Alana feels a quote she spied some time ago best describes her; “I write better than I talk.” Well before tapping and texting became the thing, Alana’s teenage scrawl flourished only inside folds of notes passed in privacy and journals banked by her bubbling brain.
These days, she’s using all her superpowers to try and smother a fluky career as a fuddling freelancer and a backward bookkeeper using pages and pages of words she whittles out of her wizardly wand.
Home is with her hubby, three teens and one very cute kitty-cat in British Columbia, Canada where she sips on stories, ceremoniously slogs her blog and waits for someone to scream—stop everything, sweep the cinders off that script and step out! Old habits die hard.
Alana shares the word at:
You can enjoy Alana’s winning story, What Matters, here. Remember to come back for her interview!
WOW: Hello Alana, congratulations on being a runner up in WOW’s Summer 2013 Flash Fiction Contest! What Matters is a well delivered, poignant tale. I know it made me think about a few things!
Many writers are intimidated by contests. How have you benefited from taking that leap and entering WOW’s Flash Fiction contest?
Alana: I began entering contests simply to beef up that dreaded cover letter. I was finding a lot of gaps when it came down to proving my street cred. That’s when the idea took hold, only I had no clue how rewarding it would end up being! It was like winning the slots with my very first quarter. I received an honorable mention for my initial entry and that was it, I was hooked.
But besides the recognition, I’ve found a community where I feel I belong, gained confidence, honed my skills and learned to write more succinctly, not to mention, I now feel like I may have finally earned the privilege of saying I’m a writer in a voice that’s a little more than a whisper.
WOW: Yes, I think you can now say that with confidence! How did you come to realize you were a writer?
Alana: Funny this question comes on the heels of what I said above. Talk about calling me on it! Ha ha!
I knew I had an inclination for writing in school and English was always my favorite subject but besides allowing me to ignore the fact that I was positively hopeless in Math and Science, I loved it because it made me feel like something made sense education-wise. I also took writing courses in college and online, but having a love of writing and calling myself a writer have turned out to be two very different things.
It wasn’t until 2009, when I wrote my first (and as of yet unpublished) novel that it hit me…I really did want that official title. Firing up my blog in 2011 fueled my motivation and once I nabbed a notch in that first contest it just started raining kerosene.
That’s the sweet thing about writing; it’s there at the ready, no matter how long it has to wait.
WOW: I’ve enjoyed reading your stories--What Matters, and the stories on your blog. Where does your inspiration come from?
Alana: Thank you for the compliment, the congrats, and the visit to my blog!
At the risk of sounding like a drone, life triggers my stories. But whether they began with a spec of reality, or an imagine, often even I can’t remember exactly what started them by the time I’ve finished the shape-shifting. I’ve been plagued with what ifs for as long as I can remember and have turned situations into stories my whole life. My brain is beat with mindful make-believe and I hope it never, ever gets a chance to rest up.
WOW: What has been the most difficult lesson you’ve learned in regards to writing?
Alana: There have been many so far and if I play my cards right, there’ll be more. I’ve learned that it’s up to me. If I want it, I need to push myself.
Just because I’ve decided I’m ready to crack champagne over the bow of my heart and heave my soul out to sea doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is going to want a boarding pass. I have to be open to this, understand and accept possible reasons why. Be wise to the fact that maybe the sun doesn’t rise and set on everything I do. Be willing to shift with the wind. But most of all, I have to keep my head up and continue sailing. It’s the only way to conquer rough waters and land where I intend to be.
It’s not always about validation and we should never compromise ourselves, but we do write for an audience and, for me, that’s because I want and need feedback. I long to hear what people think of my work and it’s the desire to improve that puts my heart in a well-packed crate. A rogue wave or the odd slam won’t break me.
WOW: That’s a great attitude to carry forward! In closing, what are your writing goals for 2014?
- I will definitely continue my blog and aim to grow a larger, interactive audience.
- Enter and win (!) more writing contests. We have to manifest positivity, right?
- Get at least one of my short stories published.
- Re-edit my existing novel and get the darn thing represented.
- Start a new novel.
- And, of course, to do this all of this, my ultimate goal is to snag a whole lot more writing time.
WOW: We’re thrilled to have you! Be sure to let us know when your novel is accepted.
Get involved! Join us for the Winter 2014 Flash Fiction Contest.