What does it take to be a writer today? With all the new opportunities the internet has given us, it seems I’m not the only one with this question. Laura is here to answer how she made her dream of being a writer come true.
I met Laura at Dan Louche’s Tiny House workshop in Atlanta a few months ago. Her story was so inspiring that it stuck with me. She was kind enough to answer several questions for me about her life as a writer and tiny house builder. I found it to be so full of valuable information that I plan to share this one on my blog (since it also has to do with Tiny Houses), but I wanted you to have the first opportunity to read it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
*Note: I highlighted some of my favorite parts of her answers. She was not emphasizing them herself.*
Interview with Laura LaVoie of Life in 120 Square Feet
Laura: I am not in debt at this time. I am actually in better financial shape than I was when I worked a 40 hour a week job for a good salary. Becoming a freelance writer went hand in hand with moving into the tiny house that my partner and I built ourselves. Our home has no mortgage and no rent. We saved money for 10 years before we bought our land so we could make this dream happen. Our systems are all off the grid so we have no power or water bills to worry about. My consumer debt has always been fairly minimal and I still have a credit card which I pay off each month. Most of my salary when I was working full time went to the mortgage for a large home and the utilities. I’m not the most financially minded person so I try to keep things very simple and don’t spend more than I make. This keeps me out of trouble for the most part.
Laura: The first thing I would suggest is to find a mentor or a network of people who can help you, guide you, and give you advice. My network has been a mix of peers and professionals who act as my sounding board.
Then I reached out to marketing companies and organizations that specialized in a subject for which I was already an expert. In my case, I emailed a company that does marketing and web design for the temporary staffing industry. I sent my resume, told them what I was looking for, about my experience, and asked if they were looking for bloggers. They were and hired me on the spot. They are still my biggest client.
After that I spent a lot of time looking at freelance writing job boards and submitting my resume to everything that I even remotely felt qualified for. There are a few great ones: http://jobs.problogger.
Laura: Yes, I self-published 120 Ideas for Tiny Living. I used CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon, and found the process very user friendly and intuitive. I think the only thing I would have done differently is not procrastinated so much. It took me over a year to get that book out because I kept putting off some of the steps, but they all turned out to be pretty easy.
What is your favorite thing about your book?
Laura: I’m just generally proud that I got it published and that people are reading it. I suppose my favorite section is the one about my cat, Piglet.
Laura: Without the tiny house I would have never felt comfortable quitting my job and becoming a freelance writer. We also put the tiny house in a place we really wanted to live, so that also gave us an opportunity to feel connected to the community. I even got a job at the local Laundromat/Bar because we were spending a lot of time there.
Laura: For our tools we used a combination of battery powered Ryobi tools, a Honda generator, and a cheap set of solar panels. We would take the batteries for the tools back to our house and charge them between building trips. The generator powered larger tools like our compounding miter saw. And the solar panels were a very small system bought from Harbor Freight which could power small things. We didn’t install our final solar power system until after we had moved into the tiny house.
Please share some of your most popular links to your blog posts for those who don’t know much of your story.
Laura: This is a fun question. I went to my blog stats to see what the most popular blog posts of all time were and then I picked my favorites from the list. Here are the ones that people seem to like that I am also proud of.
The first is a post where I was figuring out the philosophy of tiny living. This led to a series of posts about “Deliberate Living.” The next is a post about how no two tiny houses are alike. The third and fourth are practical posts about building an air pressurized shower and installing our solar power system.
Her recent post, “When I Made Excuses,” also shares part of her
journey of following her Big Dreams. You can also check out her book, complete with pictures of her own tiny house.
Thanks for reading!
“How to be a Writer” is a series of interviews with an array of today’s authors who tell the story of how they came to their craft. This one is posted on the blog because it has so much to do with my theme here, but for the most part the other interviews will only appear in my newsletter. If you’d like to continue to take advantage of this FREE writing advice, please sign up for my newsletter (which you can unsubscribe to at any time).