Interview with M.L. Milligan

Today I have some exciting news! We’re going to switch things up a bit and do a Q and A with a new blogger, M.L. Milligan. You can read about how she got started writing, what she sees in her future as a writer, and her most encouraging piece of advice for other young writers. It’s a guarantee that you will find tons of valuable stuff in this post, and I hope you enjoy it all. And, of course, be sure to check out her blog here!

I’m very excited to do this post for all of you today. M.L. Milligan is a very close friend of mine as well as my accountability partner! I’m sure I’ve mentioned her in my posts many times. It’s because of her that my writing is where it is today so I’m always excited to share how wonderful she is.

So let’s get started, shall we!

What is your blog about?

My blog is about, well, me! I’m a big reader, as well as a writer, so I post about everything from my writing journey and things I learned not to do, to in-depth book reviews that don’t shy away from the facts. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to read a book and not being able to find content warnings and honest reviews. I’m also currently participating in Five Fall Favorites, which has been a blast!

How did you get started writing?

You want the long answer or the short one? 😉 Well, actually, I never liked to write. I never was big on school assignments that required writing, and I never dreamed about being a published author. 

I was always a huge reader though. Regrettably, all I remember thinking was, “It’s cool people write books. Not like I could ever be good enough to, though.” But in the fall of 2019, I read a book that swept my imagination away like a gale-force hurricane. And that was what made me think, “Hey. What if I tried this?”

What made you want to pursue writing?

Well, getting started and pursuing something are two different aspects. As I said, I always was a reader. I read my parents out of house and home. What fueled my determination to chase after this dream was definitely my lack of good books to read. Especially the types I longed for: action and adventure, sans unnecessary details and inappropriate relationships and content (I know I’m not the only one out there with that problem, right?). So I decided to start writing the types of books I wished I could find!

I hear you’re putting together an anthology… What can you tell us about that?

Hehe, happy to! This is a collection of short stories honoring the birth of our Savior that me and my friend Abigail Harris are co-hosting. We are currently still looking for submissions (you can find out more about that at her blog or mine) but that does close October 29th, so check that out soon! And Lord willing, we are hoping to have that out before the end of the year.

Where do you find your motivation and inspiration?

*blinks* No, just kidding. I find that I get those in two different places. My motivation definitely comes from my family and friends (Like you, girl! Best accountability partner out there <3). 

My inspiration, however, is a whole ‘nother animal. Like, a beast. An illusive beast. With night vision and an invisibility cloak. My creative well fills the deepest when I read an especially inspiring and captivating book, or hear about other authors and their writing seasons. But if I’m not sleeping well, stressing out about anything, or am riding a wacky schedule, then forget inspiration, I need a reset. So books, other authors, sleep, and a schedule. 

Oh, and music! I love music. Listening to some as I write this, as a matter of fact! 😉

What are your goals as a writer and where do you see yourself in the future?

Goals, goals… Well, don’t kill me for being unoriginal, but being published. Traditionally.  I definitely see myself (if the Lord wills) being published in the future. Preferably my current WIP, but whatever God tells me to publish I am more than okay with. 

What are your most recommended books as a writer and why?

I am so glad you asked that! The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman is hands down worth its weight in solid, shining gold. It literally covers everything from networking and platform to agents and queries and blogging and money-making as a writer and… I’ll stop there, but this book is one every writer, whether bent towards Indie or Traditional, should have on their shelf.

Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland is another I recommend, and one I refer to frequently. She walks you through the stages, all the way from brainstorming and ways to help that process to working through the story beats and getting those ideas down. A very valuable book!

And… Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. I know, I know, don’t throw me out. Is it a tad boring? Yes. But is it going to help you strengthen your writing? YES! You don’t have to fake a smile and pretend to be joyous at the prospect of reading it. Just grin and bear it. Trust me. You need this book with you.

What’s your go-to stress reliever (let’s face it, all writer’s experience some amount of stress when it comes to writing XD)?

Stress? What’s that? *smirks* Yeah, as much as writing can be wonderful… stress is an inevitable. I fully blame my characters most times, and that tends to help some. Like, for a millisecond. At least I have someone to blame though, right? 😉 

No, really, stress is something I take very seriously. I know the physical harm that stress can cause your body, and it’s not pretty. Stress personally gives me headaches, which is a good reminder to slow down as much as it’s a nuisance I’d rather not deal with. 

But my go-to stress reliever has to be stepping back from what’s causing me pain and getting fresh air and sunshine. Taking a dog for a walk. Hanging out with my chickens (yes, I’m that person). Grounding my bare feet in the dirt. I’ll even take a book outside or fiddle around with my guitar. Anything that’s relaxing and outside in the sun and air.

What’s your number one piece of writing advice to give to other young writers?

Oh, gosh, I have a ton of advice to give young writers, but if it had to be one, I’d say don’t take what you hear or what people tell you to do as law. When I started out, there were several authors I thought knew everything–every right way to get to publication. Surprise! There’s no one right way to go about writing. It’s truly a what-works-for-you process. Just because X works for this author/influencer/writer/blogger doesn’t mean you have to shun Y or Z. 

Mess around with different methods and approaches and model yourself after what works for you, not what works for others. And always, always, keep learning. You can never learn enough, and that’s especially true when it comes to writing.

And, to break up the monotony a bit, what’s a few of your hobbies outside of writing?

Oh, I have tons of hobbies! Well, more like, I’d like to have tons of hobbies. Writing and life are great time stealers, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But on the occasion I find myself twiddling my thumbs, I enjoy playing music both on the piano and my guitar. I’ve been playing piano for over a decade, and I’m just this year teaching myself to play the guitar!

I also love to garden. Flowers especially. Zinnias, snapdragons, sunflowers, cosmos, roses, shall I continue? 😉 But the fruits and veggies too. Tomatoes grow great here, believe it or not. I also keep some chickens, which are tons of fun, and I have several dogs. Get this–I’m a big dog person, yet I have a small dog. Just… why? ‘Cause he’s a velcro rescue mutt and he grew on me. ❤  No regrets though, he’s a sweetheart… when he wants to be. 

As if that isn’t enough, baking, crocheting, quilting, reading (duh, right?), exercising, and random crafts also make that list. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to get my book written, do you?

Thank you, Mac, for participating in this interview! It’s been a lot of fun and I think everyone will be able to find a lot of great value out of it. Be sure to check out her blog and consider subscribing as well, I know you won’t regret it!

Your turn!

Have you checked out M.L. Milligan’s blog yet? What was your favorite answer? Can you relate to her in any way?

Blessings, Allyson


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