Rebecca Mix is a speculative fiction writer, book lover, and hoarder of houseplants. She lives in Michigan with her boyfriend and two very lovable but slightly demonic cats.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
According to my mom, I was dictating stories to her from the time I could talk. I caught the writing bug in elementary school when I joined this little website called Neopets and fell into an odd but wonderful writing community. I got really interested in character when I started writing with my friend Mara (who is still one of my best friends to this day) and the rest was history.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Read what you don’t write. If you’re a novel writer, read a shit ton of short stories. If you write short stories, read a bunch of novels. Read outside your genre. It will make all the difference in the world.
Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Oh gosh. So many. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful the Writing Excuses podcast is. I’ve listened to every episode and it made a world of difference. Sarah Enni’s First Draft podcast is also fantastic. AbsoluteWrite is fantastic if you’re looking for a writing community.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Make time. At one point I was a full-time college student with a 16 credit load, working full-time AND doing an internship. I still wrote. You have to make time, and you have to set boundaries with your loved ones so they understand that writing time is writing time. No more, no less.
Are you an outliner or discovery writer? Or somewhere in between?
This is always a hard thing for me. I don’t physically write outlines—they tend to mess up my process—so I guess I’m a discovery writer, but I usually have a vague sense of where I’m going. It’s typically an image or a glimpse of a moment, but that’s usually what I’m writing towards. Sometimes it changes completely, and sometimes it stays on track.
How do you deal with rejections?
By sending out more stories. Publishing short fiction has been amazing for me. A professor made it a class requirement for us to submit one story to a magazine, and I will always be incredibly grateful. I hated it at first, but submitting and getting rejected taught me really, really quickly that rejections aren’t personal. I think I’m numb to them by now. In the beginning they were crushing, but now when I get that rejection email before I’ve finished reading it I’m already figuring out where I can send it next. If it’s a personal rejection, or one of those beautiful short-listed rejections that comes with loads of feedbacks I take it all in. I don’t always end up changing what they want, but I listen. Someone telling you a problem they had with your story means they were invested enough to care. That goes a long way.
Do you ever get criticism from family or friends who don’t understand your passion?
Maybe? I guess I get criticism from the people that don’t matter as much. But I’ve been really lucky that the people I love most are also my biggest supporters. Most of them might not understand it, but they see how happy it makes me and how much it means to me—so they support me unconditionally in every way they can. My mom, my boyfriend, my aunt and uncle, and a few of my close friends (*waves* Hi Meagan! Hi Natalie!) are the bomb-dot-com when it comes to that.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I definitely want to get my first pro-market short story sale. When I started writing and publishing short fiction back in March my goal was just to get published. Then it was token payment. Then semi-pro. Then an anthology. Now I’ve got my eyes and my heart set on those beautiful, glittering pro-market mags. We’ll see! I’m also querying a novel, so I’ve got lofty goals all over the place.
What are your writing goals for the next five years?
Five years?! I’m only twenty-two. I can barely plan on the next year, let alone five!! But I would love to have a book out, or a book deal pending. Ugh, five years? I don’t even know. I’ll be like, old at that point. I hope I don’t have grey hair…
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I’m one of those weird people that will read several books at once. Right now I’m reading Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I also just finished binge-reading Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. Holy life-changing book, Batman!