O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Interview with a Writer (Me)

I just finished up answering some questions for a publication that will be featuring one of my articles this fall. It’s one of those “contributor profile” kinds of things where they ask a whole bunch of questions and then pick out some of the quirky stuff in your answers to give you a little context for whatever article you’ve written.

That kind of thing.

I like to multitask, so it occurred to me that my answers to those questions would make a good blog post. Also, I’m a narcissist. (All bloggers are, to a degree.) And so I just assume you readers want to read my answers to these interview questions, right? Of course you do.

So here they are:

What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?


It’s actually a bit of design advice (I’m also a professional graphic designer): “White space is always good.” The more white space in a design, the more attention is given to the important stuff. That’s good design advice, but also good life advice. Margins are good. By making sure I have enough “empty time” in my life, I keep sight of what’s important.

Tell our readers three things they don’t know about you.

1. I can play the hammered dulcimer (like Rich Mullins…but not as well as Rich Mullins).

2. I am the drummer for the worship team at my church.


3. And the first book I ever wrote was a suspense novel, about a shepherd. (It never got published.)

When did you know you wanted to be come a writer? When and where was your first article published?

I knew I was naturally talented at writing in high school, when I always excelled in any creative writing assignment or essay. I didn’t decide I wanted to be a Writer (capital W!) until college. My first published article, I think, was for a Southern Baptist magazine called Student.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

My wife, Aimee. She gets to influence pretty much every decision I make.


Do you have any quirky rituals when you write?

I can’t listen to music while I write. It’s too distracting. I wish I could be the type of writer who puts in my earbuds and cranks up something cool to listen to while I churn out words, but I’m not.

What inspires you the most?

As a writer? As unromantic as this sounds, as a writer I am inspired by the idea of financial independence and freedom. My goal has long been to be successful enough in this pursuit to do it full-time, while also supporting my family. I’m not there yet.

As a human, I am inspired by the common mercy of helping improve the lives of others. I love charitable organizations that take a creative approach to meeting peoples’ needs, whether it’s poverty in the U.S. or clean water in Africa. Helping the helpless is so central to the Gospel, it always thrills me to discover a new way to do it.


What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time? movies, books, etc? If you could have any job in the world what would it be?

Since it’s not yet my full-time occupation, I guess writing is a hobby. I’m also a distance swimmer and sprint triathlete. I like to backpack, camp, and flyfish.

If I could have any job in the world? It would be as a full-time novelist.

What goal do you hope to accomplish in the next five years?

Publish my first novel. Only I have no idea what it will be about, so I had better start thinking…


As a narcissist, I’m open to answer any other writing-related (or, well, completely random) questions you might have. Ask in the comments. I’ll try to answer.

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posted June 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm

tell us a little about the balance between "professional writing" (what someone is paying you to do) and blog/facebook/twitter writing – do you focus on one, then the other – switch back and forth every 10 minutes, or flip a coin to decide which to do first?

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posted June 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Curious how many rejection letters (if any) you got before you were published, and did you have an agent before this happened?Also (not a question) but this is a pretty sweet looking blog for blogger. I've been looking to switch to wordpress, but I may stick with blogger after all.

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Jason Boyett

posted June 29, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Ken: The professional stuff always comes first — at least, I'll always put a deadline ahead of a need to post on my blog or tweet or whatever. That said, I'm a pretty good manager of time, so it's rare than I'm so up against a deadline that I can't do the blog/tweet writing.I try to blog four times a week, and tweet some every Monday-Thursday. No set amount, though.But even though I don't get paid for blogging, FB and twitter, I consider social media activity to be extensions of my "brand," so in that way it's all work. But it's fun work. As for the coin-flip thing, blogging and twitter are much more spur-of-the-moment, whereas professional work is planned ahead. So I often break from an assignment or job to tweet a random thought. Then back to the article.

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Jason Boyett

posted June 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

katdish: Thanks for the compliment on the look of my blog. Blogger has some limitations — and I'm far more of a print designer than web guy — but I do like it to look nice. Lots of white space helps. :)Lots of rejection letters before (and after) getting published. I spent two years writing my first novel, and it got rejected by every agent I queried. I have an agent now, but I haven't foisted it upon him, because I know it's not my best work. Learning experience.I don't pitch too much anymore in terms of magazine articles. Most of that writing is assigned, or I've learned to pitch what editors want, because I've gotten to know those editors via networking or prior relationships. Who you know is VERY important in freelancing.As for book proposals, even now, with an agent, I've gotten rejections for some new book ideas we're shopping around. Usually, they tell me it's because my idea doesn't fit within their publishing comfort zone. I tell myself it's because I didn't talk about vampires enough in the proposal.

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posted June 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm

I love random questions!1. How did you meet your wife?2. Why don't you have a southern accent in your backpacking video?3. You mentioned being distracted by music while writing. Can you write with other distractions (i.e. your children running around, the TV on or co-workers chatting)?4. Did you swim in high school and if so, which events? I'm assuming you swim freestyle since you swim long distance, but maybe in high school, you were a closet butterfly-er?

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Jason Boyett

posted June 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Janna:Good questions!1. My wife and I met when we were about three years old, in the church nursery. For real. We have known each other our whole lives. Our families grew up together. We have pictures of us camping together as little kids.2. Good observation. I live in the Texas Panhandle but do not have much of a Texas or Southern accent (Though I do end up dropping my g's quite frequently, if I'm not thinkin' about it.) Around here, you'll find people with a strong, twangy southern accent or with a mostly flat midwest one. I'm one of the flat-talkers, which is just fine with me. My paternal grandparents are twangy, as is my dad's sister, but my mom's side of the family (along with my parents and siblings) are mostly accent-free. 3. Actually, I didn't swim at all in high school or college. I started swimming three years ago as a way to live healthier and exercise more. I didn't enjoy running or cardio or weights at all, but discovered I liked swimming a lot. (I have a lanky swimmer's body, which helps.) After several months, I got to where I was comfortable swimming a mile or more at a time. Of course, once I got hooked on swimming, I found my way into running (which I now enjoy), weightlifting and, eventually, triathlon. Activity begat activity. As is often the case.

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