Saturday, March 31, 2007

Interview: Alyice Edrich

Alyice Edrich has been writing from home since 1999, when she was encouraged by her mother-in-law to pursue a book idea. The book never became published, due to various circumstances, but it was just the nudge she needed to start an exciting career as a freelance writer.

After years of hard work, studying, and dedication, she produces an award-winning publication known as The Dabbling Mum®, three free e-zines, and has self-published several books. She also ghost writes for small businesses, writes columns for both print and online magazines, and has had a few articles included in book compilations.

Some consider her “Super Woman” but she says she’s just a mom with a dream who works very hard at making it all work together. Learn how she manages to juggle it all in our exclusive, one-on-one interview!

1. What came first, being a writer or a mother?

Definitely being a mother came first. When I was a little girl, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I could think of nothing more than being a mother. I wanted to have a family of my own one day and raise beautiful, God-fearing, God-loving, happy, healthy, joy-filled children.

When I looked towards my future, I saw Christmases filled with my children and their families—grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, aunts, and uncles—all gathered around a warm fire, listening to Christmas gone by, laughing and giggling as we waited for Santa Clause to come with presents to unwrap. I saw family vacations in Hawaii and the Bahamas and Dude Ranches where we gathered once a year just to relish our time together.

Those are still dreams I hold dear and pray will one day come to pass.

Writing didn’t really take shape, as a career, until my daughter died several years ago. I journaled 24 hours a day through my grief. I journaled about anger and hurt and confusion. I journaled the whys and hows and the good memories. I journaled because I felt closer to by daughter and to God, because it somehow gave me hope and peace of mind. One day, my mother-in-law read my journal entries and told me I should get it published. So I sought publication. It went to the final stages of a big time publisher before it was turned down for being too narrow a market. That fueled the flames to consider writing for a living.

Then one day, after starting a career as a Mobile Notary, I wrote a book on the subject—a book because there wasn’t any of its kind and I wanted to share what I learned, I wanted my life to count for something and it was fun earning money doing something I had a natural talent to do—write.

Researching ways to market that book, I began writing free articles in exchange for advertising. The next thing I knew, I was querying newspapers, small magazines, and starting my own magazine. All it took was a spark—one person’s interest in my writing to tell me that all those years I had written “books” to friends meant there was a writer within trying to get out.


2. How do you manage your work day? Can you give us a ‘day in the life’ snapshot of a regular work day for you?

Over the years I’ve tried many different routines, but I think I’ve finally found one that works for me—though I do occasionally sway from it.

I wake up every morning to breakfast with the kids. In the past, they’d skip breakfast, but after my mom died, I began reading feverently about health and nutrition and taking care of our bodies and realized that even though they hated breakfast, it was too important to skip! So now I have a little breakfast schedule on the refrigerator—ever meal takes no more than 20 minutes to make. I get up early—no small feat since I am not a morning person—and we eat breakfast together. (A true blessing came when the other day my son was asked to say prayers and he said, “I’m thankful for breakfast in the morning.” I looked at him in bewilderment, and he said, “What? It’s true.” Out of the mouth of a 16 year old!)

After the kids leave for school, I check my email and make an entry in my personal blogs (http://shoutlife.com/dabblingmum and http://myspace.com/dabblingmum). Monday, Wednesay, and Friday I post a Q&A on DM Speaks (http://thedabblingmum.blogspot.com/). It’s a fun blog filled with expert advice from business owners, writers, authors, and literary agents. I give myself an hour for this.

Once that is done, I sit down to read my Bible, pray, and then exercise.

I usually start work around 11 am.

My work time varies: writing blog posts for clients, writing columns for online magazines, writing articles or web content for small businesses, or writing content for my latest e-book.

When I am done with work that has to get done I look for more work. I check out job boards like craigslist.com or search online for keywords like, “bloggers for hire” or “parenting articles wanted”. If something catches my eye and the pay is right, I put in a bid.

Sometimes, I write articles that I distribute for free in exchange for advertising space. This is explained in more detail in an article I wrote called, Marketing with Articles. (http://www.thedabblingmum.com/books/marketing_acampaign.htm)

And then there are the days I spend hunting down places to advertise—which is no small task, let me tell you! Advertising in print publications can be quite costly, yet advertising is vital to the success of my e-book business. Sometimes, I am lucky to find online newsletters that I can barter advertising with—they advertise in my e-zine in return I advertise in theirs.

When work is done—usually around 5 pm—I begin cooking dinner for the family. If the kids are in a playful mood, we’ll play a board game. If not, I will watch a television show with them. My daughter is a huge t.v. buff, so we enjoy watching a show and talking about it together. Other times, they just like to be left alone and I give them that space—that option to choose.


3. What is your greatest challenge as a writing mother and how do you overcome it?

My greatest challenge is stopping. As a sole proprietor, everything falls into my lap—advertising, public relations, publicity, marketing, web design, accounting, writing, correspondence, and so forth. There never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I want to accomplish and it is easy to get burnt out.

Another challenge is getting started. There are days when I simply do not want to work—when I’d rather play hookie surfing the web, getting outside, visiting with people. And I have to force myself to work because if I don’t make time to work, my business will not succeed.

Let me give you an example.

Two years ago, I was making nearly $50,000 from home, before expenses, writing for others and selling my e-books. Last year we moved to a new state and to be quite honest, I was burnt out. I needed a break. I was overdue for a break. I had been going non-stop since I started the business and during those years we moved five times, to five different states, and my husband was a full time college student for three of those years. A lot of weight was on my shoulders and last year I just couldn’t do it anymore. My taxes came back from the tax lady this year. I made $31,000 from home, before expenses—and if I were to be quite honest, half of that was from e-book sales! I literally had to force myself to work every day of last year.

Thank you Alyice!

4 comments:

sherry mc ginnis said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I too, lost a child and that is what prompted me to write a book. I published "I Am Your Disease (The Many Faces of Addiction)" by Outskirts Press in October, -06.

Since then I have written for some online sites. I took early retirement in '05 and since then have been writing and writing and writing. Who knew I would find a new career at the age of 63?

Writing has helped save my sanity (well at least a lot of it) but I don't know how to reach out and expand to bigger markets.

If you have any advice concerning this I sure would appreciate it.

Thanks,
Sherry
www.iamyourdisease.com

With Alyice Edrich said...

Hi Sherry!

Wow 63 years young and starting a new career! What an inspiration!

I have a colleague who tells me the only way to expand to bigger markets is to start their first. Write a query letter for the highest paying market. If you get turned down, go to the next on your list. And keeping going down that list until you get an acceptance, even if it means that only the lowest paying market buys it.

Sometimes it's all about timing and you'll never know unless you just get out there and make it happen.

Jerry D'Eliso said...

Hi Alyice. I'm sorry that you lost a child - I wrote of this once, perhaps I can share it with you. I haven't lost a child but for a time, when our youngest had Hodgkins Limphoma, it was always there, the possibility; I don't have words to describe the deep sadness, but the Lord! That's a great phrase, "but the Lord!" He alone has all that one would need to deliver from such a time. And then, we know, we know, we know, that our little one could not be in a better place, looking into the face of the Savior, and we will embrace again.
I'm going to use some of your ideas as a guide; attach certain aspects of it to my life as a writer...I can always use help, especially when it comes from the only Source of all profound help, God, Himself. Thanks for writing this piece - your wisdom and common sense exceed your age - it's Godly, indeed. Jerry D'Eliso

With Alyice Edrich said...

Thank you guys for the heartfelt sympathy over the loss of my daughter. It's been a few years now and God has moved me forward in healing and strength and forgiveness and I can honestly say that I once again feel blessed to be living and have the life God has given me.

I truly believe that through our pain God can use us to minister to others. I think the hardest part is getting past the pain, though.