Interview with Victoria Shockley – writer at North Carolina State University
When did you get started with your writing?
Honestly I didn’t decide to pursue a writing career until after I applied for college (originally I tried for design school, but was rejected – very glad about that now that I’ve discovered my passion for writing!), but I’ve always been interested in the field. During high school, my friends and peers would always come to me asking for edits on their essays (this happens in college now as well), and I always excelled in my Honors-level English classes. I thought about becoming a novelist, but realized I didn’t have the
kind of creativity required to create a full-length fictional story. After my first year of college, I started pursuing internships and searching for opportunities to gain writing and editing experience outside of class. It’s been a very successful and exciting endeavor! I’m currently working on two internships, one virtual and one on-site, as well as doing freelance writing and editing in both fiction and nonfiction.
What is your biggest reward in writing?
I would say my biggest reward is just seeing what I can do with words. I’ve always found it fascinating how people can string together a only few words and yet have them contain so much meaning and emotion, or how they can craft beautiful sentences that cause you to feel as if you’re actually there with the character (in fiction), or that you have a crystal clear idea of what is being said (in nonfiction). I do my best to achieve both of those effects
when I’m writing (although since I focus on nonfiction material, the former usually occurs through editing others’ fiction works).
What are your current writing projects?
Right now I’m working as a writing/editing intern with North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering. My first assignment is to be in charge of the newsletter for the College of Materials Science and Engineering. It’s pretty interesting material, and I’m excited to see the finished product when it’s published in late October. I’m also working as the assistant editor of the online magazine Women Writers, Women Books, which means I write and edit blog posts, handle some of the queries for submissions, utilize social media like Twitter and LinkedIn, and format content using WordPress. Being a part of the magazine has taught me some valuable skills – it’s been and continues to be a rewarding experience!
How are you marketing yourself as an up-and-coming writer?
I’m definitely trying to get my name out there as a writer, so I’ve been heavily relying on LinkedIn, Twitter, and email to help me out with that. Whenever I have spare time, I follow writers, editors, publishers, and bloggers on Twitter, or I send out tweets asking for them to follow me. On LinkedIn, I’ve sent connection requests to others in my field and introduced myself; I’ve also joined dozens on LinkedIn groups related to writing, editing, and publishing in order to meet and network with others like myself. Finally, I’ve sent out emails to many freelancers and authors introducing myself and letting them know I’m looking for new opportunities if they ever need any help. I’ve learned some valuable tips and advice from their responses!
What is some of the best advice you have received about writing?
I’ve been lucky enough to hear a lot of advice and tips over the years, but I would have to say the best help I’ve received so far is as follows. First, just write. Get that first draft down – don’t worry about expanding your paragraphs or fine-tuning your sentences on the first pass. This will only slow you down and perhaps even frustrate you if you’re on a deadline. Just get your framework written, and then you can worry about fixing it and adding more later. Second, know your audience and the style you’re expected
to use for your writing. If you’re writing a blog post, you don’t want to use language meant for academia. If you’re writing in AP style, such as for a newspaper, don’t include an Oxford/serial comma – even if you personally support its use!
Where can others learn more about you and your writing?
They can check out my website at http://victoriashockleywrites.wordpress.com/ (I always welcome feedback and comments on it!), follow me on Twitter (@Victoria_Writes), or visit my LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/victoriashockley. I’m an open networker on LinkedIn, so feel free to connect with me!
A question for fun sake—who is your favorite author and why?I thought long and hard about this question, but I just can’t choose one favorite. I adore reading; when I was younger, I would go to the library and bring home stacks of books almost as tall as I was! The librarians started to offer me plastic bags in which to carry them all. One summer, I read over 400 books just for fun! However, I can tell you -some- of my favorite writers, and they are: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Meg Cabot. The first two are my favorites because I love science fiction, and I think their stories
are interesting, engaging, and include some great imagery. I like Meg Cabot because I love the voice she uses in her writing! It makes you relate to her characters and feel like you’re hearing their stories in real life, rather than reading them on a page.