Carrie Jade Williams Bio:
Carrie-Jade Williams started writing 6 months ago and is loving this new hobby that has snowballed into an obsession! She started with a course with The Novelry. Since then she has been the Finalist in the London Independent Story Prize, selected by the Irish Writers Centre for their Residency program and longlisted/shortlisted for a few others. She has enjoyed completing courses with the Blue Pencil Agency, practicing Flash Fiction with Jude Higgins, and writing articles published in Women Alive, The Leisure Painter and others.
If you haven't done so already, check out Carrie's moving story Shining Armour and then return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: This is such an unexpected year and your essay really resonates with me - Thank you for writing this piece - what is the take-away you'd like readers to gain from Shining Armour?
Carrie: I think the number one thing I would love readers to take away from my work is that life rarely goes as we intend, but even in the darkest moments there are blessing. The only guarantee we have is this moment, so embrace it. Be kind to yourself and others. Love. And stay true to what motivates you.
Now my mantra for writing is different.
1. Write what you have to say for the reader. IT will find a home somewhere.
2. Novels are not the place for stories about ex-boyfriends- put those in personal essays and check you’d want your Mother reading them before you send them out because they might be accepted.
3. Surround yourself with writers who LOVE to write- even if it’s online during Covid.
WOW: All fabulous mantras - thank you thank you thank you!
What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for 2021 and beyond?
Carrie: My writing goal for 2021 is to see if there are any Literary Agents interested in working with me. I’m currently plotting out a second novel and have been asked to consider writing about the realities of being in my 30’s living with a Neurological Illness and the impact misdiagnosis has on my ability to accept my diagnosis.
To date I simply write whatever I love. Writing with a Degenerative Illness is challenging- I regularly forget words and have to use Assistive Technology as I struggle to type anymore so I have to absolutely fall in love or have a sense of urgency about what I write.
I’d love to work on a project that puts a spotlight on removing accessibility barriers too.
WOW: Your writing is very wise - as a wiser writer now, do you have advice for your younger self when it comes to making decisions, believing in yourself, and/or writing? What would your current self say to the younger you?
Carrie: As someone living with a Degenerative Illness if I could go back to my younger self I would simply say “Don’t put things off- do everything you love now.” Unfortunately, I think I made the mistake a lot of people do and think that I will do things later, after next year, when I retire.
One of the blessings of being diagnosed with a life limiting illness is that I’ve prioritized things. I wrote a Bucket List and am working my way through it. Writing was one of the things on my Bucket List and since then so many amazing opportunities have opened up. I’ve been blessed to meet some awesome writers and learn more about the Arts World.
My hope for others is that they can find that sense of freedom in life without a Terminal diagnosis.
WOW: Thank you for these inspiring words; great conversation with a younger you and with the rest of us!
Do you often enter contests or is this a first? What would you like to tell other authors concerning contests and submitting their work?
Carrie: This was one of the first contests I’d entered. Essentially, I get really bad Imposter Syndrome as a writer as I’ve no training, so I decided to try and get 100 rejections in the year (I’ve only been writing for 6 months) and out of those rejections I’ve had a number of acceptances which is mind blowing.
Jude Higgins runs a great Flash Fiction workshop every Tuesday over zoom and Alison Powell who runs a WriteClub group which I have learnt a lot from. Both of these groups help me plant the seeds of stories and essays that I then submit into the world.
Personally, I never take rejection personally, but would love there to be a more compassionate conversation around rejection and the Arts. If my story can prove anything it’s this- if you are writing share your work, I have no training, a broken brain and am pretty useless at editing but the world wants to hear our stories. Share!
WOW: Great suggestion - feedback is helpful and compassionate feedback is worth embracing!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Carrie: At the moment I am reading This Happy by Niamh Campbell. Not only is this a brilliant novel but she is a beautiful soul. I was blessed to spend time learning from her at a recent retreat and she shared some great advice.
As a writer I’ve also been really lucky to have other writers share their knowledge including Louise Dean, Katie Khan, Emylia Hall (everyone at The Novelry) and will always be grateful for their commitment to nurturing new writers. So, if you’d asked me 6 months ago my favorite I would have answered differently- whereas now I want to support Authors who take the time to share the craft, who write from their heart and who have made space for someone like me at the table in a world that would otherwise be closed off.
WOW: Such excellent thoughts Carrie - I'm so glad we had this time together today!