Today I’m turning over my space to a new friend many of you already know – Starr Bryson. I met Starr recently through a pretty terrific bloggers group and the next thing I knew, I was helping out with blog tours for indie authors and loving every minute of it.
As most of you know, I am in the process of reinventing myself in a number of ways so I decided to pick Starr’s brain a bit about her process of reinvention and how she arrived at the version of herself she is right now.
What I love about Starr is that she is smart, funny, completely forthright, and delightfully easy to work with. Grab your coffee and listen in on our virtual sit-down…you’ll see what I mean.
Tell us a little bit about your new business for those who may not know – what is it, why are you doing it, etc.?
Starry Knight Word Slayers is the end result of the combination of two ideas. I have always wanted to have my own business (virtual and online) for my freelancing services. Something more than just a tab on my blog, an actual storefront to sell my wares, where I could keep a profile of my work and send my clients to.
Then I began doing book promotions and blog tours for local indie authors here in Pittsburgh, and I thought, “Now THIS needs a store!”
I love all things words. Writing. Reading. Sharing. I absolutely love helping authors to promote their books, it’s something I’m really passionate about.
What sort of career did you imagine for yourself when you were a child? In high school? College?
Oh, I always knew I’d be a New York Times bestselling author. *laughs* I did have stints where I wanted to be an actress and even a lawyer. But at the end of the day, I’ve always wanted to write.
This one has sort of an either/or to it – take either route. If your career IS what you imagined, what steps did you take along the way to arrive where you are today? If your career IS NOT what you imagined, what led you to end up where you are now?
My career is nothing at all like I imagined. I always thought I’d be writing novels. In this lofty dream of mine, I’d make a modest income. Fame is great, but I always said I’d be happy with just a handful of loyal readers. If I could make minimum wage writing books, I’d be happy with that.
Instead, I make more money than I ever thought I’d make tapping away at these keys, but I write everything ELSE. I write for other people, I write boring things. I can’t complain though, I do write for a living and I work from home.
This is why I really want to launch Starry Knight Word Slayers. I would be far happier and more satisfied if book promotions were my full time job. As it stands right now, I have a few clients, but not enough to hang up the freelancing hat.
The steps that led me to where I am are not happy ones. I’ve been through a lot of tragedies and made some really bad choices along the way, and sometimes even when I made the right choices, life dealt me some pretty hard blows. I sort of “fell into” the freelancing by accident after I had lost my job and started a blog.
What would you say is the most defining or important moment in your path to where you are in life right now?
As far as writing, I would say when my father brought me a typewriter home when I was 8 years old, and then paid for the typing classes to go with it. He always supported my craft.
The rest – well I’m not even where I want to be in life. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
Would you say that you have reinvented yourself at any point in your life? What led you to do so?
I’ve had to reinvent myself many times, unfortunately. When my oldest son died, I had to reinvent my entire life and figure out how to live in a world without him in it. Then I got a divorce. Then I became a mother again. There was another divorce. I’ve moved across the country and started over five times in my life. I’ve lost both of my parents – my father was especially a blow I’m still reeling from. I’m adjusting to being a partial custody parent – which IS NOT AT ALL where I ever wanted to be as a Mother. I had children so I could be a Mother, and not only half of the time.
I’m still figuring it all out and trying to make my life what I want it to be. Silver linings, lemonade and all of that.
What is your most memorable/favorite job or assignment as a writer?
I would have to say my current ongoing gig, writing entertainment journalism for The Web Graffiti. I get paid to write about movies and comic books, it doesn’t get much better than that. We’ve been on a hiatus for a few months while the e-zine underwent some changes, but I’m happy to say I’m back at it.
What is the one job or assignment you wish you could forget?
*laughs* I can’t say that here.
Is there someone you would name as particularly influential in your past, someone who helped shaped your career now?
My father. He always believed in me and supported my writing. I remember he would take stories or poems I wrote to work with him to show his employees. He was always so proud of whatever I wrote. I miss him so much, every day. I still write for him. A collection of letters I like to imagine he’s still reading.
What advice would you offer someone just starting out as a writer or freelancer?
Don’t quit your day job! I’m only partially joking. I was thrust into this world when I lost my job, but if I had it to do over again I would have saved up a substantial nest egg and built up a client list before delving in full time.
Be picky if you can afford it. Nothing will burn you out faster than churning out articles that are so boring you’d rather stick screwdrivers in your eyes. I actually lost the ability to write creatively, and dare I say it, the love of writing for a short while. I burned myself out by taking on all the jobs, even those I couldn’t stand.
Also, just because you work from home does not mean you should work 12 hour days and weekends. Give yourself a break. Get away from the computer once in a while. Set a work schedule, just like in the “real world”, and stick to it.
What advice would you offer someone just starting their own business?
Don’t do it. Ha, I joke.
Again, unlike me, don’t stumble onto the most fantastic idea you’ve ever had and land yourself gigs doing something you KNOW will make a great business when you don’t have a ton of money saved up. I’m having to run a crowdfunding campaign just to help me launch and I’m still working full time freelancing so I can pay the bills. I’m running book promotions, freelancing, running this crowdfunding campaign, and attempting to launch a business, all at the same time. (Never mind that I would like to SOMEDAY finish a book. *laugh*)
And I’m tired. I’m strung out, stressed out, burned out, and not following any of my own advice from above.
With perseverance and hard work, comes the fruition of dreams. I’ll get there.
If you’d like to support the business, head over and check out the Indiegogo Campaign. Donations are always welcome, but if you can’t afford to invest, please share with friends. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
Starr works from her home in Pittsburgh as a freelance writer. Her professional work includes editing, Social Media marketing and management, ghost writing, content management and SEO for websites, entertainment journalism, and book promotion for self-published authors. In the past, she has taught classes at writers’ conferences in Pittsburgh about freelancing as a career and the best practices for blogging and social media.
Starr’s creative writing ranges from humor laced snarkfests, gritty and painfully raw non-fiction all the way to the dark world of Erotica. The author behind The Insomniac’s Dream, she claims blogging was only the beginning of an amazing freelancing career.
In her spare time, Starr writes fiction and is working on a paranormal novel and companion serial. In addition, she writes short stories and manages a local writing group. When she’s not writing, Starr is kept busy by her two hilarious and fantastically disgusting boys.
Starr enjoys adult grape juice, reading in her non-existent spare time, the occasional Netflix binge, and connecting with other writers and her readers. She loves Halloween, Zombies, and all things horror. She aspires to be a Vampire someday.
Her claim to fame is her caustic wit, copious swears, and an ongoing battle with insomnia. You can catch up with Starr on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. You can see what Starr has published by visiting her Amazon Author Page.