it was very natural for me to write my way through my grief. In the second year of my bereavement I discovered blogging and it opened up this whole new creative world to me. Being able to share my thoughts and feelings online was incredibly empowering — it was my way of ‘getting back out there’ from the safety of my living room. I started re-exploring self portraiture, which helped me to see myself again — literally, but also as the woman I was becoming, a woman working her way through loss and finding herself again. There were so many layers to unravel and the healing went far deeper than the bereavement alone.
My Unravelling course began as a local evening class in 2008 and drew inspiration from my healing journey. I brought my photography and journalling ideas together and shared them with a room full of women. To my surprise the class was a great success! As blogging was such an important part of my life it seemed natural to find a way to share the class online somehow. So in 2009 I did, and the rest, as they say, is history.
You have a nearly booked book tour planned for July but we have to ask, was writing a book that would hit shelves worldwide like you thought it would be? Or was it harder?
It was exactly as hard as I thought it would be I was not under any illusions that it would be easy, but at the same time, it was a challenge I was so ready to dive into. Writing a book is something I had dreamed about since childhood, but I’d never known what that book would be about until a few years ago. I had a story to tell, and a reason to share.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in writing their own book?
Start with a proposal. Even if you don’t plan to approach publishers or agents, you need to find a way into the book, so writing an outline, chapter-by-chapter, will give you a place to start — you’ll know the direction you’re heading in. Writing a book can feel like such an enormously overwhelming task, but when you break it down into chunks/chapters it suddenly feels so much more do-able. I share a lot of my process and advice in this post.
We loved the way you shared your entire process from rough draft to finished book with your blog readers. What did you gain from that whole experience? And would you share it all again?
Oh, absolutely. I’ve been blogging for six years and it feels very natural to share my process on my blog. I’m always interested to read about how other creatives manage their time and work on their projects so I knew others might find my in-process posts useful. But more than that, I just needed to share! My blog chronicles the big and the small things in my life, and creating the book has been a big part of my world for nearly two years. Blogging about it helped to mark my progress (essential when you’re feeling unsure about how it’s going) and also brought my readers along for the ride with me.
Be sure to pop by Susannah’s blog! You can also check out her book tour stops and say hello in person. We know you’re going to love her newest book.