What's in this episode:
Sylvia Hubbard tells us how she got started in fiction (thanks Mom!) and explains that when she got the bug, she didn't stop writing and eventually started using her skills to earn a living. She's now been a bestselling author for 20+ hours.
Sylvia writes Suspense Romance and explains the rules and boundaries of this hybrid genre. The trick is to weave the key elements of each in a way that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
"I make people fall in love and I kill somebody."
She sets her stories in her hometown of Detroit and she describes the city as a character in her books. It's one of America's top murder cities, perfect for her suspenseful stories!
Sylvia talks me through her Black Family series. "Crazy needs love too." The men in her books all have hidden facets. For example, one has multiple personality disorder, another has food issues. But everyone wants and deserves love.
Hubbard delves into why these men are the way they are, they all have complex backstories.
"Love is really complicated...it's easy to get to the door, but opening the door and walking through is harder..."
Not only does Sylvia Hubbard write fiction, she writes non-fiction and blogs. She explains how she manages to write so prolifically and says she's "a pantster with a drip of plotter."
She's always on the lookout for interesting people and flaws and likens her process to the movie Glass.
Then she makes sure she goes through the 3Rs.
"When you make plans, God laughs. Sometimes the life you plan is not the life you need."
We discuss how you don't have to have everything worked out before you start writing, you can iron out the wrinkles later.
"You can't give yourself an excuse to fail."
We discuss how she manages her time and keeps her sense of fun! She says she wakes up with the attitude that she cannot fail. Sylvia emphasises how important it is to tell your loved ones that writing means a lot to you. If they want you to be happy, they need to let you write.
Everything can be done in 10 minutes. You've just got to figure out how to do it in that time.
We delve into how Sylvia started the Motown Writers Network and because she was sharing such valuable information, the network grew quickly and people couldn't get enough.
Sylvia's top advice is to not give up, no matter how hard it is. That's where success lives.
Links mentioned in the episode:
Associated Blog Post:
Book Editing Blueprint
Don't forget, you can support the show for less than a Caffe Mocha at www.patreon.com/emmadhesi
Hello, I'm Emma Dhesi and welcome to another episode of turning readers into writers. If you're brand new here, welcome. And here's what you need to know. This is a community that believes you are never too old to write your first novel, no matter what you've been up to until now, if you're ready to write your book, I'm ready to help you reach the end, I focus on helping you find the time and confidence to begin your writing journey, as well as the craft and skills you need to finish the book. Each week I interview debut authors, editors and industry experts to keep you motivated, inspired, and educated on all things writing, editing, and publishing. If you want to catch up, head on over to emmadhesi.com where you'll find a wealth of information and tools to help you get started. Before we dive in, in this week's episode is brought to you by my free cheat sheet 30 Top Tips to find time to write. In this guide, I give you 30 ways that you can find time to write in the small gaps that appear between the various errands and tasks and responsibilities that you have in your day to day life. Now, you might be thinking that you don't have any time to spare, but I can guarantee these top tips will give you writing time you didn't think you had. If you thought writing always involved a pen and paper or a keyboard. Think again. If you thought you needed at least an hour at a time to write your manuscript. I help you reframe that you won't be disappointed. Get your free copy of 30 Top Tips to find time to write by going to emmadhesi.com/30TopTips Okay, let's dive in to today's episode. Before we delve into the show, I just want to give a big shout out to Joe Brito who is the latest Patreon supporter of the show. It's with the support of Joe and others like her that I can continue to bring the best possible podcast I can for you so that you can keep on learning. Keep on improving. Keep on being inspired until you write your first novel too. Okay, let's find out a little bit more about today's guest, Sylvia Hubbard, Detroit author and founder of Motown writers, Sylvia Hubbard has independently published over 50 romance suspense books. As an avid blogger podcaster, Social Media Manager and digital strategist, Sylvia has received numerous awards and literary recognition for her work, pull us has had seven number one bestsellers. She's also a speaker, literary encouragement, doula and busy mompreneur expert. So let's dive into the literary world of Sylvia Hubbard. So Sylvia, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm really thrilled to talk to you.Sylvia Hubbard:
Thank you. It's an honor to be here. I appreciate this. It's been like a, you know, the time change and everything. And I got worried. Oh, like when you said 3pm. I was like, wait, she said this. But yeah, thank you so much here in Detroit. We love. We love talking to anyone. So.Emma Dhesi:
I know from what you've told me that you've been waiting for a long time now. And I wonder if you could share with our listeners. What was the interest in writing and how you got started?Sylvia Hubbard:
Well, it was a funny story. It actually my mom told me the story. I had invited her to one of my first workshops and someone had asked that same question. And I was like, Oh, well, I just love to write. And my mom was like, No, that wasn't it. So according to her, she said, I used to lie to her so much. When I was about six or seven, I just would just tell lies and blow it out of proportion and everything. So after whipping me within an inch of my life, she would turn around and tell me to write the lie down on paper, and then come back to her and tell her the lie again, read the light again. And then I got another button. So what she was doing was actually teaching me storytelling, because initially you write down what you originally thought. And then on the second time around, you write you you are writing when you're coming back again, the second time, you're adding the layers of the story, the plot and everything. But it's also in human nature that I learned that it's not the lie that hurts us. It's the depth of the lie that someone did to us. It's the deceit that they did. That's why it's like a white lie or gray lie or black lie. Well, it's because of the depth of the lie that really hurts us as human beings and it just all encompass great storytelling. So I stopped lying, because it was rather painful. So my pain became my pleasure. And my mom said, I would write all the time, all the time, every day, all day, because that's where I got my joy from.Emma Dhesi:
So when did you take that make that step from writing stories to get out of trouble writing stories for a living?Sylvia Hubbard:
Well, I want when I gave birth to my daughter, I was still writing, but it was kind of like, oh, I'll just write, you know, get into a corner and just right. But then when I held my daughter, my first daughter in my arms and looked in her eyes, I realized that I could not be a hypocrite, and raise this child and say, you know, do your dreams, follow your passions, do your goals, when I wasn't doing that myself, I was not going to raise her to see me in that light, I want it to be able to show her how to reach her dreams and goals and passions, and show that it leads to the profit that she wants to get to. So that's why I, you know, took that step. And, you know, I had to, you know, it was it was a drive in me as always, but it was kind of like she was the key to the car that could be driven.Emma Dhesi:
Insane, It never ceases to fascinate me that for so many women, myself included, and and other women have met as well. Having a daughter particularly can be that catalyst to suddenly realize that this other person is depending on you to set the example and, great! for our children. And so then it makes us lift and raise our game as well through today.Sylvia Hubbard:
Keeps you on your toes, because she is a smart, she's smart as a whip. So I had to, like think three steps ahead of her at all time. So, but it just made parenting and writing even that much fun because her seeing my success. I know, it's so cool, because when she was 16, I was actually honored, I was surprised by an honor I didn't realize I was gonna get I just brought her along with me. And then they called me on stage and gave me this wonderful honor of being a mom, being a writer. I was just like, Whoa, and it was just so great to see, you know, her looking at me getting something and receiving an award and being recognized for like all the hard work, she was crying, she started crying. I started crying. I was like, oh my god. So it was a great thing. But yeah, it is it's awesome. You know, when your children can see your success and follow it through and say, you know, they were there from the get go. And that's really awesome to know and give, that's a legacy I can leave towards my children. And they can pass that down to there. So..Emma Dhesi:
Well, congratulations on your awards.Sylvia Hubbard:
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Really awesome. But yeah, I just I always tell myself, I just want to make my mom proud. So I might as well do the same so.Emma Dhesi:
So you've won an award and then for being a mom as well as being a writer, and you specialize in romance suspense, right? wondered if you could differentiate for me what the differences between say pure romance and then pure suspense. So for example, I know that in pure romance, there's got to be that happy ever after ending? Definitely. Is that the same in this hybrid? That you you write it?Sylvia Hubbard:
Yes, it's actually it is the same, you still have to stick to the rules and, and, and boundaries of each. Each each genre, you still have to stick to it no matter what. What it is, is that you're weaving it together. So where the suspense in the romance even though in the as you see my hands, they come together, they crossover but at the same time, they're taking place at the same time. So you're basically taking that happily ever after. And that that suspenseful element of either I'm going to kill somebody I am going to poison somebody, somebody is not gonna make it and you're constantly driving that home, you know, to the reader that they might not make it even though I promised you I happily ever after. So it just keeps you more on the edge of Yes, this romance is happening all through the book, but hey, somebody's gotta die. So when people ask me, What do I write and I do say romance suspense, they always say what does that mean? And I say, Well, I make people fall in love and I kill somebody so hard to get a date you know, but But yeah, it It works out. So I guess yeah, it's really fun, I guess because I've always loved romance. I started reading it when I was illegally 12. But and then it was just that suspenseful element of, of where the danger comes in. And I'm putting my characters in precarious situations that, you know, hey, I didn't mean to walk through this door. But now that I did, and my life is changing, let's see where this takes me. So and then living in Detroit, you just never know what could come from it. So that makes it even more fun. That becomes even an extra character in the story, because the majority of my stories do take place in Detroit. So it's, it's kind of fun.Emma Dhesi:
Now, I don't know Detroit at all. So tell me a little bit about how it comes into your stories?Sylvia Hubbard:
Well, a lot of people know Detroit as being the number. We are always at the top five murder capital of the of the country.Emma Dhesi:
I didn't know that, kind of Motown and the music industry and cars.Sylvia Hubbard:
Yeah, yeah, it is. It's wonderful, and cars and music and everything. And but we also always at the top five of the top, murder in Detroit, in America, and then we have the highest urban African American population. In the United States, that means more black people live in Detroit than anywhere else in the United States. And that's basically because of cars and music. A lot of people of African Americans came here because of that, and situated their lives here and have been here, like, for long period for forever, to me, is forever, you know, so we have a very large population here. So that brings a lot of drama, a lot of a lot of variety and statuses and everything. So I can mix up stories where, you know, someone, you know, in Detroit, you know, one block, it could be, you know, the houses are worth 15,000, the next block, they're worth almost half a million. Okay, so that's the variety of characters we have in Detroit, and you can't find anything else here. We also have the largest in our vicinity, we have the largest Arab American population in the United States. And Michigan itself has the largest militia. So you know, bringing all those elements about, you know, our love my location and where I am. I mean, in Michigan, it's just a wonderful because we have, we actually experience so many different seasons, a lot of people come here to camp vacation during the summer, because there's so many regions in Michigan alone, that you can go to at one time. So that's pretty cool...Emma Dhesi:
I need to put that on my, Michigan on my destination. This one, when I'm able to travel again.Sylvia Hubbard:
It's very Yeah, it's very diverse. You are going to find a lot of things to do here. I love this state. You know, I love you know where I am and everything. I don't do hot well, and I don't do too, too, too cold. Well, so that kind of you know where I am is great. And we're right off the lake. So we you know, we're never going to experience a drought.Emma Dhesi:
Yeah, sounds like a wonderful setting for your stories, lots of different characters, lots of room for the drama that you have in yourself so...Sylvia Hubbard:
Yeah, so it gives me even more variety to the romance suspense element, because I can throw those in. And a lot of I think a lot of writers forget that, like your surroundings can be a character in the story itself. And it can provide even torture plot. And I remember one story I wrote, I had to shoot the guy five times in the chest, and I actually called my dad to find out, how could I shoot him five times and get him to live? And my dad actually knew the answer right away, which was scary. He was like, he would have to be near the river about November when the temperature is about 37-47 degrees. Once he drops in there, his temperature drops immediately down to 50. And that slows the bleeding and I was like thank you daddy you so awesome.Emma Dhesi:
I am not going to ask how you knew that, I am not going to askSylvia Hubbard:
I didn't ask either, I was... I didn't want to know. But thank you, I used that in the story.Emma Dhesi:
Tell me about your stories talking about stories I know that your most recent book is Black innocent, Innocence, Black Innocence and that's book number five in your black family series series, right? So can you tell us about the series and even you know about This is the number five, Book number five.Sylvia Hubbard:
So I'm always writing especially for my male characters, there's always something different about them. And I got really hung up on revenge in and just something kind of off about the black men, there's just, they always have something off about them something either a weird fetish, or they had one of them had multi personality. One of them was extensively fat, he had been like 800 pounds, and then he got reconstructive surgery, and it was always like an image problem for him. So it was like these black men always had like something behind them a past that. So I always say in them crazy needs love to...Emma Dhesi:
Persons, like you delve into some quite deep, quite deep issues there, you know, multiple personality disorder, kind of Yeah. dismorphia. And so that's, that's sounds like that's an interest to you, as well as kind of and how multifaceted people are.Sylvia Hubbard:
Yeah, a lot of things that people, especially an alpha males, that when alpha males come on the scene, and especially in a romance, he's perfect. He's always perfect. He always has, you know, he's strong. He's this, but then I like to look at the background, how did he get that strong? You know, we as women, we always think, Okay, well, we go through the fire, we do this. And, you know, we stand strong, because we got kids, and we can birth babies, you know, we can drop a baby and still go to work the next day, you know, we're Oh. But I grew up with my dad. He was actually my primary, my parents got divorced early, and my dad actually took custody of us, which was kind of weird back in the 80s, and 90s, for a male to be a single parent. And it was it was like, three girls and one boy. So you know, he was actually raised to read. Yeah, so it was it was interesting to go bra shopping with your father, you know, you're always had these experience of going shoe shopping or something. You know, they will always that would be the first question. They always ask me, how did you go bra shopping with your dad? We're and it was for me, it's normal. You know, that was my normal, but growing up with him, and he's just I think they broke the mold when I made my dad. But getting that strength and finding that strength. I, you know, you see the man you love. And then you wonder, where did it come from? How did he get like that? You know, how did he you know, how is he so smart? You know, how does he think fast on his feet? How is he he manages to do all of this. So with me when I create no characters I want to I explore that depth. This is how they became like this. This is why they have this foundation. I think men are like houses. how they how they are built is how strong they become. So I love to explore that foundation in the story. And because that is what we fall in love with. When we see a man we fall in love with the house. But then we really, we really fall into that foundation because that foundation is what secures us and what makes us like oh my god, this is a man.Emma Dhesi:
So lovely analogy.Sylvia Hubbard:
So yes, that's why my black men are when I go into their head, I'm kind of just overwhelming because they're so they they come from a long line of don't mess with me. I have to seek revenge for what you did. And that's where this story. Book five, it's a standalone or like companionship book. So these are all brothers and cousins, all the black men, so they all have their own story. So you don't have to read the whole series in order to pick up blacks innocence. You can start the series wherever you want. But Tyler Black is the the fifth book in the series. In this story, it involves actually it starts with Lauren who we as women plan the perfect life and that's what Lauren did. And she just wanted you know, the perfect life the perfect husband, you know, kids and the the cars and the garage and the white picket fence mansion and everything. And she built the dowry. You know in the 21st century. She built her own dowry. She took out loans to have like this $250,000 wedding. She saved herself. She was 32 years old saved. So from marriage, because she was going to marry this lawyer. And that's what she wanted, until Tyler comes into the picture and like destroys everything, then then all to get revenge on her husband to be. So it was all a plan to get unfortunately, Lauren got in his way. And that's where that's actually where the story starts. Okay? After he destroys her what she's left with that, that's actually the three first three chapters, and then the whole book is just about Lauren, finding out when God when you make plans, God laughs number one. Sometimes the life that you plan is not the life that you need. And number three, you know, love is really complicated. And you know, it's not just, it's an easy way to get to the door. But opening up that door and getting through it is even harder, and you really have to want it. So that's the whole three things about this book that people will walk awayEmma Dhesi:
What sounds wonderful, I'm intrigued. I'm from. really intrigued.Sylvia Hubbard:
Thank you. It was fun, it was fun to write.Emma Dhesi:
I'm gonna change tack just a little bit and ask you about your your writing life. So I wonder, you know, do you because you're right, so prolifically, you write, because you write both fiction and nonfiction, and you're a blogger, and you do a moderating. So do you? Do you with your novels? First of all, do you plan them? Do you plot them in advance? Or do you write by the seat of your pants? Do you kind of find out what's happening as you write?Sylvia Hubbard:
So I am a pantser? with a with a drip a plotter? I throw myself in the fire, they'd be like, Okay, wait, we need a plan. So, so someone asked me how, what order do I come up with it. So usually, I'm always having characters in my head. It's kind of like that movie glass, where it's chairs in my head. And somebody you know, is sitting in a chair. And if I see a flaw in someone, in real life, I'm like, Oh, I love that fault. Or I love that characteristic. And I throw them to one of the characters in the chair, when I feel that one of those characters in the chair is fully there, and I'm talking to them daily. I'm like, Oh, I like you, you're nice. I, here's your name, you have a great name, oh, my god, you're just amazing, then I find somebody in another chair that they would absolutely hate. And I bring them together and find a plot. And once I find the plot, that's when both of them can hold the light. And I can start writing. So that's how my writing process actually goes, which I know is strange. But that's literally how it goes. Once I'm holding and got them on paper, then that's where the plotting comes in is that I need to make sure I'm hitting their three arcs, you know, and I'm going through the pyramid of making sure we got an up and down and then small up and then down. And then, we are coming to a resolution. So and of course during all that I'm weaving basically two stories together of romance and suspense, all the while trying to work out their personal problems, and the major story plotline.Emma Dhesi:
It is a lot and I think new writers in particular, that feel that they should in inverted commas, have everything worked out, it all feel kind of this nice, smooth line where they know where they're going. But in reality, it does often start as a kind of a jumble in your head, and you've got all these different ideas. And especially if you're adding a sort of Venn suspense element in we've got to drop clues and things. Right. I think it's always reassuring for other writers to hear that. Even for those who are as experienced as yourself. There's, there is still that jumble to begin with. And then writing as you're plotting, it slowly begins to smooth out and the path to be clear.Sylvia Hubbard:
It comes clear. And it tells us a lot about writing things down in the comments. You know, I'm often like, because sometimes well now I'm using Google Docs a lot. So I have a comment thing where I can just actually add a comment on the side and say, okay, don't forget to add this there. Or I can go back and say, Okay, I know I needed a plot point there. So it's all it's it. I tell people to write everything down even if your your whole notebook is filled with, you know, post it notes and everything right, those little notes that You know, hear in your head or warnings, you know, write them down, even if they come to nothing, write everything down. So I'm constantly You know, I've got notebooks I've got, you know, journals, I've, I've got online notebooks for every story, you know, just to kind of keep up with it. But once they get the light, I'm, I'm there with them. I'm like, Okay, look, we can start the story. And it's kind of like just cooking, you know, you put the ingredients out, and then you don't know what you're really cooking. But those ingredients look good. Let's see where this goes. And then once you start adding everything together, you're like, Okay, now I know. You know, and I know a lot of OCD writers where they have to write every little plot point down. And I'm like, by that time, I'm exhausted, I don't even want to write the story. So that's how I know I'm a, I'm like a 95% pantser you know, with a 5% plotting element in me because I do have to in my, you know, in my suspense thing, you know, like he said, know where to put the red herring, know where to you know, where to reveal the, the Big Bang moment or the crap hit the fan moment. You know, I do have to keep all of that in mind. And I think that's why I do kind of write romance suspense, because with the romance is just, it's too easy. For me, it's just like, bam, bam, bam. But writing the suspense actually keeps me in line, you know, it keeps them you know, me, keeping that and then I have to take longer turns out that romance and ignite more fires, you know, and, you know, create more passion in order to Okay, we're gonna wait for this suspense element to come before I reveal this big love scene. So yeah, it keeps me in line and then makes it even more enticing to the reader like, okay, When are they going to get together? When is he finally going to say I love you? Or, you know, When is she gonna find out about the baby, you know? So yeah, that I love that I love mixing the two because it just makes the book even spicier and makes the book even just fun to write. You know, it just, it makes me excited. And so then I just know, it's going to just make the reader even more excited. I'm like, Oh my God, this looks so good. And then the reader is like, Oh my god, that was amazing. I was like, I know...Emma Dhesi:
You have great fun writing your stories. And that's another thing I think is important for writers to remember is it is meant to be fun, we do this because we love it. Oh my god is... when you take it so seriously, and it's so high and it just let it go let it flow a bit. And so giving us a lovely, lovely reminder, I listeners can't see Sylvia space here, but when she's talking about lights up, what a beautiful smile. So it's great that you're giving us this lovely reminder. So you your 95% panter or 5% water and then in your day to day life. And you've got three kids as well a new.Sylvia Hubbard:
Three that I know of...Emma Dhesi:
Okay. Three that you know that.. how do you put all this together? How do you find the time to work on your fiction, your nonfiction, or blogging? You're older you're being a parent all those things? How do you on a day to day basis manage that?Sylvia Hubbard:
So I wake up with an attitude of telling myself there's you can't give yourself an excuse to fail, That's the first thing I tell myself. Really, I you know, after I pray that I can I can make it through the day. Then because when the kids were babies, it was kind of like I had to set a routine with them. So then they understood if my fingers were on the keyboard unless you were dying. Don't bother me. If you're dead you can wait. And that sounds cruel but after three kids after the third one you're like you know what? they bounce you're good I'm fine. So like they got into the the knowledge of knowing that this made me happy. So in order for you to be happy you have to make mommy happy. So that's the second rule is let the people you care about who are close to you know that your writing makes you happy and if they would like to see you happy let you write understand that this means a lot to you. So the kids were the kids after a while understood. You don't want me to be a mommy, you really don't want me to be. So do what I already told you to do. But like yeah, just handling. Doing writing when I Could that's basically what I would do is when they were little I would write when I could. So I had wireless keyboards all the time. journals, I would always have notebooks with me, I usually carry whatever story I had, or I was working with, I carried it around with me. So even I would print it off and carry it like a baby. Because what it was, it was training me, it's kind of like when you do have that Baby, you're constantly putting the baby down to walk, because you're tired of carrying it. So every day, you're like, Okay, let's walk, let's walk, we'll carry in that book with me, as it got heavier and heavier, it became a burden, I'd have to get these bigger bags, as the book got heavier and heavier. And it was kind of like my constant reminder of, you need to work on this book, let's work on this book, let's get it done. So then we can get a lighter bag. So that was my, my incentive to always be writing on my books. The blogging came easy, because it was just, you know, I know, I needed fodder for my site, and just sharing my literary world with my readers and seeing them, you know, light up or writing articles about my knowledge or doing videos, about you know, what I learned today, it just became easy for me to do more and more as I shared, I learned from myself, because it's kind of I'm not saying that the way Einstein said it, but in order to be a master, I needed students. And, and, and you also, in order to understand something, no matter how complicated is, you should be able to explain it in layman's terms. So a lot of times, like, I would try to explain it to my kids, you know, I'd be trying to explain it to my five year old, you know, I'd be like, do you understand? And you'd be like, no, as like, okay. So that's why a lot of times people say, Oh, my God, you have awesome analogies. And that's because you try to explain something to a five year old. You will definitely understand how it works. I'm gonna tell you that.Emma Dhesi:
I love that, yeah I need I have three kids as well, I think I need to start explaining to them my writing processes and see if they can make sense to them. Because Yeah, you do explain things really, really well. And yeah, as you say, with the analogies, I really like the analogies that you've been given. So thank you to your children for that, that's great.Sylvia Hubbard:
Yeah, that please don't tell them that.Emma Dhesi:
So how old are you children now?Sylvia Hubbard:
Well, now they Oh, good, Lord, I gotta think about it. Okay, so now the oldest one, she actually had just had her birthday. So she's 24 years old, because I've been writing for 20 years, actually. Yes, she's 24. Yep. There isn't writing published for 24. Yeah, she's 24. So I've been published for 20 years, I was like, oh, and the sun is wanting to, and the youngest one is, I think 19.Emma Dhesi:
Okay, so they're all grown up now. So they don't demand as much of your attention now, you know, they don't need you to help or get fed and all of that. So how do you? How do you structure your day Now, in terms of your writing?Sylvia Hubbard:
I actually can write more. That's, that's, that's the only good thing is that I can write, I can write a lot more. But what I've now done is because I was writing a whole bunch while they were growing up, now I'm trying to structure my business a little bit more more organization in my business. So I'm doing a lot more blogging, a lot more literary doulas encouraging people and everything like that. And but then I am actually structuring my writing where I don't have to wait until they go to sleep and use 10 minutes of the time to do it or, or you know, waiting for them to come out to, you know, sports session and just typing in my car or something like that. Now, I can actually structure my time where I can sit for two, three hours, do the writing that I want, you know, that I enjoy. And then during the day, I can go ahead and do the business part. So that's the only that's the only difference is that now I can structure my time. Back when they were growing up, it was like, Okay, let me get 10 minutes here. Let me get 30 minutes there. And I think as as women, we think, Oh my God, if I don't have those three hours set time, I can't write, but I'm going to tell you 10 minutes, you can do at least about 1000 words. So if you take you know, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes here, you know, a half an hour here, you've your you know, hour and a half or something like that, you've done two hours of writing that day. So don't think about it and that's what I started to do is really break down time in terms of like not just even minutes but seconds like if I can just get something done in this in these seconds, that's enough for me. And then when those more free seconds, you know, they take naps, they go away for just a moment. They go bother their sister, brother, you know, so I can get things done, you know, we can do a lot in that 24 hours. So stop asking for more time in the day and start doing stuff in that free time that you have. And in those seconds in those minutes, and I can I can tell you, it does help, especially as we become busier and busier and busier, you know, start finding out where you are wasting time, and then replace it with the things that you need to be doing that day. So that's what basically I would do, because a lot of people say, Well, how did you get? How did you, you know, you know, manage three kids, you were a single mom, you're working 40 hours a day, you're running an organization, you know, you're doing speaking events. And it was it was just those little pieces of time that I would just take, and I unimaginable amount of things could be done in those little pieces of time. I used to tell my kids, everything takes 10 minutes, everything, I don't care what it is, it takes no more than 10 minutes to do. And you just have to figure out how to do it within that 10 minutes, you know, and that's what, that's how basically what I would do is everything, I would just look at everything and says, Okay, we're going to try to get this down to just 10 minutes. Could be like, Oh, no, it takes hours to do it. No doubt. No doubt. We got 10 minutes, and we're gonna break it down, and we're gonna get it done. So and that's how basically now I rule My life is that if I need something important done, I just tell myself, literally Sylvia, you can do this in 10 minutes. And then the chore doesn't seem so bad. You know, like, hey, that's 10 minutes, I can do that. Bam, bam, bam.Emma Dhesi:
Yeah, I totally, totally agree. You don't need those two hours. But you do just need to make use of the time that you've got. And 10. As you say, it's amazing how much you can get done in 10 minutes? Absolutely. I think it's a great philosophy. And I think it's a great one to have passed down to your kids. So I hope they take that one on board. And they'll....Sylvia Hubbard:
Oh, they do. It's fun. Because my son, he actually he'll go to jobs and everything and he'll get stuff done. Like right away. They just give them something. And he's like, mom they want to move me to assistant manager. I would like you just been working here, mom. He said, yeah. He said, I work really good. You're welcome. You're welcome. I taught you back that that's me. That's me.Emma Dhesi:
You taught there a little bit. So about your sort of philosophy around writing. And and as we've mentioned, you know, you're a blogger, you're a fiction writer, a nonfiction writer, you have podcast. And and I know that you're also in literary encouragement and do that. What are some of the ways in which you help budding writers? I'm guessing an element of it is understanding that they can do they can do it in 10 minutes at a time?Sylvia Hubbard:
Yeah, definitely. But also, I take the approach, because there's so many people out there trying to tell, you know, writers and authors how to do things and everything. What they're not doing is teaching us how to tell people how to help us. You know, and a lot of times, that's, that's where writers get, you know, we don't know how to talk to people, we can talk to our characters all day long. Give me a blank piece of paper, I'm good. But trying to say, Okay, this is the kind of marketing I need, or this is the kind of writing I want to learn about. I really get into that. And so I'm encouraging them by talking, helping them talk about this is what you actually do need to do in order to get to that goal, you know, and then constantly encouraging them. Because usually, it's not me trying to get you to your goal. It's you already having the answer to get there. And what I'm doing is just telling you as a doula, how to do it. That's what doulas usually do. We already know how to have a baby. We just need somebody to tell us to Okay, breathe. And just let yourself do it. So that's why I usually use the word doula because I'm already finding out that you already have everything you need in order to succeed. You just need someone there to help you get to where you need to be and use the tools you already have. Because there's so many people saying, Oh, you have to you have to get this or you have to get this and then we're like, Okay, well, I don't have the money to do it. Or I know I don't have the time to do that program. But you really already have the tools you need to get to your goals. You just need someone to say Okay, you already know how to do this, let's just put this into this kind of format, so you can understand it. My mom says people learn different kind of ways and trying to get people to understand the way they learn is what you need to do. So that's basically what I am there for is to help you help yourself, help me get to where you need to be.Emma Dhesi:
I think that's so true. I'm certainly one of those people who, particularly when I'm learning something new, I just want that more experienced person to tell me my do this, then do this, then do this, then do this. And then I'll do it, making a few mistakes along the way. But that's how how I learn best is by doing it, I just need that bit of guidance. So I would be up for that. Definitely. So not only do you do that, not only are you a literary encouragement, do that, but you are the Finder of Motown writers and the Michigan literary network. And I'm wondering what prompted you to to find those organizations?Sylvia Hubbard:
Well, I'm, I'm going to be honest with you, and say it was kind of like a selfish endeavor. So when I first got started, I was kind of I was a single mom, I was a beginning, a single mom all over again, because I was in the middle of a divorce. And a lot of authors were out there. And this was back in 2000, when self publishing had just started to boom, you know, and a lot of them wanted you to buy their book, go into their program, do their workshops, you know, do the they wanted me to jump through hoops, you know, and stuff like that I didn't have the time, I didn't have the money, but I want the knowledge. So I had to sit back and realize something, writers or authors love to talk about themselves. I was already a journalist, I've been a journalist in high school and for college and everything like that. So what I did was I created this website called Motown writers, quote, unquote. And so on this website, I would tell authors, hey, you could get a great interview on here, and I'd feature your book, get a link to mine, and they'd be like, Okay, and then I could ask them whatever questions, I want it and learn whatever I want it to know, because authors love to talk about their books and what they did and how they did it. So I started this website, I put like a subscription button, you know, if you want to update and everything. So for a year, I, you know, I was doing all these interviews with all these authors and everything. And then I went to this conference, and this girl, you know, she had this, you know, we had to put down like what group we were a part of, if you were a group, you'll put it down there. So she had Motown writers as her group. And I was like, you're a mix of Motown writers out there. And I thought it was another one. And she was like, Oh, my God, this is the most amazing group in the world. It gives you all this information. She does interviews, and she puts articles up, and she's just so wonderful. I was like, I want to join this group. When I get a membership. She was like, Yeah, but it's free. Because all you got to do is just join and you get these updates, and it's just so informative. And then she's like, yeah, you just go to Motown writers.com I was like, Great, that's, that's my website.Emma Dhesi:
Oh, my gosh, I go back in my my back, boy, you know, your dashboard. I see like, 75 people have signed up. And I like I you because I was just posting these articles. But there was only because, you know, I kind of just, you know, wanted the information. I really wasn't caring about the analytics or anything. People have been subscribing leaving comments, everything, you know, oh, my God, this is great. I was like, wow, I guess I am an organization now. I better keep it going mine as well.Emma Dhesi:
She's not when your blog started as well is that when you began blogging?Sylvia Hubbard:
Basically, what I was doing was a lot of B2B blogging, but it was like kind of more comedy at everything on the B2B but on here, i was able to you know, to share information because it was so much, i was interviewing authors i was realizing there was a lot more information, but we more directing authors towards they need it to be because there wasn't information about publishing a book or marketing a book but if you go through business, small business there was a lot of information about marketing a book or copywriting or how to tell a story, engage customers and those were what w needed in order to be a authorpreneur because no o e was telling us how finding th se business articles or findin PR sites to, you know, say, Okay, this is how you get in tou h with the media. This is how ou, you know, find a way to ge on radio shows, you know, bec use of for businesses, it was am, and over there, you know, they were showing small busines es how to create a business on the internet, but they were not showing authors have Ma ter of fact, it was so many when I started getting an ebooks b fore everyone else, New York Times bestseller, like no on will ever want to buy a eboo and read it on the screen. That s the silliest thing. And sh told me to stop, she's like, st p pushing that stop pushing being an ebook author. That's not something to brag abou . Like, seven years later, she as calling me saying, Okay, o you know anything more about t e ebook stuff? And I w s like, I'm glad my mama raise me Christian, because I wanted o tell her whEmma Dhesi:
So you were really one of the pioneers, one of those very early days of self publishing in.Sylvia Hubbard:
I loved it, I bought my house ebooks bought my house, I don't care what nobody said,Emma Dhesi:
You were part of the gold rush.Sylvia Hubbard:
Right, it was all my goodness, it was Christmas time was the best time it's still good. I think we've lost sight of like how to do it. But it's still, it's still a very profitable time during the holidays, to get book sales, you just got to, you just got to know your audience, and you got to just, you know, be where they are in order to get those sales. So I mean, this is a different way to do it. And that's why a lot of times I'm writing fake nonfiction books about, you know, the 21st century marketing, I'm really pushing that because the same things we did back in the 20th century was back in 2000. You know, it was it's not the same now. But it's just, it's almost the same, but with a different twist, you know, it's cherries on top. So you have to take the same practices, but apply 21st century marketing techniques to it. So that's basically it. So don't think that it's long dead. It's just, it's just a different door down the same street. So that's basically how you can say.Emma Dhesi:
I like this, I like this. So that was a great way of learning. It was very setting up those two networks, those two groups was a really great way of bringing the learning to you. It's very entrepreneurial of you. It's not, it's amazing that you're an entrepreneur. And so if you could offer, you know, one piece of advice to a beginner writer who's starting out today, what what might that be?Sylvia Hubbard:
Starting out today, I would say, never stop. And I'm giving you the same advice Judith McNaught gave me I waited four hours in line for this advice. Literally four hours in the coal to get up there and ask her, you know, how do you finish a book and she said, Just don't stop. That was her only advice. I wanted to hurt her because my feet hurt. But taking it in, I realized, it's not just in your writing career, but in this whole endeavor of your literary career. Don't stop just because no one showed up. Just because no one bought a book just because you know, you, you feel like you can't get to that next point in your story. Don't stop, just keep trying to write the book, keep trying to publish the book, keep trying to market the book. Because in the end, it's not about it's not about the failures that you you had endured, but it's about the journey that you took. And that's where it where the payoff is going to come in. And that consistency to keep trying keep doing and making it happen is where the success is going to come from. Is that consistency to constantly keep going.Emma Dhesi:
I love it. I love it. Thank you. And so what are you working on at the moment because I know that you are consistent and you keep going and you keep working on right now.Sylvia Hubbard:
Well, now I'm working on that my next is called essence divine. And actually my readers of my sneak readers got a preview copy. This is their Christmas package that they're all getting. So all of them signed up. We have a group on on Facebook, so all of them signed up, sent me their addresses, knowing that I won't stop them to buy a book. But they got the first like two chapters of the book. And that's my new endeavor for 2021. Is that story, basically about a man who's in a coma. But surprisingly, he has two kids and don't know about it. So that's gonna be fun.Emma Dhesi:
And so you're just there? Where can listeners find out more about you and your books and your doula work online?Sylvia Hubbard:
So I have my website is SylviaHubbard.com And that's where I'm usually, you know, showing, you know, what I'm promoting, you know, what I'm talking about my literary life, and so forth. And of course, there's motownwriters.com they can always go there. And even if you aren't from Michigan, because usually we promote Michigan authors, because our goals now is to get writers to their literary goals. But we do promote Michigan authors, because we want more people to know about the essence of Detroit, more people to know about that, you know, there's a writing essence here, and you know, we create unique stories. But I also dev out information about writing, promoting and marketing all the time. We have Facebook groups, so because we meet virtually now, virtually now, but we have experts from all over come in and share their knowledge. We have a Facebook group for meltdowns, and I have a Facebook group for my readers group as well, where we talk about my stories. They talk about like other writers that are like me, and we discuss all kinds of things, because they have a lot of questions for me. Whoever is really weird, that's, it's that's the most I think that's a, I think that's, that's the hardest part about being an author is talking about your imaginary friends. Because we're always told stop talking about your imaginary friends. But like, we're authors, we have to, because that's, that's our bread and butter. So we have to fight that knowledge of we have to talk about them. So..Emma Dhesi:
That's a great place. Well, I should link to all of those in the show notes for anybody who is interested. Well, Sylvia, you've been a joy to chat to you. Thank you so much for your time today.Sylvia Hubbard:
Thank you. It's an honor to be here. Thank you for asking me. I was so excited. I was like, Oh my gosh, and it's in the UK. I felt so International. I felt almost Beyonce. I was like, somebody knows me. I'm across the water now. I can't be stopped. I'm unstoppable.Emma Dhesi:
You are I have a feeling you are.Sylvia Hubbard:
Thank you very much. Thank you.Emma Dhesi:
Thank you for listening to today's show. Now if you'd like to find some more ways to write, you can download my free cheat sheet 30 Top Tips to find time to write by going to emmadhesi.com/30 top tips. If you'd like to connect with me, you can find me on Facebook at Emma Dhesi author. And if you're enjoying the podcast so far, please don't forget to leave a review wherever you download your podcasts. It really does help new listeners find the show and of course I appreciate your support. Until next time, keep writing