Monday Spotlight on Donna Clark Goodrich
Thanks for joining us today, Donna. With your vast experience in the writing field I am sure you have much wisdom to impart.
Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?
I read so many books as a child (as my mother said, “Donna always has her nose in a book”), I don’t know if I had a favorite. I read a lot of Nancy Drew mysteries and the Cherry Ames nurse series. Later one of my favorites was “The Little Engine That Could.” I liked the idea that something others thought impossible, I realized I could do if I put my mind to it. As a teen I also liked the Lloyd C. Douglas series: “Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal,” “Green Light,” etc.
I don’t know if I have a favorite book as an adult, but one that really inspired me was “You Can Tell the World,” a book for writers by the late Sherwood Wirt.
I also read a lot of Nancy Drew books and loved The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
My favorite Scripture is Isaiah 40:31. This dates back to 1958 when I made a big boo-boo in my new job as secretary to the book editor at a religious publishing house. I walked to church that night, sure that I would be fired. A minister prayed in the service that we would “wait upon the Lord,” that we would “renew our strength,” that we would “mount up with wings as eagles.” Then he prayed, “And Lord, give us pedestrian grace that we would walk and not faint.” (This led to a devotional book with that title.)
No particular verse re: writing.
If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Definitely Scotland! I’ve been there once and love it!
I’d love to visit there, too, as my husband’s ancestry is Scotch/Irish. I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don’t like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
Most of my published books and articles were done on a typewriter and an old word processor–an MTST (Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter). I’ve always said that computers didn’t make me a better writer, but it made me a better editor as it’s so much easier to make changes. I probably submitted a lot of things in my earlier years that could have used editing, but they sold anyway because–in the days before writers’ groups and conferences–editors didn’t have as many manuscripts to choose from. I look now at things I sold back then and cringe! They were written so poorly.
As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
I don’t know if I have had to do that as I don’t write much from assignment. I’ve turned down things I didn’t feel I was either capable of writing or had any passion for, so most of what I write I really enjoy.
What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
This would have to be three things. 1: You can be called to write and have a talent, but you still can learn new things every day. Take advantage of writers’ books and conferences. 2: Join (or start) a local writers’ group for critiquing and encouragement. We really do need each other. Carole Gift Page says, “Our family is called to love us, not to support our writing. They won’t understand us like another writer does.” 3: Sally Stuart says, “You can’t write from an empty cup. Keep God uppermost in your writing.”
All great advice, Donna. Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?
My book “A Step in the Write Direction–the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers” is my dream come true. It’s taken from all the classes I’ve taught over the years. I always wanted to have something to give people who say, “I want to write. How do I get started?” The book can be ordered from Amazon, or from me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org or my Web site: www.thewritersfriend.net (This Web site also contains a lot of hints for writers, plus other books I’ve had published.) I also have a Student’s Edition of the same book that contains writing assignments throughout. (I’m thinking of combining the two books.)
If I might add one thing that changed my writing life, and that’s a quotation Harold Ivan Smith gave at a writers’ conference I attended in 1980. He said, “We are called to write, and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment that we could have helped but didn’t because we didn’t write what God laid on our hearts to write.” That took writing out of the hobby category for me and made it a calling. I feel I’m as called to write as a minister is called to preach.
Bio: Donna Clark Goodrich, freelance writer, editor, and speaker is a wife, mother of three and grandmother of two. She lives in Mesa, Arizona and enjoys teaching at Christian writers conferences. Author of 23 books and over 700 published manuscripts, Donna says, “I write devotional and self-help books to encourage Christians in their daily walk with God, how-to books to train writers, biographies to tell other people’s stories, short stories and poetry for readers’ enjoyment, and personal experience articles to share how God has helped me through life situations.”