C. G. Drews: Hardworking Creative
If you are at all active in the book blogging and/or social media world, you’ll recognize Cait from Paper Fury immediately. I’ve been following her brilliant blog for a couple of years, and today I am so excited for her to share some advice with all of you–AND to talk about her book that’s coming out soon!
Tell us in one sentence what you do and why you do it.
I’m an author and blogger because I’m absolutely in love with storytelling and I want to share it and experience it and hopefully become one with my bookshelf (shh, I’m sure this will work).
What does it mean to you to be a hardworking creative?
Believing in yourself and keeping on working, even if you don’t always feel like it. (Sometimes you have to chase inspiration and shout at it to behave a bit, right?!)
When, how, and why did you start writing and blogging?
I started writing novels at age 15 and blogging at 16! Writing has always been my dream and then my sister scooted me into blogging, which I’m eternally grateful for, because it’s been an extraordinary 7 past years being surrounded by books, stories, and lovingly shouty readers.
How old were you when you began your career? Was it difficult to be young in your industry? Do you feel like you were looked down on and not taken seriously?
I signed with my agent at 19 and honestly my age didn’t affect me at all! I didn’t declare my age while querying because there was no need. When it comes to climbing into the author industry, treat yourself as a professional and that’s how other people will treat you.
What was something that surprised you when you began blogging and writing books—something you didn’t expect, whether good or bad?
For the blogging: I didn’t expect to make so many really amazing friends. I’ve met the best people through blogging and I’m so lucky. For writing: I didn’t realise how many times I’d have to reread and edit my own book. Haha! I feel like I’ve read my debut 2989 times and could recite it backwards.
What are your long-term and short-term goals with your work?
My goals have always been (1) get published!! and (2) keep getting published so I can fill a whole shelf with my own books, and (3) walk into a bookstore and see my book on a shelf.
What’s the most effective way that you have advertised yourself?
I spend a lot of time on social media, so Twitter and Instagram are my favourite places. I find the best way to lure my audience into my work is by being funny and positive! People really like to laugh and they keep coming back to content that makes them feel good.
How important is social media when interacting with your fan base, and how did you build your social media following?
Like I said, I’m a huge fan of social media and it’s been really fun seeing how excited my friends and followers are about getting to read my book! They’ve stuck with my through 7 years and so seen the ups and downs of the process. And I also think my #1 secret to building my audience was being super friendly and supporting people who supported me.
What’s your number one secret to productivity?
I’m actually highly competitive and also an overachiever so my secret to being super productive is just wanting to beat my own goals. Also rewards are good. Who can say no to: write a book = you get some chocolate cake?! Perfect.
How important do you think it is to have a mentor figure to help you along the way? Do you have this figure, and if so, where did you find them?
I actually haven’t had a consistent mentor figure throughout my writing life…but I’ve had plenty of fantastic peers and we’ve learned and grown together. Maybe there’s excess stumbling around in the dark without a mentor to give tips, but it’s also great to have people who are in the same space as you are and aren’t too intimidating. I met my writing friends through blogging!
How did you go about creating your “brand,” and what tips do you have for young creatives who are trying to brand themselves?
Be consistent with whatever you choose! I built myself around being funny + lots of bright and bold colours + mentioning cake at any giving opportunity. And, for those starting out, don’t emulate your heroes too much. Find your brand and voice and it’ll be easier to keep up because it’ll be natural to you!
What gets the creative process kick-started for you?
I kind of never stop! I’m always plotting and planning my next writing project and thinking about my next blog post, and filling my in-between-times with music and books and totally quiet and calm world domination plans (mwahahah).
What advice do you have for young creatives who want to do something with their work but just can’t seem to get off the ground?
Sometimes you have to force yourself into the next step. It’s really scary to edit or get beta-readers or even get right up to querying, but you really really have to want it and then you really really have to go for it. You won’t get to the next stage of Being Better until you hurtle yourself into a few risks.
TELL US ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR BOOK!
A Thousand Perfect Notes is the story of Beck Keverich, a boy who both loves and hates the music that rules his life. He’s forced to play piano by his mother – and failure to find perfection ends in violence. It’s only when he makes an unlikely friend at school (who is the actual definition of rainbows and puppies) that he dares believe he’s not worthless.
Hey fellow hardworking creatives, what aspects of Cait’s career can you relate to? What did you take away from this interview that can help? Any other book bloggers or authors out there?