This is the transcript for Episode 017 | The 2-minute rule – Maintaining a Creative Life with Stephanie Hornsby. In it, we discuss the 2-minute rule, keeping a creative tribe, and so many pirates.
Jack: Hello and welcome back to another exciting episode of the Get To Art Podcast. Your source for the hottest tips, tricks and habits to kick-start your creative career. I once again, no, still the world’s funniest indie author, Jack Roach. I am joined once again by my current wife.
Jennifer: Yes I’m the current wife. I’m Jennifer Roach and Atlanta’s wedding photographer.
Jack: Premier wedding photographer.
Jennifer: I started to say that and then I decided it was fine to leave it out.
Jack: This week’s episode is brought to you by my absolute favourite book. Jennifer just let me read a review of this book for you.
Jack: Really enjoyed the wonderful characters and snarky lines in the story. The story was really involve and hardly believable but interesting and twisted. I intend to read more by this author and hope you’ll get him a try.
Jennifer: Gone With the wind.
Jack: No, “None of Your Business” by one Jack Roach.
Jennifer: Oh my goodness. I did not see that coming.
Jack: Now that’s a compelling review.
Jennifer: It is.
Jack: And if you would like to purchase it and read the snarky lines and unbelievable twist yourself, you can find it on gettoart.org/book, that’s gettoart.org/book. But I’m not the only one today with a book to plug. Stephanie you’ve been so quiet, introduce yourself.
Stephanie: Hi! I’m Stephanie Hornsby also know me as S.C Lauren is my pen name and I am author of the Pirate series.
Jack: The Pirate series.
Stephanie: The Pirate series, right now, it is five book series. I got working on that sixth book. Hopefully it will be out around this time next year.
Jack: So how do you feel Johnny Depp didn’t portray the main character?
Stephanie: I think he’s, sorry Johnny Depp, I love you but I he’s a little old to portray this young characters. The characters actually surround young twelve years old in book one but they do grow throughout the series. That was kind of my goal with creating the series actually was to have the characters and as well as like a reading level grow with the readers so by book one which is “Pirate: The Unkindly Gentlemen”, you’re starting out an elementary age reading level and by book six, you will be reading at a 12th grade college level.
Jack: Will someone be around to help me with the big roots.
Stephanie: Absolutely no. They are catered towards people with disabilities so each book I put a character list in the back through those like myself who sometimes lose track of characters for you to reference and then the books are actually broken up into smaller stories. So book one is actually two separate stories. Book two is also two separate stories, three, four and five are broken up into three sections just to make it a little more digestible for the readers.
Jennifer: Well that’s smart. Those are really good tools to have.
Stephanie: Thank you.
Jack: Yeah could you called George or Martin and ask them to do the same thing.
Stephanie: I wish he would.
Jennifer: Yeah, for real it’s like which one was this.
Stephanie: You know, I give credit to a book series I read when I was in elementary middle school which is the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series. They had like a little bit of a character list in the back. They just did like their main characters and that helped me because I had hard time with comprehension as a kid and it just helped me and so when I started writing my own book, I said I’m definitely going to do that but I’m going to do it even more so, so I don’t just my main characters listed. I have every single little character that is ever brought up. It’s right there in the back for you to refer at any time.
Jack: And how much info do you give for the characters?
Stephanie: Just a little one liner. Captain Smith the Black Dragon. He’s beat the 4th, 5th, 6th, member of the Black Dragon to way to become captain. It depends on, really just the main thing but it might just be one or two sentences. Some characters might be a little bit more in depth.
Jack: That is actually a really good idea. I don’t think just for younger readers or somebody who might have trouble reading. I think that’s something that I’ll consider even for my stuff.
Jennifer: Yeah that’s interesting because I don’t feel like I’ve seen that done and it would come in handy for especially like a book that’s got more than a handful of characters like it’s…
Jack: I’m going to say more than three.
Jennifer: Yeah, it can be hard to keep track with all of them especially if they have similar names.
Stephanie: Exactly. My books are very much… It’s a fictional country I’ve called Kirkston pretty much based off of England and they actually referred themselves as the little sister country of England, so they’re very old fashioned 16th century English names and so you have a couple of the repeat names in there. There’s a more than one Jeremiah, there’s more than one Thomas or Tommy so I try my best to keep everybody on track.
Jack: How old were you when you say that you read the book and gave you the idea?
Stephanie: I was probably in 6th or 7th grade and that was the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series. I think I’ve read the first nine or so books in that series before I kind of outgrew it a little bit later and it did start my long life obsession with owls as well.
Jack: So let’s now separate you from the amateurs. Tell everybody how long it was between you write those books and when you publish your first book.
Stephanie: Well, I was actually already writing my first publish work about the time I started reading those, so it was a work in progress at the time. I wrote my first book Pirate: The Unkindly Gentlemen when I was 11 years old. I did not publish until I was 17 but I wrote the series all throughout elementary and middle school before publishing my first book back to senior high school.
Jack: You just kept on going since.
Stephanie: I have kept on going since then. The first five out of six books in the series were all written before I left middle school. The last book in the series is actually that I’m still working on as I reach telling of the entire series for villain’s perspective. This is a series that has been pretty much part of my entire life. I’ve been interested in this for a long time and I created this fictional world that I’ve pretty much lived in for awhile now.
Jack: And so you did set it aside for a while?
Stephanie: Not really. It’s been pretty consistent since I was in elementary school. Just to give you an idea where I started with this, it was actually in Panama City Florida, family vacation, where I got the idea for the series. My mom later know that…
Jack: Wait, hold on. What happened in Panama City that you said damn pirates are real.
Stephanie: Well, I’m going for it, let me tell you. I’m going to tell you the story. We went on a cruise ship, not a cruise ship, but a cruise boat called The Sea Dragon, and this was this cool old kiddy boat that look like a pirate ship and it drove around the harbour and they had pirate captains, treasure hunts, all these fun stuffs and there’s all this little kids running around on the ship like with water guns, sword fight and I thought to myself well eleven year old me, oh my goodness someone should write a book about children pirate, and then it just kind of happened. I got home, I started kind of doodling ideas. I had my idea for my main character and how he joins this pirate crew and it just spins off from there. And so all through… this was summer after my 4th grade year that we checked the pirate cruise ship. And just that year, all 5th, 6th, 7th and maybe little bit of 8th grade, I just kept writing short story after short story that about the time I got into high school, so around 9th grade I started compiling all this stories together into actual novels. By sophomore junior year, the first book was complete, the form that you would see it now as it is published, there are a few things that I took out and edited right before publication which was my senior year high school.
Jennifer: That’s pretty cool.
Jack: So what’s next after the sixth book? Are you continuing writing the series?
Stephanie: This series will be done after book six. I might possibly have to divide book six up into two books so that might keep me in the pirate world a little bit longer but after this I will be done with the Pirate series. I have a number of other stories in mind. My brother, my youngest brother, is actually been begging me to write a book series based off of a childhood like bedtime story I used to tell him which was really kind of my first story I probably ever came up with and that really started the writing in me called the Dream Catchers. So I might possibly do that, I have an idea for a space traveller story and also I lived in the area of Senoia where zombies is just a back of life down here. So I’ve also going to make a trilogy with zombies.
Jack: Yup, just so everybody is not immediately concern for Stephanie. Senoia was a location use in the Walking Dead.
Stephanie: Still is.
Jack: Still is. Okay.
Jennifer: Are they still shooting?
Stephanie: They’re always shooting. I have stood in mind behind the zombie for coffee before on Saturday morning. It is crazy down here.
Jack: Have you ever been a zombie?
Stephanie: I’ve never been a zombie. I have some friends who have. My sister-in-law, Veronica, I love you, she is obsessed with the show and I think she might one day, she has talked about it, they had to do like the intense training camp for zombies. It is like a 3-week training course to make sure all the zombies move the same.
Jennifer: Well I have no idea you had to go training to be a zombie.
Stephanie: You have to go to training to be a zombie on the Walking Dead.
Jennifer: That’s hilarious.
Jack: Got to be honest. I know it was assume to be the easiest job in the world.
Stephanie: But apparently it’s not and they have like A, B and C class depending on how close you’ll be to the camera and it’s a lot of research on it a while back.
Jack: You know, I could say very lot by time and money just come film Jennifer before she’s had her first cup of coffee.
Stephanie: That’s so mean.
Jennifer: Oh yeah, he’s just getting warmed up.
Stephanie: Oh boy.
Jennifer: That’s nothing.
Stephanie: Yeah, so that’s one reason of I have considered be a zombie trilogy. I’ve written two out of three of the book of the trilogy already. It’s just a matter of what route and venue that I want to take next. I’ve even considered teaming up with a graphic novelist, something a little different in terms of a graphic novel.
Jack: I loved that you say you’re considering it and then I written two out of three books.
Stephanie: I don’t stop writing. It’s in my blood.
Jennifer: That seems like a little more than considering.
Stephanie: Well I’ve rewritten the Dream Catcher series over and over again since I was probably nine. The safest story that could be a standalone novel I’ve written about just maybe three or four chapters on. That one I’ve considered because it’s a standalone novel and that would a nice little in between before I jump into something else that’s a little bit more a long term commitment.
Jennifer: I love how you’ve gone back and revisited all of these things that you’ve been working on since you were that young and that there’s still, you know, you’re older now you’re an adult and still working on that stuff. My books that I wrote in middle school are in a box somewhere because I’m too ashamed for anybody to ever read them or for them to see the light of day. That’s you know they got packed away in you know. I sent that one to the one publisher and then never did anything with them again except for my classmates reading them so.
Stephanie: You guard your first draft with your life if you don’t want anyone to ever see that.
Jennifer: Oh no I mean there still… They’re terrible.
Stephanie: I found an awesome tip online one time. Someone about how to get that first draft written and you just write worst copy at the top before you start writing it, just allow yourself to just write something terrible and then okay I’ll go back and edit it, it’s okay. This is my worst copy.
Jack: I don’t understand. My first drafts are amazing.
Jack: I don’t revise.
Jennifer: You don’t do revision?
Jack: No, I just type until I hit the end and send it off.
Jennifer: Yeah, you’re full of crap.
Stephanie: You give me that book and the editor in me will come out and we’ll just see how perfect.
Jennifer: Oh he’s full of crap.
Jack: Obviously, writing is a big part of your life and you know being creative. How much time would you spend on a daily basis or weekly basis or how you will measure it doing creative projects?
Stephanie: Oh, that’s a loaded question, Jack. I’m a mom to a three year old. Before the child I was probably doing eight to ten hours a day writing, editing something. Since then, I’ve cut back on that quite a bit I mean it’s very much back and forth with the computer and hanging out with the three year old. For my personal projects, I still try to put a couple hours in a week but I also at my ghostwriter so I write for client as well and I get at least ten to thirty thousand sometimes as much as fifty thousand words down in a week. So depending on the week, anywhere from thirty to sixty hours of writing.
Jack: That’s remarkable.
Stephanie: Yeah. It’s a lot of writing
Stephanie: A lot of time on the computer. I mostly type… I used to write more of my earlier drafts but to save time I’ve now moved pretty much straightly to the computer.
Jack: Have you tried any dictation.
Stephanie: You know, I was having someone dictating to me once for a project and I did not like that process at all. I do have some ghostwriters who work under me whom I kind of bounce some ideas off of and let them type up some projects occasionally under my outlines, so that does allow me to kind of step off from the computer every once in a while.
Jack: I have played around with dictation. I haven’t fully moved over to it yet. But the last time I tried it was a very personal and you know almost true seen to those writing and I had trouble saying out loud so I took the microphone off and I haven’t gone back to it yet.
Stephanie: Yeah, I feel like I did have a little dictation machine like that you would speak into the microphone and it will type it up for you and it couldn’t understand me very well.
Stephanie: I would get too excited and I would stutter and I would have a little bit of a list or something and it would break up a paragraphs weird and I found that I was actually doing more editing that way. And since I don’t like editing as much as I like the actual writing, I kind of drop it.
Jack: Definitely it’s a skill in of itself working with it and you sort of speak recognition technology and don’t have time. You know at one point you will have to learn to type. I took whole typing class in middle school.
Stephanie: Me too, yeah.
Jack: I don’t know that I really have time to learn how to dictate on top of that. But I will say that when I did dictation, my word count productivity went up fifty percent so I was happy with it but.
Stephanie: I think for me it was just the amount of time I had to spend editing afterwards went up. So it was a time saver with that initial draft. The end product time it was just as much.
Jennifer: My problem with any kind of speech recognition thing has just always been accent. It never understands what I’m saying. Maybe I’ve lost track and forgive me if I did but so is the Pirate series that’s what you have written and publish. You haven’t published anything else outside of the pirate series yet correct?
Stephanie: That is what I have written and published under my name. I have hundred of projects that I’ve done for my clients. That’s obviously going to be under their names.
Jennifer: Right yeah.
Stephanie: My personal stuff it is the Pirate series. I mean I’ve done a couple of like non-fiction stuff back when I was in college but those were just little short essays. I don’t even sure which ones I’ve published which ones I didn’t. But yes the Pirate series, that’s my bread and butter right there.
Jennifer: I was going to say and maybe Jack already asked before but like how you feel about I guess it’s kind of like it is cliché be but like closing that pirate chapter of your life and…
Stephanie: Well, this has been part of my life since I was 11 years old. So that’s like, I’m twenty seven now, so that’s sixteen years. It will be probably another year before I get back next one out, so this will be a seventeen year long process. I don’t know, it’s a very strange feeling honestly. I think it’s because it’s since I was a child too and I met such a different point of my life when I was eleven years old. It’s actually a little sad. These characters you know they really become a part of you. My book has a very large cast which is another reason I did the character list in the back and I don’t know, they’re like my friends I guess in a way and it’s really sad that be closing that chapter and just knowing that about in a year or two, I’m going to be done with Pirate series.
Stephanie: It’s a strange feeling you know. That’s been such big part of my life. I feel like these characters have gone on this journey with me. And it’s really insane too, I didn’t do this on purpose but the first book starts out with the main character celebrating his 12th birthday a little older than I was when I started writing the book and by the end of the series, he’s going to be about twenty 27, 28 years old which is how old I am now and I’ve just thinking of that the other day like oh my gosh, Peter, which is his name.
Jennifer: You grew up together.
Stephanie: Me and Peter grew up together. He was my best friend let me tell you.
Jack: Is your husband been jealous to Peter.
Stephanie: Uhmm he, you know what I loved him so much, so my first book came out right around the time we started dating so he’s my high school sweetheart and he always would ask me when, you know, he obviously read my first book like in a month because he had to impress his girlfriend who have just published a book. He’s a little bit of a slow reader, love him. So he’s taking a little bit longer with the book that just came out. He read that first book and he really enjoyed it but he would always ask me which of these characters do I remind you of and he’s always very concerned about that. He want to know what the pirates. Like which one because I told him he’s Scottish and I have an Irish character in the story and he would always do like, do I remind you of him because he kind of has a temper. Oh no, you just look like him.
Jack: The current project that I’m working on I told Jenifer it is not autobiographical but it’s very based on my life and my experiences and I ask her to read the section that happened to be a sex scene because I wanted to get it right. And she draw back and she read it and left notes that she sounds hideous.
Stephanie: That’s fantastic. I think he takes it as a compliment if I compare him to some of my characters because he knows I love them so much.
Jack: Didn’t you just go on a cruise recently?
Stephanie: I did. Well, the pirate cruise my three year old got to go on the Sea Dragon recently for the first time and it melted my heart. Let me tell you. My mom and my grandma invited me to go to Panama with them with my son so it’s just the four of us. It’s really fun. I haven’t done anything like that with them in a long time. So it was a girls’ trip with my three year old. We had been to Panama City in a few years so I was like you know while we’re down here we got to go on the Sea Dragon. I called to let them know that I was coming because I’ve done book signings on the Sea Dragon before because that’s where I got the inspiration. And the operator knew who I was when I said the pirate lady. This girl didn’t even work there when I was doing book signing on their annually and I said, “Hey so this is the pirate lady.” And they’re like, “I know who you are we know you’re coming. Are you in Panama City? I’m so excited.” I was like, oh, handle. The captain, Captain Fearless Phil, he does a little announcement for me and he was so excited. He took pictures with my son and I always leave them a copy of the lady’s book. I had a few to give them this time because it’s been a couple years. I should dedicate the second book of the series to them just for the inspiration.
Jack: Well, we are running out of time for this episode. Now of course you’re going to be here next week and we are going to talk then about how you have turned your creativity into a paying career. But before we go, I would like for you to give all of our listeners, both of our listeners, your best advice for maintaining a creative life.
Stephanie: I think for me it’s the people I surround myself with. Being involved with other creative people it helps to bring that out in you. My husband, he’s a musician, not full time, he has another job. He loves music. When I first started publishing, I was part of a really cool art group that work at bringing people of different art styles together. I have friends who are writers, and painters, and illustrators, and I go to different events all the time where I can meet and just be around other artists. And also just have that personal time where you can devote to your craft and if you can… I have something called “The Two Minute Rule” and I think this is the best advice that I can give to any artist not just writers, where every day you have to before you have to go to bed at night, before your head hits that pillow, you have to do your craft for two minutes. And what happens when you set aside these two minutes is you never just do it for two minutes. I go in forcing myself okay I’m going to do this for two minutes. That’s all I am requiring of myself to do but I wind up sitting there for half an hour because I’m having so much fun or two hours or three hours or half hour long. At some point in the day I’ve got to sit down and get my two minute then.
Jennifer: Well that’s a great rule to live by.
Stephanie: It will change your life.
Jennifer: Yeah I like that.
Jack: I think a lot of people listening will kind of like to hunt you down and strangle you. The sheer amount of time you are able to spend on it. I have some my people in my writing group who say that they get up a little bit extra early so they can cram in fifteen minutes of writing because they don’t have the chance to for the rest of the day.
Stephanie: Well, once you get to where you can just sit at home like I do and write all day. No, that’s definitely not my life with a three year old child.
Jack: Yeah, you’re sitting down with that time.
Stephanie: Yeah, no, my computer is a lot of times my laptop is sitting up on the counter where he can’t reach it, where I can stand and work and jump into the computer but got to make it work.
Jack: Well, honestly, kudos to you for still making into priority to have it around while you’re raising him and not saying well I’m going to take “fraternity leave” and I’ll come back for it once he is more self sustaining.
Stephanie: I took two weeks off after he was born.
Jack: You lazy bum.
Stephanie: I know.
Stephanie: Two weeks was it.
Jennifer: Writing from the couch or the bed because I was still on the couch and then the bed after two weeks.
Stephanie: Yes I was in the bed with him right there.
Jennifer: I’m not getting up and moving around at all.
Jack: Just taking any pictures.
Stephanie: I like to point out that I was out only two weeks though for my client because I kind of needed a little bit with my books a little bit during that time because I didn’t have to deal with my clients.
Jack: Alright Stephanie, well where can everyone find you and your books?
Stephanie: You can find me on any sort of major retail website, Amazon, Books-A-Million. You can also track me down on my Facebook page at names of my books. First one is Pirate: The Unkindly Gentlemen, the sequel is Pirate II: Ace of Spades, Pirate III: Shift in the Tides, Pirate IV: Worlds Apart and Pirate V: Kirkston United. You can also find me on my Facebook page S.C Lauren anywhere you can find information on my books where you can find them if I’m ever doing discounts and of course any book signings or events I’ll be a part of.
Jack: Alright, Jenifer, where can they find you.
Jennifer: I am on the web at jennifermariephotographer.com and I’m also on Instagram @jennifermariephotographyga. And Jack what about you?
Jack: You can find me at jackroachauthor.com and on Instagram @jackroachauthor. And you can find both of us at gettoart.org, but you can more immediately email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I’ll tell you guys what the first person who sends us an email to email@example.com I’ll send you a copy of the first of the Pirate series, so go ahead and send that email and tell me how great I am. But also please leave us a review on iTunes and subscribe to the feed if you haven’t already you could find all of those at gettoart.org but until next time remember to get in to your two minutes every day to sit down and get to art. Stephanie, we looking forward talking to you next week.
Stephanie: Looking forward to it.
Jack: Everybody else, thanks for listening.