Karly Kirkpatrick is a YA author, avid reader, high school German and French teacher, and mother of a little artist. She has taken graduate classes in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University in Chicago and is beginning the screenwriting program at UCLA Extension. She lives in Elgin, Illinois with her husband, daughter, and two stinky Shih Tzus.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers, my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
These are two that inspire me:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~Henry David Thoreau
Being the first child in the family, I’ve always been torn between my practical side and my creative side. When I read these, I feel more confident about pursuing my creative dreams. I think they sort of remind me that I can take risks and not always be the practical one.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far in your writing career?
So many things. It’s super important to make sure you keep reading as well as writing. It makes your writing better. Oh, and never take critiques personally!
Is there a professor/teacher that has left an impression on you in a big way? If so, what did they do that was so different from the others?
I had a lot of great teachers from kindergarten through grad school. Some of them influenced me not because they were my favorite, but because they saw something in me that I didn’t realize was there. A choir professor in college really wanted me to go back to school for vocal performance because she felt I was better than the people who were majoring at our school. I thought I was decent, but not that good. Another professor in grad school was really impressed by a paper I wrote in a Latin American Poly Sci class and wanted me to present it at a conference. I had always been a decent writer, but that made me proud that he thought I produced something so important that others should see it.
Between being a mommy, going to school, and writing full time, how do you manage your time so well?
Great question. I actually work full time and unfortunately can only write part time. I teach every day from 7-3, and try to fit in writing work during my lunch. Sometimes I write, or revise, or read manuscripts from my critique partners. If I’m on a tight deadline, I’ll try to write an hour in the evenings as well and on the weekend. But it’s all about balance. I try to do no more than an hour of writing or revising work a day, because otherwise things get a little crazy. I just have to know my limits. As a result, it takes me longer to write a book and to revise, but I’ve sort of got my pattern down. It makes it easier for me to make it all work. I also have days off and we’re off in the summer. This summer, after I get back from a couple European adventures, I plan to write like it’s my day job, for 3-4 hours at least per day on the weekdays. I have two books I need to write before school starts August 23rd!
If you could send your younger self one tweet, what would you say?
Dream bigger. Take more risks.
If you could pick a word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Insane??? Okay, maybe just hardworking.
Thank you, Karly! Some really great advice!