Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Interview with Tisha Tolar
Tisha is a full time writer of non-fiction materials for the Internet market. She makes a living providing web content for a multitude of clients in a variety of industries. She began her online writing career in 2007 by chance after meeting her now business partner, Debbie Dragon, through an online job posting. Forming a working relationship via Instant Message, the two set the stage for the writing e-course, MakeMoneyFromWriting.com which teaches others how to make money writing for the online market. Prior to establishing herself as a freelance writer, Tisha wrote her first full length manuscript in 6 weeks just to see if she could do it. She decided to dust off the manuscript on the advice of her colleagues in 2008, finally self-publishing her debut Gen X in the summer of 2009. She currently is the editor and contributor to several major websites, including Wisebread.com and actively works to promote her novel and her company, Trifecta Strategies. Since the novel’s release, Tisha has participated in several local book signings as well as a reading awareness program for local elementary school children. Tisha is a Schuylkill County native. She is married and has one daughter.
BDWN: Thanks for speaking with me, Tisha! We're so glad to have you as our presenter at our meeting this month!
TISHA: Thanks, Sara for inviting me to be the featured speaker at this month’s BDWN meeting. I am really looking forward to it and I thank you and all of the members for the opportunity. I had so much fun and took home so much from the January meeting. Your group is such a necessary resource for writers and I am glad to be a part of it.
BDWN: Can you tell me a little bit about your job as a full-time freelancer and your company, Trifecta Strategies?
TISHA: My job requires me to write every day, in some capacity. I am also the marketing strategist at the company, writing marketing materials and sending emails to promote our services. Trifecta Strategies is an online content writing company, meaning we write content used on websites, articles, blog posts, and e-books for a variety of clients and industries. We also manage the content by adding it to the websites directly, using social media to promote it, and building links back to our clients’ websites. There are three of us that make up Trifecta Strategies and we all maintain our own clients as well as shared work. We also manage several of our own websites and blogs under Trifecta. Plus, we have developed a program to teach others how to do what we do, which can be found at MakeMoneyfromWriting.com. We are growing and now work with a great team of subcontract/freelance writers to accommodate our work load.
BDWN: How did you get the idea for your novel, Gen X?
TISHA: I had the idea for Gen X many moons ago when I was actually living in Philadelphia and going to art school. It was a little autobiographical with a ‘what if’ twist in the beginning. It wasn’t until more than 10 years later that I actually sat down to write the story in 2006. It was 2003 when I came up with the name for the book. The idea, title, and storyline had stuck with me all those years. When I sat down to write it, I did so just to see if I could. I had no plans to publish but eventually I shared the completed manuscript with others who thought I was crazy for not doing anything more with it. I started querying agents (a LOT of agents) and after a year, I got tired of waiting for someone to make something to happen – so I did it myself. I self-published last summer and still work weekly on promoting the book.
BDWN: It seems like it would be a difficult transition from nonfiction to fiction. What kind of challenges did you experience?
TISHA: Honestly, I was a fiction writer first but I didn’t realize it. I only wrote out Gen X as a challenge to myself and never thought twice about it making me a writer. I was one of those people who still at 30 wondered what she was going to be when she grew up. I fell into writing by accident but when I did I knew I FINALLY figured out where my journeys had been leading me.
I don’t think there is any difficulty for transitioning from fiction to non-fiction and vice versa. For me the bigger challenge is finding balance as a work-at-home writer/mom/wife. Running a business is tough and can often be a roller coaster but I love every minute of it. I could say my biggest challenge between fiction and non fiction is finding time to write the fun stories because the fact stories are a priority since they pay cash.
BDWN: Do you have a preference of fiction or nonfiction?
TISHA: As an online writer, there is no subject I am not asked to write about. From the most boring to the most over-your-head topics imaginable – I’ve written some weird stuff. After doing this for so many years, there are some topics that I once knew nothing about and now I can just write articles off the top of my head. I really enjoy the research and non-fiction writing and it comes easy to me.
I wish I had more discipline and time to write fiction. I literally have a handful of stories started and I continually update the story lines in my head all the time but I never sit down to write them out. I think it is because I spend so much time already at the computer writing for work that writing fiction doesn’t always seem like such a fun idea. When I wrote Gen X I do recall being completely fascinated by how the story in some parts just wrote itself.
The answer to your question is I haven’t a preference – I enjoy it all.
BDWN: Do you think writers should just focus on honing their skills in one genre, or should we dabble in whatever interests us?
TISHA: I think they should do whatever suits them. ‘They’ tell us write what you know. I do believe in that piece of advice. But I think as any kind of writer, you need experiences. Take yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time and see what you can do. I never thought I would be a writer at all. When I was young, I was good at writing quirky rhyming poems and stories but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a writer of both non-fiction and fiction – until I tried it. You have to really put yourself out there to be writer of any kind. If you want to focus on one area – great but don’t forget to explore what else is out there even if it is just in little peeks.
BDWN: Since you already spend most of your day writing, was it easier to find time to spend working on the novel?
TISHA: I didn’t have that problem in the beginning because I wrote Gen X before I became a full-time, online writer. Now it is a big problem as I’ve mentioned. People ask all the time ‘when is book two coming out?’. I have started it and I know what is going to happen for the most part but finding a few more hours in a day to sit back down at the computer while my daughter is bored isn’t always practical. I do have spurts of motivation that helps but I think for true motivation to occur, Gen X will have to take on a life of its own and force me to complete the rest of the series. I hope that isn’t the case but right now, it’s the reality.
BDWN: Can you give us a little sneak peek of your presentation at the BDWN meeting on February 20?
TISHA: Since I already had the pleasure of meeting with the group in January, I am a bit more open to letting the questions lead the way for the discussion. I plan to talk a little bit about how I became a non-fiction writer and how much that has helped me with my fiction writing, especially the promotional end of things. I have made a name for myself online, I have learned the ropes of online promoting, and I use all of these skills to promote my self-published novel, Gen X. Even if I was working with a major publisher and agent, I would still be required to self-promote my little heart out. No one is going to do it for me (not even your family and friends) and because of my non-fiction writing I have learned so much. I also wanted to share a few insights about how to become an experienced online writer to help springboard other writing success.
BDWN: What do you hope the members will get from your presentation?
TISHA: Motivation. I think that is the number one priority for writers. If I had a quarter (inflation) for every time I heard someone say ‘I should write a book…’, I wouldn’t be very worried about making a living as a writer. I want people to realize that there is more out there than this one book they created. I was personally amazed at the guts people showed during the last meeting. They were so willing to share and the listeners were so welcoming. That goes a long way to helping people ditch the fear and really believe in what they can do. Ask my closest friends and they will tell you I can probably convince a fish to buy a glass of water. However, public speaking is not my forte and I hope people will see that stepping outside your comfort zone is good for the soul. I also hope people who might be interested in exploring online writing will take the opportunity to learn more about how they can make a career doing what they love – writing.
Thanks again, Tisha!
Learn more about Tisha's company at www.trifectallc.com
Learn more about Gen X at www.genxthenovel.com