Zoe blessing is a wattpad author who is known across the platform for her intriguing books. She has been on the platform for five years and has since published a total of Eighteen (18) works. Let’s get to know this author through this interview!
QUESTION #1: When and how do you start your day? What do you do to prepare yourself for a day of work and your morning routine?
1. I’m an early riser, usually between 6 and 7am, even on weekends. I haven’t needed to use an alarm for work in years. After getting up I drink a glass of water and let the dogs outside to do their business.
QUESTION #2: What do the day-to-day responsibilities look like to you, would you consider yourself strict or disciplined when it comes to do your duties?
2. There are the usual bills, but more importantly is ensuring that the family is healthy and happy, and making sure I do all the things I need to do for my day job. I can be uptight sometimes in the way I handle my day to day stuff, but I remind myself to take it easy and just roll with whatever the day brings.
QUESTION #3: How often or how long do you write a day and how does it fit into your schedule?
3. Writing time varies wildly, depending on what stage I’m in and also the level of inspiration I’m experiencing. I once wrote a 45K novel in three weeks. I’ve also spent several months writing nothing at all. I write during stolen moments alone whenever I can. Some days I’m able to get more inspired moments alone than others.
QUESTION #4: What is your favorite part about being a writer? Are you planning on making it your full time responsibility or a side job?
4. I love creating characters out of thin air and watching them evolve and grow. I especially enjoy it when they say and do things I myself don’t have the guts or inclination to say or do myself. Writing is currently a side gig, though it is a dream to quit the day job and write full time. It’s very difficult to pay all the bills and live comfortably on a writing paycheck, though, so it will have to remain a side gig in the foreseeable future.
QUESTION #5: How did you discover wattpad and how long have you been using it? What benefits have you derived from it?
5. I first heard of Wattpad when I was reading the blog of Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder and the rest of the Lunar Chronicles series. I joined sometime after that in 2015. Since then, I’ve found an audience of wonderful readers as well as a community of supportive writers. Becoming a Wattpad Star has also increased my visibility as a writer, which I am quite thrilled with.
QUESTION #6: Who is your favorite author and what have you learned from him or her.
6. I love Rainbow Rowell. I enjoy her writing style, and her characters feel like real people with thoughts and feelings rather than characters. It’s from reading her books that I learned it was okay to have one-sentence chapters. That one sentence can advance a story forward, saying a lot without many words. I also discovered what I liked most about Young Adult books, namely sorting through emotions and figuring out who you are. Most of my own stories tend to focus on that as well.
QUESTION #7: What book of yours would you recommend the person reads first? to anyone who hasn’t read or discover your work.
7. Siena is by far my most popular work. It’s easy to read and understand, and has an underlying message of kindness that I think is broadly appealing.
QUESTION #8: If you were to write a song or poem about yourself, how would you begin it?
8. In the land of fruits and nuts was this girl…
QUESTION #9: What does your writing process look like and what goes into your physical and mental preparations. How do you tune yourself into the writing mode during a writer’s block?
9. I’ve read about the importance of writing every day, even if it’s just a little, otherwise our connection to our inner reservoir of creativity can dry up like a stream in summer. I have found this to be true. I don’t structure my writing time, though, since my spare time and inspiration varies. Writers block happens frequently. The solution depends on what’s blocking me. I could write pages on writer’s block. Probably the best and easiest thing that helps writers block is just to go out and take a walk. Separate yourself from the work for a while and give your brain a rest. Enjoy nature. Still your mind and just enjoy the wonder that is all around us. Clouds, birds, flowers, swaying leaves, all of it. Take it all in. Find your joy. Writing should be joyuous.
QUESTION #10: What was the worst mistake you made in your writing journey and how will aspiring authors prevent the same from happening to them?
10. The thing about mistakes is it’s part of the journey. It’s how we learn things. I’d love to tell everyone not to take feedback about your work personally, but the truth is we ALL tend to be sensitive in the beginning. The lucky few will start off with thick skin, but the rest of us have to grow it and eventually not feel bad about critiques. These are NOT failures. They are opportunities to improve.
QUESTION #11: What do you look for most in your writing and how do you achieve the results you want? What do you consider the most important in a story?
11. For me, it’s all about character development. If my main character doesn’t realize important things about herself by the end of the story, then I didn’t do my job. To achieve this, it helps to figure out where the character starts, emotionally speaking, and then think about how she becomes a better person by the end. What needs to happen?
QUESTION #12: Rank all your books:
i. Your favorite, the one you enjoyed writing.
12i. I loved writing Nirrin because she’s sassy, unafraid to speak her mind, and determined to help people. A fun character!
ii. Most engaging and helpful or likely to win an award.
12ii. How to Write Stories People Will Love is definitely my most helpful work out there.
iii. The bestselling or most read.
12iii. Siena has over a million reads. Definitely my most popular work.
QUESTION #13: Rank all your characters:
i. Your favorite or they one you could possibly have a romantic relationship with?
13i. Nirrin is my favorite, for the reasons I stated in 12i.
ii. Most irritating and most likely to get killed by you.
13ii. Pimo is a judgemental little brat I created to be Siena’s half brother, but I’d have to get in line to kill him since most of my readers want to also.
iii. The most badass or adventurous.
13iii. Sember would be the badass of the group. With her ability to conjure fire and cause explosions just from getting angry, she is a force to be reckoned with.
QUESTION #14: What was the most exciting moment for you in your journey and how have you coped with disappointment?
14. The day Wattpad asked me to participate in the Paid Stories program, I danced around the room like a manic cartoon character. (I use the term “danced” loosely.) I was noticed. I was chosen. I had arrived. As for disappointment, I don’t let setbacks get me down. If writing is going to be a career, you HAVE to get used to hearing “no” a lot. A LOT. Rejection stings, but you can’t take any of it personally. Realize that “no” does not mean never. It just means not this time. Accept the no with dignity and move on to the next thing. It’s the best way to cope.
QUESTION #15: What does success look like to you in look like to you in this position? What new projects are you working on and when should we be expecting them?
15. I recently finished a new YA Science Fiction novel! I’m excited about it because it’s my first ever attempt at the genre. For now it’s called Unexpectedly Bionic, though that might change before I release it. I need to go through the revision process before it’s ready, but it will done by the end of the year, in time for the Wattys.
QUESTION #16: Do you think you have developed professionally and personally through your journey? What can you tell us about it?
16. Absolutely. I tell all aspiring writers that writing is a journey. There is no end destination. There might be certain goals one wants to hit along the way, but you never stop learning and growing, both personally and professionally. Reading is such an important part of learning. The more you read, the more you absorb about various aspects of writing. It could be how a certain voice is expressed, or how a villain is developed, or even what kind of phrases are being overused. What I’m writing today far exceeds in quality what I wrote years ago, but that doesn’t mean I wish I could have changed what I did back then. Because without that experience, I couldn’t have gotten better. Each step you take builds not only your skillset, but also your confidence and sense of self. You’ll get there. You just have to persevere and put in the work.
QUESTION #17: What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job and how do you overcome them?
17. Maintaining momentum is crucial to being a prolific writer, but difficult to do thanks to things like daily responsibilities and writer’s block. Making a commitment to write every day is one way to do that. Doesn’t have to be a lot, and doesn’t even have to be your story. Write in a journal. Just keep the words flowing so you always stay connected to your creativity.
QUESTION #18: When how did you master the courage to share your work with the rest of the world and what were the first reactions you received? How do you face the negativity and hate?
18. If I wanted any kind of writing career, I was going to have to share my work. There was no getting around that. So I decided to go for it. You just have to decide: Do I want to live in fear? Or do I want to take my shot at this writing thing? The first reactions I received were from beta readers. I had first learned about them from the Acknowledgements section of Cinder, a book I enjoyed greatly. I knew I wanted to put out my best work, so I had beta readers give me feedback on my work. It hurt, not going to lie. They weren’t mean, but each criticism seemed to take a notch out of my confidence. In my head, I argued with the beta readers why they were wrong. Disappointed, I set the feedback aside for a few days. Did some sulking. Reconsidered this whole writing thing. But when I finally went through the feedback again, it actually made sense. Once my poor little ego was done with its hissyfit, I could see what they were talking about. Yes, the main character was whiny. Okay, maybe that one scene was over-dramatic. These readers were sharing how they viewed my story. I’m never going to be able to get those viewpoints on my own. It was time to get over myself and fix the problems I hadn’t known were there.
18b. I’m making a separate answer regarding dealing with negativity and hate, because it’s very important. Anytime someone writes an unkind comment, it’s because there are circumstances they are going through that we don’t know about. Maybe they feel powerless at home and this is one way to feel powerful. Maybe they are depressed and lashing out. It could be they simply don’t know how to phrase things tactfully. Whatever the issue, it’s not because you suck. Even if they wrote “you suck” as the comment, you don’t suck. You wrote something that didn’t meet their expectations, and they dealt with that disappointment poorly. There’s an actual author who received a 1-star book review on Amazon because the customer didn’t receive the package of sausages they ordered. Seriously. People have issues. You can’t make them your issues too.
Here’s how you deal with negative comments:
1. Recognize that the person is entitled to their own OPINION. Opinions aren’t facts. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
2. Swallow back any snide retort you might want to give, otherwise it will make you look unprofessional. Such responses will only result in a downward spiral of negativity.
3. Respond with kindness. Example: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Maybe one of my other stories will fit what you’re looking for?” or “I understand, and it’s okay. We all have different things we like.” Or if the comment was especially mean… “Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope you have a great day anyway.”
When you refuse to engage in the negativity, it disarms them. The commentor feels heard, and might actually warm toward you. I’ve won over more than one follower by doing just that. Someone complained about something I wrote, I responded with kindness, and they decided I was a classy person. Try it. It really works
QUESTION #19: Do you write with songs or you prefer dead silence? If yes, what are your go to writing songs?
19. Silence please.
QUESTION #20: Have you had any issues with people stealing and distributing your work and how did you deal with it?
20. Nope, not that I’m aware of. There are some pirate sites that specialize in taking content from other sites, but as long as I’m given credit for the story, I won’t get mad about it. It’s more distribution, right? It’s good to get my name out there.
QUESTION #21: What promotional method or practices did you use to promote your book? Which ones did you find the most useful? How did you get so many people interested in your work?
21. My reads and followers have all grown organically over time. I’m terrible at marketing. I don’t have the patience required to do it strategically. There are certain behaviors that will get you noticed faster, however. I go over all that in my book, “How to Rise from the Dead on Wattpad: A practical guide to getting noticed”.
QUESTION #22: What was the most exasperating experience you have had in your journey?
22. The first time I traded manuscripts with another writer so we could critique each other’s work was an epic waste of time. I failed to realize we needed to first exchange just one chapter to get an idea of each other’s writing and critique styles. Their work was dull, slow, and horrible. I wrote my feedback as tactfully as possible, but I eventually got tired of the main character constantly crying. Their feedback to me was minimal and not very helpful. I could have avoided all this if only we’d exchanged one chapter first. You can’t assume everyone else is at your level.
QUESTION #23: Is there a timetable for when you write and what you write? If yes, share some tips on how to make one.
23. Nope. I don’t put that kind of pressure on myself.
QUESTION #24: Where do you see yourself and your work in ten years from now?
24. Please forgive me when I say I hate this question. Job interviewers love it too. I don’t plan that far ahead. I like to live day by day, enjoying life as it comes. If my writing takes off, great! If not, that’s okay too. Life is about living, not planning.
QUESTION #25 How did you discover and harness your writing skill and develop your own style of writing? How did the whole journey begin?
25. Writing was never something I discovered. It was just something I did. I scribbled in notebooks and later in computer files. My brain was always churning out what-if scenarios and other ideas. I just went with it.
QUESTION #26: What sparked your creativity when making the plot of the first book you released and what writing tips can you offer to upcoming authors?
26. It began as a desire to write a story about a girl who can heal with her very touch. It could be I wanted to heal whatever was hurting within me at the time. I’d completed a previous novel (my first one!) that had some good parts to it, but it was essentially broken based on the feedback I’d received. Writing Siena was cathartic. As she overcame obstacles and found her confidence, so did I. As a writer, it’s important to tap into your own emotions. Make the character express the things you feel, and the character will stand out like a real person on the page.
QUESTION #27: What was your family’s reaction to your writing success?
27. They’re very proud of me and love my work!
QUESTION #28: Do you ever consider luck, your gender, ethnicity or race as a helping factor in your success?
28. Nope. I’m a firm believer that people make their own luck. Someone once said that luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. You work at improving your craft, at being the best you can be, regardless of what opportunities are around you. That way, when one does come up, you are ready to take it on! If one simply sits around waiting for success to happen to them, they’ll be waiting a long time.
QUESTION #29: How do you feel about all the success you have garnered as a writer, Are there any specific people who helped you out and encouraged you on this journey?
29. I am honored to be where I am today. Having that Wattpad Star badge next to my name is a big achievement. All my efforts are finally getting me somewhere! The writing community is one full of encouragement and good will. We all help each other. When you help a fellow writer, you help yourself. In the end however, though my friends, family, and writing community are supportive, it’s ultimately a journey I have to take alone. The stories are in my head. Only I can write them. Depending on someone else to carry me along will eventually exhaust that person. I have to carry myself.
QUESTION #30: Any advice for the young, doubting or upcoming writer who feels like giving up?
30. When writing doesn’t bring you joy, take a break from it. Don’t pressure yourself. If money is your goal, numerous other occupations are better suited. Ask yourself why you write. Think back to the days when you started jotting stories down. How did it make you feel? Remind yourself of those times. If you can get your hands on a copy of “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert, read it! I found it so inspiring that it changed my entire perspective on writing. I no longer stress about “getting somewhere” with my writing, because the writing itself is the goal AND the journey. It should be for you too. Enjoy it. Thrive emotionally. Everything else will come along in its own time.
This interview has come to an end, I hope we all take something away with us from this inspiring interview.
I am a fifteen year old book addict and writing enthusiast from Ghana in West Africa. I love potato chips and jelly, pizza too but not so much. If you want to know more about me, you can follow me on other social media platforms. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter!!!!