On this episode of the podcast, I hosted two novelists: Shawn Smucker and his wife, Maile Silva, for a literary discussion. Imagine you're at a writing conference and we're on stage to discuss the challenges they face as two writers at different points in the writing journey, living and working and raising a family together.
How do they offer support and input? How do they find time to write? What are they proudest of?
Shawn and Maile touch on topics like creative legacy, writing rejections, self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and being faithful to the work.
Maile Silva and Shawn Smucker (used with permission)
Shawn is an award-winning novelist by night and a collaborator and co-writer by day. He has an honors degree in English, and has been making a living as a writer for eleven years.
Maile has an honors degree in English, has written three novels, and is currently in the querying process, so if that's where you're at, she knows your pain. She has raised six children in the last 17 years and is beginning to have more time to dedicate to her first love…no, not Shawn. Writing. She has taught writing in different settings, including as a table leader for the Black Barn Online.
You might know them from their podcast, The Stories Between Us.
At the end of our chat, they’ll be filling you in on their program The Nine Month Novel. It's currently closed to enrollment. In the meantime, learn from all the wonderful things they shared. Here's a sample:
Shawn, on the writing journey:
One thing that I'm always trying to get across to other writers is that it doesn't matter where you're at in the process, there's always something else that you want. If you don't have an agent, you want an agent, and then when you have an agent, you want to get a book deal.
Or if you're self publishing, you want to sell more books than you're currently selling. And then once you have books published, you wish you could sell more copies, or what's the next series going to be about, or what's the next book.
I think it's good to have goals and it's good to have things that you're shooting for, definitely, but I think one of the most important parts of the writing life is to somehow also enjoy where you're at and to enjoy the writing that you're doing—and for that to be the thing that gets you by. Because if the thing that gets you by is getting to the next level, there are going to be certain levels that you don't hit or certain levels that are really challenging to get to or take a really long time. And those can burn you out if that's your only motivation.
So even though Maile and I are at different places in the journey, we're always encouraging each other: Stay focused on the writing. Enjoy the writing. The writing is never going to let you down.
There are so many parts of the writing journey that will be disappointing, but the writing is always there for you. It's always there for you to work on. It's always there for you to dig into.
Maile, on what she's proudest of:
I think what I would be most proud of is the creative legacy that we're leaving for our kids. And by prioritizing creativity in my own life, I see our kids starting to do that. And that just fills me with so much joy to know that they see the value of doing these things not because they're making money, not because they're getting notoriety from it, but because it's a good thing to do—because it's part of who ...