Cheryl Wright has realized her dreams, not once
but twice in less than five years. At the age of 39, she became an interior
design consultant, then began her writing career. This amazing woman lives in
the West Indies and freelances mostly through the Internet. She works full
time, writes every day and has a family. You can e-mail Cheryl at
You are one busy writer! You work full-time as an interior design
consultant. How do you juggle writing, work and a family?
Wright: Actually, I work full-time as a
customer service representative at an interior finishes showroom. I also do
interior design consulting when I can fit it. Freelance writing is convenient
because I can do that at home.
Juggling it all is a challenge sometimes, but
my children are 21 and 18 years of age and attend the local university. My
husband teaches at a school no more than five minutes away. He cooks everyday,
once I am working. So I'll have to say that he helps me keep it in balance.
Q: When did you first want to be a writer? Was it easy to start living your
Wright: My dream to be a writer began at about the age of eight. I was a
child with a wild fascination with books and words. It was at that age that
I thought that it would be neat to have my picture on a book that I
wrote. The intensity of the dream diminished over the years but up to
the age of fifteen the interest was still there.
It was easy in this sense—the idea to write a column on home decorating
simply popped into my head. I inquired if the editor would be interested and
got the go ahead. I was "so into" interior design at the time that it was easy
to write articles about it.
Q: After completing a course in interior design and becoming a successful
instructor and consultant, you realized that you would rather pursue a full-time career as a writer. What led to this decision? Were your friends and
Wright: It was a couple of years after starting the decorating column that
I realized that I was already living my childhood dream to write. I was a
writer but did not come to terms with that reality because at that time I only
considered myself to be an interior designer who wrote about design
issues. No one has discouraged me from setting my sights on writing as a
career but they have advised me not to give up on interior design all
Q: You live in Trinidad in the West Indies. Does this make it easier or
more difficult to find work as a freelance writer? Do you think of it as a
Wright: It is more difficult for the kind of topics I want to write about
and it is difficult to get in touch with editors. It is an advantage because I
concentrate on writing for the Internet. With a couple clicks of the mouse I
can query an editor or submit an article on just about any topic.
Q: Your first accepted article was about home decorating. Do you foresee
blending your two career choices by writing about design?
Wright: I blended the two for several
years. But I don't want to be seen only as an interior design writer. Recently
I began expanding my horizons by writing motivational and self-care articles
especially for women. This I believe also will increase my marketability.
Q: In a past interview, you mentioned that your motto is "Write
Regardless." Great motto! How important would you say it is for writers to
follow your lead?
Wright: I cannot stress enough, how important it is for writers to
write every day. I know only too well how difficult it is to maintain a
disciplined writing schedule; anything can and everything will happen to
divert your attention. However, it is only with determination and
self-motivation that we will achieve success.
There is no "one size fits all" method, so writers must devise their own
tricks to help them maintain their writing schedule. They should evaluate
their reasons for writing, their lifestyle and their goals. The outcome will
assist them in coming up with their unique prompts.
Q: In addition to your other activities, you want to start a writing group.
Would an online group be just as helpful?
Wright: Starting a writing group is something I've thought about for a
while. An online group would be just as helpful, I agree, but in my home, there
are four adults, who use the Internet at night. So the online group would not
be an option right now.
Since I have discovered the joy of writing I have this desire to gather a
group of local writers to brainstorm, write, and encourage one another. As
much as I would like to do this, I have not made one step towards making it
happen because it will be a major challenge with my limited time. Let's
just leave it as something I'd like to do, some time.
Q: You suffer from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. Will you still be
able to write with this painful disease?
Wright: RA has not yet affected my fingers or wrist to any extent, so far.
Inflamed joints cause me pain for periods of three to six weeks at a time. By
the third week I am so tired of the pain that I begin to slip into a state of
depression and it is at that point I find it difficult to write.
When I am too out of it emotionally, but
conscious enough to remember that I ought to "write regardless" I write in my
journal, which I keep on my computer. I write about how miserable and decrepit
Q: In your opinion, what was your greatest writing achievement? Did it give
you satisfaction, monetary compensation or status?
Wright: Submitting my first article and seeing it published was my
greatest writing achievement because I fiddled with that piece for months.
Then one day I said, "Cheryl, enough is enough. There is a time to read and
write and edit and there is a time to put your work out there. Submit your
story." I did.
I did not receive payment for that article, but within one week I received
over fifty e-mails from people around the world who wrote to tell me that they
were encouraged by my story, they too had/have dreams of being an interior
design and/or writer and their life experiences were similar to
mine. They wanted guidance. They asked for my advice. I took a deep breath and
replied to each person. I am still working with a few of them as they plod
along the road to achieving their dreams.
When my husband remarked that I should consider being a motivational speaker and
coach, I gave it some serious thought because, in fact, I was being a coach to
these new friends I had made. It is an option I can pursue.
Q: What goals are you working on right now? What are you doing to
work toward those goals? What assignment would you consider the "crowning
glory" of your career so far?
Wright: (1) I am writing a book, my story, to be titled Journey To A
Dream. Since it will be my story, there will always be something to add to it.
I write a few pages every weekend, and I expect to have the first draft
completed in August. My intention is to sell a part of it as a book excerpt to
the women's magazines. I'm hoping that its publication will generate some
interest for the book.
(2) One of my goals for this year is to write a column for one of the local
newspapers. It will be a sort of "What a Life!" column, which will be a
combination of personal essays, motivational pieces, comments of local
happenings etc. I have not yet approached an editor with a proposal. I want
to accumulate several pieces, which I will send with the proposal. I believe
that will be the best way for the editor to determine its suitability. There
are three major newspapers in Trinidad and two of them carry a similar column.
The third newspaper editor will be getting my proposal.
(3) The pieces I am writing will not be wasted because as soon as I finish an
article I submit it online. This is an effort to get my motivational pieces on
the Internet and of course to get paid for my work.
(4) Oh, and that's another goal for this year, earn more money from my
writing, because after all, I want to write full-time some time in the next
three to four years.
(5) My daughter is designing a Web site for me,
and that should be available by the end of the year.