Author Barbara Morrison feels that working in different genres helps her balance attention to language with a strong structure. “The condensation and attention to individual words and sounds from writing poetry informs my prose, while the narrative structure of prose influences my poetry. Most days I roll a single word around in the back of my mind, poking and prodding at it to see what sounds and associations emerge.”
She says she is working on understanding better what to reveal and what to hold back—how to pace the disclosures in a long narrative. “One approach I’ve been exploring is analyzing mysteries that I admire.”
Finding time to promote her book is a challenge for Barb. ” Between participating in various social networks and working on promotional activities (plus that pesky day job), it’s hard to find time to write. There’s no way to do everything at once, so I pick a few items from my marketing plan to work on each week. I keep a kitchen timer by the computer, so I don’t get carried away following links on social networks. Self-imposed deadlines and a regular writing schedule help as well.”
Barb gives readings and appears at events such as the Virginia Festival of the Book and the Baltimore Book Festival. She also leads writing workshops. She enjoys meeting with book clubs and maintains a book review blog, Monday Morning Books.
She says the best interaction she’s experienced with other writers has been through her local writing community. “These generous folks have been incredibly supportive, critiquing my work, teaching me about writing and promotion, and celebrating my small victories. They also gave me a foot in the door with opportunities for contest wins and publication. In addition, I try to attend at least one conference a year partly to expand my skills and network with other writers and publishers, but mostly for the energy boost I get from being around other writers. Online social networks have helped me promote my work as well as just being fun. The other activities that have been most beneficial are my book clubs and poetry discussion group; hearing what others like and dislike about a work gives me insight into the reader’s point of view and reminds me that readers have different tastes.”
Barb thinks the indie author movement is a great opportunity for writers to get their work in front of readers. “It does put the burden of promotion on the author, but given today’s publishing marketplace, that would be true even with a traditional publisher unless you are already a big name. I got into self-publishing early, inspired by musician friends who bypassed record labels to put out their own CDs.”
Her advice to aspiring writers? “Write a lot. Read a lot. If a book you read strikes you as particularly good, read it a second time, maybe even a third time, reading it as a writer. Figure out what the author did to make it so good. Never stop learning.”
Barb’s book is Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother.
When my marriage dissolved, I found myself with a one-year-old and another baby on the way, no job, no health insurance, no child support, and no savings. As door after door closed in my face, supporting my children became my first priority. Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother tells why I went on welfare, what I learned there, and how I got out.
I use my experiences as a welfare recipient and my friends’ experiences to tell the truth about living at the mercy of the welfare system and to explore what actually works to help families escape from poverty. Innocent offers a powerful personal narrative on important social issues. Part coming-of-age story and part immersion in a foreign culture, this book puts a human face on poverty.
Barbara Morrison is the author of Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother available at her Amazon.com Author Central page. She conducts writing workshops and participates in local literary groups such as the Maryland Writers’ Association and the Baltimore Poetry Discussion Group. You can learn more about Barbara at her website and explore her Monday Morning Book Blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.