Usually on Go Teen Writers, the focus is on fiction writing. That's because it's the best.
Just kidding. Sort of.
The fiction focus is because that's where my interests lie and where I have the most knowledge. But today I'm thrilled to feature Nicole O'Dell, who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Today she's here talking about her latest non-fiction release, the cowriting process, and how she manages to fit writing into her extremely busy life.
|View Girl Talk on Amazon|
Nicole, is Girl Talk a tool primarily for daughters, or is it something moms should be reading too?
Technically, it's for girls. All of the questions are from them and the answers are directed toward them. However, I think it's a great tool for parents to see what's going on in teen culture today. Also, I've heard of moms and daughters using it together as a discussion guide of sorts. Here's what one mom had to say in a review: "Girl Talk was an uplifting inspirational journey that not only brought my daughter and I closer; it opened lines of new communication. Also, in an unexpected and welcoming way the word of God was brought into our home. " (Lissa Smith Book Nut Reviews )
What was the inspiration for this project?
A few years ago, I started a Girl Talk column on my blog where my daughters and I fielded readers' questions. It has proven to be a great tool for readers as evidenced by the amount of questions I get on a regular basis. When it continued to grow, my publisher, Barbour Publishing and I decided to do a book of mostly unpublished Q&As.
Girls want answers. They want to know someone is listening and that people care. By giving them a format to ask their questions, and then providing answers, teens feel heard and understood--even if they disagree. ;)
By reading the dilemmas other teens are facing, girls realize they aren't alone and can prepare their own responses to life's challenges.
I think it's super cool that you write and blog with your daughters. Some of the writers in the Go Teen Writers community co-write books. What advice do you have for making the co-writing process a smooth one?
I love working with Natalie and Emily. It's really cool to see how they think and learn about what they'd do in certain circumstances. They are both so wise--I wish I'd had a fraction of their wisdom when I was a teen.
The co-writing process can be great--but it can also have it's challenges. My top five tips are:
Leave the ego at the door--it's not about you, it's about the project.
Do your part--make sure you're working within your strengths and sharing the workload.
Accept constructive criticism--realize that you have things to learn, and be open to learning them.
Show grace when you offer criticism--your suggestions are ultimately opinions and each writer needs to have her own voice.
Pray for syngery--unity of purpose and an easy time working together.
You also write fiction (The Wishing Pearl, Scenarios for Girls series). Do you have things that you prefer about the process of writing nonfiction?
As I finish a fiction project, I can't wait to get into a non-fiction one. Then, as I finish that non-fiction book, I'm totally ready to get back into fiction. I'm so grateful that I'm able to do both. But you asked about the process. Yes, the non-fiction process is easier in many ways, like there's no need for character development or plot structure. However, there's a lot of responsibility in putting yourself out there as an expert on a topic, so that has to be considered, too.
Nicole, just hearing you talk about your life wears me out sometimes! (Nicole has 6 children including triplets who are 3) She does a weekly radio show and is always churning out great books. A couple questions I get asked a lot are, "How can I make time for my writing? How can I be better about prioritizing it?" What are some tips you have or some things you've done that have made it possible for you to write despite your busy schedule?
Flexibility is the name of the game in the O'Dell household. I just have to go with the flow and take stolen minutes or hours when I have them. Sometimes even days. When my hubby is off for a couple of days in a row and I'm facing a deadline, I sometimes disappear from sun up to sun down. We just make it work.
Nat, Em, and I hope you'll enjoy Girl Talk! Also, the Girl Talk column is ongoing. You can write to us with your questions anytime! Contact us here.
And if you'd like to win a copy of Girl Talk, signed by all three of us, just leave a comment here. Tweeting about this post will earn you another entry if you use the GoTeenWriters hashtag. (For example: Just read a great interview by @Nicole_Odell on #goteenwriters. http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/ ) I'd also love it if you signed up for my Choices e-Zine/newsletter, too--that will earn you a third entry!