My husband, Clint, and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary on July 22. We’ve been in Charleston almost 12 years as well, having moved here from Texas. We have a 4-year-old daughter, Kate, whose sharp wit and feisty personality keep us on our toes (and wondering if we have a little lawyer or politician on our hands). Our other “kids” are two Labrador Retrievers, Mocha and Belle. My husband and I are big into CrossFit and work out almost daily at CrossFit Mount Pleasant.
Can you share with us how you came to be a writer? What do you most enjoy writing about?
When I was about 13 years old, I decided I wanted to be a newspaper reporter and I never once strayed from that dream. I studied journalism at Ohio University and worked at several newspapers around the country and here in the Charleston area. The best part of being a reporter is telling people’s stories – some of them happy, some tragic, some life-changing. Being a reporter affords you the opportunity to meet amazing people and bring their experiences to life.
You have several years of experience as a writer and editor. What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment in this industry?
Most people who go into journalism feel a calling to the profession. They have a desire to make a difference in the world, and I was no different. Sometimes making a difference means uncovering wrongdoing. Sometimes it’s reporting on the city council meeting others don’t have the time to attend. Sometimes it’s writing an article that makes people smile, laugh or cry. If someone takes the time to cut my article out of the newspaper and save it or share it with someone else, then I have fulfilled my calling.
Tell us about HAF Creative.
When I entered the newspaper business in the late 1990s, it was an entirely different world. Jobs were plentiful and the industry was thriving. Fast forward a decade and the profession I’d started in had changed dramatically. In fall 2008 as the economy was tanking, I was abruptly laid off from my job at a business newspaper. I was devastated. But since then I’ve worked to keep my hands in journalism and writing while carving out my own niche in this new media world. In November 2011, I started HAF Creative to have control over my writing work. I freelance for a number of local publications, handle marketing/PR for a few nonprofits and small businesses. I write website copy, marketing copy and assist businesses with their writing needs. If it deals with words, I can do it.
You recently helped to launch Voices: Write to Be Heard. Share a little with us about what this writer's group means for you.
What an amazing group of women I’ve met through this group. I love how God puts people in your path for reasons that become so obvious later because that’s exactly what happened here. I’m honored to have been part of launching Voices and to have a role in inspiring women achieve their dreams as writers. Now that I’m diving into writing a non-fiction book – a completely different writing endeavor for me – I see how important it is to encourage each other. I hope Voices, while also providing resources and teaching, can be that source of inspiration and encouragement.
As a person with vast experience in writing and editing, name one or two things that you've come across that would be your biggest writing "pet peeves". What can people do to avoid doing these things?
It may sound simple but proofread your work. Sloppy mistakes, grammar errors and typos will keep editors and other writers from taking you seriously. That’s not to say we all don’t make mistakes, but read your work carefully to catch most of those errors. And, know the difference between words like “its” and “it’s”; “there” and “their” and “your” and “you’re.” Those mistakes drive me crazy!
If you had to give one bit of advice to someone who was an aspiring writer, what would it be?
If you’re working on a book or a large writing project, I would say, “Don’t be discouraged.” At times writing can be exhilarating and at other times it can maddening. It isn’t easy and sometimes it isn’t even enjoyable, but stick with it and you’ll be glad you did.
Thank you so much, Holly, for sharing with us here today! You can learn more about Holly over at her blog, HAF Creative!