Writing and editing professional, Charlotte Louise Nystrom is also a published author, creative writer and poet from the rocky coast of Maine. Outside of running a thriving business, she is mastering the art of juggling—in the sense that she is channeling her creative talents in so many exciting ways. As an author and a reader, her favorite works are honest, emotional, and raw. Charlotte strives to capture words that will touch her readers’ hearts and souls—making the world a little softer by celebrating its beauty and bridging connections.
Just wait until you read this Q&A and learn all that she is doing and accomplishing. You’ll be amazed by this gifted author. And I know we are all grateful that she took the time to share a little more about herself, her journey, her writing business and her books.
You are an author, but is it your day job? I would love to make a living as an author, but it’s a tough thing to do. I’ve been fortunate to develop a business that intersects and utilizes the same skill set. I began content writing over a decade ago. Through the years, I’ve gathered several loyal clients and in response to their needs I’ve added video design, ghost writing, book editing, plot development, and social media management to my offerings. Presently, I’m also providing childcare for a good friend—that’s more joy than work though. I dabble in poetry and novel writing as much as time allows. My days are really filled to the brim!
Did you always want to be an author? I’m not sure the desire was that concrete, but I’ve always written as far back as I can remember. I’ve always been incredibly shy, so it was just natural to gravitate towards reading and writing—quiet, independent things. In grade school I had one teacher in particular who was supportive of my poetry and pushed me into reading some on stage during the Spring Concert. It was torture really but looking back I am sincerely appreciative to have had that encouragement. Not that it always stuck. Later, in my 20’s I wrote a full novel and then promptly burned it in a bonfire when it came time to edit—I just decided it was rubbish. I guess us creatives can be a bit impulsive in that way.
There was a time when I imagined I’d become an artist instead. I still paint and draw in private, but that’s something I don’t often share with the world. I think because I use it as a means to process heavy experiences or emotions, so it’s highly personal and it feels too vulnerable to put it out there.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? Word Paintings is a collection of poetry that illustrates real life. We take raw experiences—hardship, joy, humor, passion, social conditions, even romance—and we paint moments that our readers can connect with. The inspiration for individual poems comes from many places, some of them dark or painful, others from nature and the beautiful strength of humanity. But the book itself was dreamed up by my co-author, Larry Yoke. It was entirely his idea; he just invited me to tag along so to speak.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? My hope is that readers can dive in and find images of themselves scattered throughout the poems. To be able to say I’ve felt this too, I’ve lived this moment. That connection. I hope our book uplifts readers by reminding them that they aren’t alone.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? First, to be yourself. I think the biggest asset a writer has is their unique style and personality. Next, to make connections with other writers. It’s incredibly helpful, that support from peers and the benefit of their experiences. They can push you in the right direction. Read and write a lot and be willing to proof and revise multiple times. Oh, and develop a mindset where you can accept rejection without defeat. Sometimes a rejected query isn’t as good as it could be, but more often it just isn’t the right fit for that particular editor or agent.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Life is full of challenges, so setbacks are par for the course. I sort of expect things to fall through because that’s just how my luck runs. I’m pretty used to weathering whatever comes. So, I guess I’m more surprised when things work smoothly.
As far as criticism, I tend to live by Kurt Cobain’s philosophy in that you can’t please everyone and trying to is a waste of who you are. At the end of the day, if you are pleased with your finished product, if you have pride and feel accomplished, that’s what matters. I’m just trying to have fun with this. That isn’t to say that there isn’t helpful insight to learn from constructive criticism, but you can’t let it ruin your day either. So, I guess all that is to say I ignore criticism and appreciate advice.
How do you structure your day and make time for writing? This one I am still struggling with. I try to set one day each week to only work on personal writing projects, but in the real world it doesn’t always turn out that way. Business responsibilities, family time and the call of the great outdoors can be powerful distractions. I’ll get there though.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? Being creative, playing around with words and imagery, sharing stories and experiences—I love that.
What book uplifts you? Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind is one that I pick up time and again, especially when life gets tough or confusing. There’s something about Scarlett’s spunk and her will to dig and claw to survive. To some she is absolutely petulant. And sure, she makes some monumental mistakes, but when you consider her age and the conditions she was up against, to even survive—that’s something. It empowers my own resolve and reminds me of what matters, the costs…
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? I appreciate every reader. I truly hope you enjoy Word Paintings. I hope it makes you feel less alone, if only for a little while. I hope you feel seen. And, I’d really love if you take the time to leave a review. Let me know what you think. And stay connected to see what comes next. Be well.
Check out all that Charlotte is up to and grab a copy of her latest release on her website.
Images Courtesy of Charlotte Nystrom