Shari Smothers works as a transcriptionist and freelance writer currently. Her entrepreneurial interests lie in writing, editing and website development. Writing is what she does for her health, and being paid for it is just practical.
Shari’s work experiences presented her with opportunities to write occasionally. Several years ago she decided to focus on writing and editing as her main selling tool to get jobs. She hasn’t looked back since.
You can find Shari ALL over the web via the following sites:
Blog About It
The Word 'Mage
Take each letter of your first name, S-H-A-R-I and write a word that presents YOU.
What type of web copy do you write, and how did you get into that?
I worked for years as an administrative assistant. Often, in those jobs, I would be asked or volunteer to write for them. Sometimes it would be to offer letters, acceptance letters, or ad copy for magazines or website publication. I was up for it all. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to make writing my focus in job searches.
Tell us about your site, BLOG ABOUT IT. What's its goal?
The goal of this blog is to share things that I’ve learned while pursuing my professional goals. My hope is that it will be helpful to others. This is the place I write about working and living as a woman who writes in various genres.
According to BLOG ABOUT IT, you write not only for the web, but you also write print copy, poetry, essays, and more. What is it about the WORD that excites you the most?
The WORD is how we communicate. If we didn’t have words, we’d only have pictures and gestures. You can’t even fall back on sign language because that is based on language–words. It’s thrilling to me to be able to communicate ideas, to share stories. While I love pictures, words allow for much more precision, more details in telling about something or some event. Words can entice you, can move you to tears of joy or of sorrow. Writing a story or an article is chiseling a statue from a marble block. And to be able to write of experiences, and bring people to where you are, is a profoundly rewarding thing.
Once, after I had read from my poetry, a woman said it was like I had talked with her before writing it. Another young girl couldn’t stop crying because I had put her in mind of her grandmother when she heard the poems about my grandmother. A lady once cried about a poem that I read to her group, but I had no tears when I wrote it. Her interpretation was astute and poignant and informed by what she brought to it. When people react to what I write, I know that I am connecting, and that is exciting.
You're walking down the street, looking and feeling fantastic; what's the song that plays in the background?
Two songs pop into mind, the first is "I’m Grateful"; a close second is "It’s Gon' Be Nice," both by Yolanda Adams, from the album Day by Day. And some days, the second choice is in first position.
Do you find that many of the things you write about are intrinsically connected to you?
Yes, easily, my creative writing is connected with me. With commercial writing, though, I try to connect with my subject in a personal way. It helps me to write authentically even when I’m not writing about me.
How important is social media to the promoting of your writing?
I think social media is really powerful. I don’t use it regularly to promote my work so much as to socialize. When I do use it for my work, I see the difference in my traffic. For my next book, I will use it much more.
I’ve heard that mainstream publishers are advocating their writers join social media sites, naming Facebook and Twitter. The self-publishing company I used for my book also advocates using social media and provides offers to help you get set up on the sites. Like them, I respect the power of word-of-mouth and personal interactions.
Writers READ - who are three of your favorite writers and why?
Lucille Clifton - poetry - Blessing the Boats is her collection of poetry that comes to mind. Her writing is simply profound. The short length of some of her poems can travel the depths of generations. From the collection, Study the Masters is a poem that draws me back to it time and again.
Billy Collins - poetry - The Art of Drowning is his collection of poetry that brought him to my attention. His writing is soothing in a different way. And the effect is similar. He writes things and commands my attention and I am present with his subject. A prime example would be Directions.
Kirk Byron Jones - inspiration - Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Spirit. Kirk’s writing is clear and expressive. His books are empowering because they put the ball in your court, so to speak. He reminds us in all of his books that we have the choice to do or not do, in most if not all of our life situations. Self-care is important to be able to present your best self to all that you do. And Dr. Jones and I have that belief in common.
What is one important thing you've learned through your writing life?
One important lesson that surfaces often is that words have power. And wielding that power is a privilege best tempered by humility and gratitude.
What are some of your writing goals, and what are you doing now to achieve them?
Goal 1: I’d like to put my poetry in the forefront of my writing. Toward that end, I am writing more and posting more on my blog. And, I’m actually pulling together pieces to publish in another collection.
Goal 2: Most of the writing that I do is uncredited, ghost writing, and parts of larger works. To build my portfolio, I am writing articles, based on things I’ve written.
Goal 3: Website development is also in my creative and professional arsenal. A website is actually a collection of instructions to say how a site should look and function and allow interaction. I enjoy writing the code.
I am customizing a new business site. The one that is live now, http://www.thewordmage.com, I built from scratch. It was fun and I like it, but my new site will be on a content management software [CMS] platform. It looks like the WordPress platform is the one I’m developing faster, although, I’m learning Joomla too which is another very popular CMS application.