I met Wendy Van Eyck, as I meet many writers, online. Then, I had the honor of reading her new e-book. I was inspired by her vivacity, her honesty, and her spirit. I think you will be, too.
1. Tell me about your latest project.
I just put together an ebook called Life, Life and More Life. It’s a 45-page ebook sharing thoughts about how to embrace life everyday but perhaps especially in the midst of hard times. I wrote this book while my husband was going through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant for Hodgkins Lymphoma. Even though the last two years have been exhausting for both of us, I think that we’ve learned a lot about what brings meaning to life and I wanted to share that in this book.
2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?
I was always the kid who had her nose in a book. Reading is just something I took too. I will pretty much read anything I can get my hands on. Whether it is fiction, non-fiction, self-help. There is just something about discovering other worlds and ways of thinking that can only be captured through words.
3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?
I don’t really have a writing routine at the moment. I’m busy juggling two jobs at the moment. So about 60-70 hours of my week are taken up with work. I have to fit writing in around that. I pretty much just write whenever I have the time. I set myself targets and goals of what I need or want to write that week and then I don’t wait to feel like writing I just do it.
4. Who are you reading now?
This year I set myself the target of reading 52 books. I managed to do that by the beginning of July. Mostly because I spent so much time in doctors’ waiting rooms and hospitals with my husband. Since he has been out, I haven’t managed to read much. I am however planning on reading Sarah Thebarge’s Invisible Girls, Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, and Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Pastrix when I’m on holiday in October.
5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?
Blue like Jazz by Donald Miller. Simply because it was the first time I read a memoir like that. It opened up a whole new world of reading and writing to me. After that book, I discovered Anne Lamott and other Christian authors who wrote in the same style. I realised that it was possible to write honestly and beautifully without compromising what I believe.
Uprising by Erwin Raphael McManus. This book captured my soul. It made me want live an extraordinary life.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This novel is just beautiful. It is one of my favourites and one of the few books I’ve read more than once.
6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?
I had written on and off for the last few years on various blogs before I started my current blog, ilovedevotionals.com. I’ve had better traffic to it then any of my previous blogs even though the content is pretty similar. I think the difference was that I decided to just write one kind of thing, in my case devotionals. I set up a schedule to post twice a week and I’ve just done that. Then because devotionals are quite a restrictive style of writing I set goals for myself to write at least two other articles or guest posts a month. I don’t have a lot of time to write or build a platform so I’ve really focused on what I can do and tried to do that consistently and well.
7. What is a typical day like for you?
As a television producer I don’t have a lot of typical days. But most days, I wake up around 6am. If my husband and I are feeling energetic, we’ll head to the gym for an hour before arriving at work around 8:30. If I can, I try to fit some writing in my lunch break. Most of the day is spent at work, and then I head home at 16:30. My second job is mostly online, so if I don’t have an in-person meeting, I’ll spend a couple of hours writing marketing plans or posting to social media for them. Then it’s supper and maybe an hour of TV with my husband before doing it all again the next day.
8. Describe your dream writing space?
Quiet. I’m not one of those people who can write in a coffee shop or even in a room with other people talking. I get distracted and listen to them instead of writing. I can’t even listen to music and write. For me, anywhere that I can be on my own in silence is the perfect spot to write.
9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?
I think it was when I sent out a book proposal at 20. I just received rejection letter after rejection letter from the publishers. I stopped writing for a while after that because I thought my voice didn’t matter. However, my main means of expressing myself is through writing so I just started again. I think I’ve realised that not everyone is going to like what I say, or how I say it, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write it.
10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?
I’m going to share the best wisdom I received because it changed my writing trajectory and has actually created a minimal income from writing. I was told to find a niche. I chose devotionals. Basically, find something you’re good at,or a field that you’re an expert in, and do lots of that. It might not be what you want to do for the rest of your life–I don’t really want to write devotionals for the rest of my life–but if you do it well, it can open up doors to other writing opportunities.
Wendy van Eyck is married to Xylon, who talks non-stop about cycling and makes her laugh. She writes for anyone who has ever held a loved one’s hand through illness, ever believed in God despite hard circumstances ,or ever left on a spontaneous 2-week holiday through a foreign land with just a backpack. You can follow Wendy’s story and subscribe to receive her free ebook, Life, Life and More Life at ilovedevotionals.com. She would also love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.