Friday, July 26, 2013

How Writers Work: Rick Barry


I welcome Rick Barry to my blog in the third and final installment of the How Writers Work Series. Rick is a writer with a full-time job, a published novelist and President of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)-Indiana Chapter.
 

Give a brief description of your current life situation.
 
In college, I earned a B.S. in Foreign Language Education. For the next five years, I worked as an editor for BJU Press. In 1987 I began evening Russian studies and got involved in Christian ministry to Russia. I now serve as Director of Church Planting Ministries at Baptist International Evangelistic Ministries (BIEM), where I use Russian regularly.

However, during my college years, I began freelancing articles and short stories for various publications. To this day, I continue freelancing, and I also edit Answers magazine for Answers in Genesis. My two published novels to date are Gunner’s Run, a tale of World War II, and Kiriath’s Quest, a young-adult fantasy.


 
With the responsibilities of a full-time job, how do you schedule your writing time?

I believe most writers understand the challenge of writing for publication while holding down a full-time job of any kind. I have tried writing at just about every time of the day. While I will often cram in 20 minutes here or 30 minutes during lunch at my office, those little spurts can leave a writer frustrated despite the fact that the words add up over time. I make the most rapid progress when I make sure my head is on the pillow by 10 pm so that I can rise at 5 am to start the coffee, read my Bible, and then resume writing. You can get a lot done early in the day, at a time when no one interrupts you.
 


Are there any helpful things you use, such as software programs, etc. to help you prioritize and organize?

Personally, I use no special software. However, for a project of any length at all, I will have two Word docs for the project. One document is the actual story. The other document contains all the miscellaneous bits and pieces of research, details, and plot ideas that I might incorporate int the story. If I get an inspiration for a cool plot twist while driving, I might jot it down on a napkin (yes, while driving--Yikes!), but as soon as I can, I will add that note to my ideas document. When I actually use an element from the Idea document, I highlight it in gray to remind myself that I've already incorporated it into the story.
 

How do you balance your other commitments such as family and church obligations and still maintain a consistent writing schedule?

For me, family time trumps my creative compulsion. Occasionally, we have had family gatherings at stages where my author side is dying to get back to the keyboard, but the manuscript must wait. Real family is a God-given responsibility for everyone, including authors. The same is true of church attendance and the ministries of my church. If I were to start skipping church in order to write stories for the Lord, that would be more than a little hypocritical. So I do attend services, substitute teach for Sunday school, and stay involved in other ways, but at the same time, I don't say "Yes" to every request.

 

What advice would you give to writers who want to quit their “day jobs” to write?

Early in my freelance writing, I was shocked when I heard a writing coach make the statement that most writers have a regular job to earn a living, and then they write on the side. I would not advise anyone to rush a decision to quit his or her day job in order to write full time. Especially not a person who is the breadwinner of a family. It's easy to get stars in your eyes and think of the wonderful literary masterpieces you could produce if only you weren't tied to a day job. But reality bites hard at those who make this jump prematurely. Unless you have a patron who will support you, I would recommend waiting until you have a lineup of editors who eagerly want your stories, an equally long lineup of ideas for future projects, an agent who love your work, and enough money in the bank that you could live for the better part of a year without income.

 
Thank you, Rick, for sharing your writing life with my readers.

 
You can read more about Rick at: http://rickbarry.blogspot.com/
 

 
How about you? What is one thing that keeps your writing time consistent?

 







 


 

 

10 comments:

  1. Great interview with a VERY talented author! I posted the link on our Indiana ACFW FB page.
    :-)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Millie and for posting on the Indiana page.

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  2. Nice interview and great tips! (And be careful when you're driving and jotting notes! LOL)

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    1. Thanks for commenting Cherie, good to hear from you.

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  3. Thanks, Millie, and to Cherie I will say, YES, it is better to wait until a traffic light for jotting notes. But when you're on the interstate highway, you have to do what you have to do! ;)

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  4. Great insights, Rick. Thanks, Tammie, for putting up this series. I think about the time to write often, especially this week when I've been visiting family, a little unexpectedly, and had planned to finish my current novel (but won't now...) by today. If I have (only) an hour to write in between appointments, I often won't take it because it's Only an hour and I know I won't be able to stop when that hour is up. Since I work at writing full-time and more, my sense of grabbing those precious minutes has gone by the wayside.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to share this observations, Lisa.

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  5. I learned so much about Rick I didn't know. Excellent interview. Loved it.

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    1. Thanks, Karla. Glad you stopped by. It is always neat to learn more about our fellow writers.

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  6. Thanks again to Tammie for the chance to share with others!

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