Interview with Meghan McDonnell

When did you first start writing?
I started my first journal when I was 8 years old and have consistently kept one ever since (about 28 years ago). I have chosen to publish these journals in chronological order semi-anonymously. The journals are a gateway for the reading public to get firsthand insight into the mind and heart of an ordinary American woman.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is a series of journals I've been writing for the past 28 years and that I continue to write. In them, I explore personal relationships, the lives of others, books I read, music, art, culture, and the distinct essence of daily life. I have been transcribing and editing them for the last year and a half and I'm getting ready to launch the first three this month. It feels like giving birth to triplets.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom, the possibilities and being able to take matters into my own hands. Traditional publishing seems to work well for already established authors and celebrities but not so much for most other writers. Indie publishing is faster, more democratic and allows me to keep control over every aspect of writing, publishing and marketing. There is so much information available to self-publishing authors online and elsewhere. It can be overwhelming and requires major discipline and endurance but it's satisfying to take the helm and commit to becoming a full-time writer without waiting for "permission" from an agent or publishing house.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm so grateful for Smashwords. I was intimidated by formatting but Mark Coker's style guide demystified the process. It's amazing that Smashwords distributes to so many channels and offers countless resources for writers all for free. Books that never would have seen the light of day even 10 years ago can be experienced by readers all over the world. I see Smashwords as pivotal to reaching more readers and achieving success.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being utterly myself. Writing to me means solitude, time to process my experiences, a space to come clean, take off the mask and be honest. Writing is my sanity, health and well-being. It is my refuge. It demands that I face myself and life itself.
What are you working on next?
The journals project will be keeping me busy for the next few years. I anticipate as many as 23 70,000-word volumes, so between transcribing, editing and marketing, I've got my work cut out for me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Elizabeth Strout, Tom Franklin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Alice Hoffman, Stephen King, Flannery O'Connor, folklorists
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Editing, transcribing, researching book publishing (formatting, marketing, etc), posting on social media, dreaming about future readers and becoming a full-time writer, drinking coffee, sipping whisky fireside, working part time at my day job, yoga, Pilates, running, going for walks, quilting, knitting, baking, sleeping, quality time with my honey bunny
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
In kindergarten, we made construction paper art projects based on Carl Sandburg's poem "Fog." It wasn't a story, per se, but it was my first experience of being moved by language and I wanted more.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a fairy tale when I was 7. It was nonsensical but it had a happy ending.
What is your writing process?
My writing process entails coffee, tea or beer, a pen, my journal and a little peace and quiet. I sit down and I write. I don't schedule it and I don't make myself. I feel compelled to write at least a few times a week. In cycles that shift throughout the seasons, I'll sometimes not feel like writing for a week; other times, I have to write every day or I feel the reins slipping. My publication process is more involved and requires more planning, list-making and discipline. I wish I could solely write all the time but my persnickety side secretly likes the lists, to-dos and demands of self-publishing.
Published 2015-12-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Witness: Volume Ten
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 81,030. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Woman biographies, Essay » Literature
An ordinary American woman reveals her mind and heart on the page as a map for humanity.
Ingress: Volume Nine
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 80,430. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Woman biographies
For 30 years, writer Meghan McDonnell has intimately chronicled her life beginning at age eight through present day. With searing candor and tenderness, her musings on daily experiences and observations of family, social and romantic relationships, and the interior life coalesce in a commentary on facing passion and fear, embracing the light and dark, and American life in the 21st century.
Sojourn: Volume Eight
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 80,640. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Trip Journals, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
A two-month trek through Europe and a poke around at the meaning of existence
Onward: Volume Seven
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 58,700. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Woman biographies
An impulsive Vegas wedding and the vagaries of young and insouciant love
Faithful: Volume Five
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 80,390. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Developmental / lifespan development, Nonfiction » Relationships & Family » Life stages / general
Faithful is the fifth installment of the personal journals in which writer Meghan McDonnell has intimately chronicled her life beginning at age eight through present day. With searing candor and tenderness, her musings on experiences and observations of relationships and the interior life coalesce in a commentary on facing passion and fear and embracing 21st century life.
Vespers: Volume Six
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 75,770. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2018. Categories: Essay » Sociology, Nonfiction » Psychology » Mental illness
In volume six in this addictive and vicarious real-life series, McDonnell contends with a boyfriend in spiritual crisis, college, working in a bar, a trip to New York, and reflections on relationships with family and friends.
Elsewhere: Volume Four
Series: The Journals of Meghan McDonnell. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 84,780. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2016. Categories: Essay » Author profile, Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
The journey continues in the fourth volume of Meghan McDonnell's personal journals. In volume four of this addictive and vicarious series, McDonnell visits New York and London, walks away from her first love, begins her foray into acting, wades through family friction, and goes back to college.
Limbo: Volume Three
Series: The Journals of Meghan McDonnell. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,190. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Relationships & Family » Emotions
Limbo is the third book of journals that Meghan McDonnell has chronicled from age 8 to now-almost 30 years. Her candid musings on daily life and family, social and romantic relationships coalesce in a commentary on facing down passion and fear, and American life. Volume 3 of this addictive series spans her search for identity, facing life choices, heartache and plans for travel to Europe.
Novice: Volume Two
Series: The Journals of Meghan McDonnell. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,090. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Woman biographies
(4.00 from 1 review)
Novice is the second installment of journals that Meghan McDonnell has chronicled from age 8 to now - almost 30 years. Her candid musings on daily life and family, social and romantic relationships coalesce in a commentary on facing down passion and fear, and American life. Volume 2 of this addictive series spans her freshman year of college, first love, a trip to Australia and nascent adulthood.
Minor: Volume One
Series: The Journals of Meghan McDonnell. Price: Free! Words: 63,040. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir, Screenplays » Action Adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
Minor is the first of the journals that writer Meghan McDonnell has chronicled from age 8 to now - almost 30 years. Her candid musings on daily life and family, social and romantic relationships coalesce in a unique commentary on growing up, facing down passion and fear, and American life. Volume 1 spans her 8th year through age 17: reflections on family, friends, school & survival camp.