Author Self-Care: Interview with Beth Barany, Author and Creativity Coach by Lisa Towles
Let’s welcome back Lisa Towles as she shares with us “Author Self-Care: Interview with Beth Barany, Author and Creativity Coach.” Enjoy!
What is Writer Self Care?
You hear about self-care in the context of the pandemic and emotional wellness, and it usually consists of things like lavender baths and yoga retreats.
Having walked the writer’s path for more than twenty years, I know that the solitude of writing can often feel isolating, the steady stream of rejections can feel demoralizing, and without compassionate coaches like Beth Barany, the novel-writing process can be overwhelming and daunting.
Writers are a special breed that need special kinds of care – to acknowledge our losses and express disappointment, celebrate our (even small) wins, connect with community, care for our bodies (hands, fingers, wrists, back), and understand our why.
Hi, I’m Lisa Towles.
I’m a crime novelist preparing for the launch of my 7th thriller, Ninety-Five while getting a new thriller series edited and writing a new standalone thriller.
In addition to writing fiction, my passion is writing and speaking about self care for writers and helping writers create long-term practices for nurturing their creative heart and soul to bring more meaning and joy to their writing journey.
It is such an honor to interview Beth Barany today and discuss the topic of self care for writers.
Beth is a novelist and was called to share her expertise with writers to help them connect with their deep muse and create a sustainable writing path. She does this through her inspiring work as a writing and creativity coach, through her books, and through the Barany School of Fiction.
So thank you, Beth, for agreeing to be interviewed. Let’s dig in!
What parts of your writing work and practice bring you the most JOY? And what parts of your writing life have you found challenging?
I love planning stories. I love researching them. I love sitting at the café, looking around and being inspired by what’s around me. That feeds into my writing.
I love using what I know, what I’ve experienced and what I’m passionate about in my fiction.
I also love the writing process.
I love being in the zone writing the first draft. I love being in the zone in editing too, when I am making decisions about enhancing the story.
Some parts of my writing life that I have found challenging include understanding people’s feedback on my work; dealing with inappropriate feedback; accepting the time it takes to edit my novels.
I write fast and edit slow.
It’s also frustrating not getting immediate feedback when you send a book out into the world.
Another challenging part of the writing is not knowing how to create certain effects in fiction with craft. Just not knowing enough about writing craft.
What types of self-care do you regularly practice? Are there any practices specifically related to your life as a writer? When did you start realizing that you needed them?
I walk on a regular basis. Either every day or six days a week.
It has become a practice specifically related to my life as a writer. I used to just walk to get around. Now I walk to get around with the intent to go write. Or if I don’t want to write at a café, I make sure to take a walk in my neighborhood.
I realized I needed these regular walks about six years ago. I realized that walking was part of my creative practice.
In fact I needed to walk and then write.
In that order. I still find that order true today.
Lately I have been yearning for a more intensive aerobic experience with a group of women. Actually I’ve been yearning for that since I stopped doing capoeira about five years ago. I need to be in a group of strong women practicing their strength and flexibility together. So this is something I’m still looking for.
How do you negotiate the time and space to fit these practices into your daily or weekly regimen?
Often it is very easy to fit walking in because I live on a hill, and I have to walk down it to get to the cafes. It’s part of my commute so to speak.
On other days where I’m not going down the hill, I have learned that I can get what I need in a brisk 20-minute walk, that will include some uphill and downhill.
I’m bored with walking flat. I don’t want to walk on a level surface.
I want my body to be challenged a little bit. I want to be huffing and puffing and maybe break out into a little sweat.
In fact, breaking out into a sweat has become part of my well-being regime.
What benefits are they bringing you?
I get to people-watch.
Or if I’m not around a lot of people I get to be with my thoughts and hear what’s going on with me.
I get to just feel.
I get to admire the scenery.
Walking is a time to release. And when I’ve done intense cardio in the past, same thing. Exercise is a time to release whatever is inside and just focus on the here and now.
It’s so freeing, so liberating to focus on the here-and-now with the body.
During that time my creative self is sorting through things without my oversight. Afterwards I know I will feel refreshed and able to access the new ideas that are ready to come forth. Or if I’m in an editing period, like now, exercise is a great way to allow myself to sift through whatever problems I’m having and find solutions.
What do you know now about self-care that you wish you knew earlier in your writing career?
I wish I knew how much exercise is really the first half of the creative writing phase.
First there’s exercise then there’s working on my book. It really goes well together.
When I first started writing I didn’t realize how important physical movement was to me specifically for the creative process. I also didn’t know at the time how much I needed just to have movement as a general well-being practice in my life.
Of all your published novels, which was the most fun to write, and why?
OMG you want me to choose lol.
That is always so hard to do.
I would have to say the most fun to write was an unpublished novel called April’s Folly. It was the second novel I wrote and it only took me 6 weeks.
It was my first experience writing fast on a complete novel, and it was super fun. I let my imagination take me wherever I wanted to.
At some point I will rework this novel and release it. I don’t know when.
Can you give us a sneak peek into your current work-in-progress?
Sure! I am doing the final edits to book 4 in my Janey McCallister Mystery series. Space station mysteries. Think CSI in space.
This book will be the completion of this set. But I have more Janey McCallister mysteries coming! In fact, I’ve mapped out a handful of stories that will be released in the coming years.
Special! Read the first in series for free here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/4m4acpu0bn (sign up required).
To learn more about Writer Self Care, read Lisa’s recent blogpost about this here: https://digitalraconteur.wordpress.com.
Follow Lisa’s writing activities on her Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/lisatowleswriter
ABOUT LISA TOWLES
Lisa Towles is an award-winning, Bay Area, crime novelist. Her upcoming thriller, Ninety-Five, will be released by Indies United Publishing in November of 2021. Her last two thrillers, The Unseen and Choke, each won two literary awards, and she has 4 additional mysteries published under Lisa Polisar. Learn more about Ninety-Five here and more about Lisa on her website.
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