On Being a Working Writer: an Interview with Peggy Dougherty

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Peggy Dougherty

Peggy Dougherty, one of three panelists this Sunday speaking on THE WORKING WRITER

This Sunday, we’re hosting a panel on the working writer, to engage our members in conversation about finding balance and inspiration with our writing careers. In celebration of our final event in this year’s speaker series, we have asked some questions of panelist Peggy Dougherty.

Peggy is an award-winning playwright whose plays have had had thirty-eight productions. Her plays (all comedies) have been performed in New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, Boca Raton, Houston, San Francisco, Great Britain, Toronto, and elsewhere. Peggy is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., and The Drama Association of Rossmoor. She published her first novel, Age Matters, in 2018.

But she also had a day job for many years as a clinical psychologist In 2013 Peggy published a self-help book, The Ten Minute Cognitive Workout: Manage Your Mood and Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day (authored by Peggy Dougherty Snyder, Ph.D.). The book won the 2013 San Diego Book Award for Best Self-Help.

At our Sunday meeting, Peggy will share how she juggled her professional career as a clinical psychologist with her passion for writing. She will discuss how her profession informed her writing and how being self-employed helped her carve out a viable writing schedule. She’ll also share the boundaries she established between her psychology practice and her devotion to her writing passion.Age Matters book cover Peggy Dougherty

1. How do you balance the different ‘hats’ that you wear, as a writer, salesperson, employee, etc? What helps you to get back into the writing headspace after you’ve shifted out of it?

One way I balanced them when I was working is I used different surnames. Peggy Snyder is a psychologist. Peggy Dougherty is a playwright/author. My first play, From Bed to Worse, was a comedy about a psychologist. I didn’t want my clients to hear about the play and think I was poking fun at psychotherapy. (I was poking fun at the psychologist.) So I authored the play and all my subsequent fiction writing as Peggy Dougherty. I had writing days and psychology days (because I didn’t see clients every weekday.) On writing days I introduced myself as Peggy Dougherty. On workdays, I was Peggy Snyder.

Peggy Dougherty's nonfiction book

Peggy Dougherty’s nonfiction book

2. What avenues do you suggest for writers who need more income?

Free-lance writing and/or copywriting. I tried my hand at both with little success, but when I wasn’t working I wanted to work on my current playwriting project–which I started longer ago than I care to admit. Another idea is to get a gig writing a newslettter for an organization.

3. Do you personally prefer day-jobs that involve writing, or that let you do something completely different and take a break from writing?

I prefer a day job that does not involve writing. I have spoken with several writers whose jobs involved several hours each day on the computer. They all said it was difficult to sit down at the computer when they returned home in the evening.

4. What are some tips for time management that have worked for you?

Where do you sneak away downtime to write? I am pretty good about sticking to a writing schedule. At least I was before moving to Rossmoor in August of 2017. In Rossmoor there is a revolving calendar of interesting and exciting events all day/every day. It is like living on a cruise ship without the non-stop buffets or sea sickness. (I especially like my Zumba class, taught by a CWC author!) However, currently I try to devote the mid portion of my day from 11:00 to 5:00-6:00 to writing. This has been a difficult adjustment because I write best in the morning. On writing days in San Diego, where fitness classes started at 7:30 a.m., I was usually at my computer by 9:00- 9:30 and wrote until 5:00. Prior to retirement I seldom tried to write on a psychology day. It was too heart-rending. I really kept a strong boundary between work and writing.


Meet Peggy Dougherty and Discuss Matters Important to Working Writers THIS SUNDAY

Peggy will be joined by fellow professional writers “the Answer Man” Thaddeus Howze and Paul Corman-Roberts, co-founder of the Beast Crawl festival. Watch for an interview with our other two panelists, and plan to attend this exciting panel on May 19th. This will be the final installment in the 2018-2019 speaker program!

Working Writer Panel May 19th

 

 

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5/19 PANEL: “The Working Writer”

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What did Anne Rice, Anton Chekhov, Frank McCourt, Franz Kafka, Harper Lee, Herman Melville, Jorge Luis Borges, Toni Morrison, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams and Virginia Woolf have in common? All of these writers had full-time day jobs.

The struggle all writers have in common, no matter what their genre or medium or level, is working the economy of creativity. Artists with trust funds are as rare as starving artists—the great in-between is filled with writers who are paying the bills. Join us for a panel discussion in May about how writers make their livings.

Working Writer Panel May 19th

“The Working Writer” will feature three writers with different relationships to work.

  • Thaddeus Howze makes a living with his writing
  • Paul Corman-Roberts makes a living doing something related to his writing
  • Peggy Dougherty, now retired, made a living doing something completely UNrelated to her writing.

Meet our Panelists:

thaddeus

Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze, also known as “The Answer Man” on Twitter and Quora, is comic historian and a prolific writer of speculative fiction, scientific, technical and cultural commentary. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories, and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013), an urban fantasy novella starring paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram. Thaddeus works as a writer and editor for two magazines: the Good Men Project, a social men’s magazine; and Krypton Radio, a sci-fi enthusiast media station and website. He is also a freelance journalist for Polygon.com and Panel & Frame magazine. Thaddeus is the co-founder of Futura Science Fiction Magazine and one of the founding members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop in Oakland.

“I define myself as a “working writer” – someone who has accepted the changing nature of work in the modern era and is utilizing “streams of income” in which my goal is to have writing become my main source of income. I have worked in the tech field and in the gig economy (Dasher and Uber), but have developed online patronage through Patreon, staff writing (through Krypton Radio and The Good Men Project) and technical writing assignments with different video-game and computer-technology companies.”

pcrPaul Corman Roberts

Paul Corman-Roberts is well known in the local literary scene as an original co-founder of the Beast Crawl Literary Festival, an electrifying poet, and a warm human presence. He is the author of the full length poetry collection Water for the House of Yes, forthcoming from Nomadic Press in early 2020, the a chapbook collection 19th Street Station that will be reissued from Full of Crow Press later this year, Coming World/Gone World (Howling Dog Press,, 2006), Notes From an Orgy (Paper Press, 2014) and We Shoot Typewriters (Nomadic Press, 2015.) He is an instructor at both the San Francisco Creative Writing Institute and the Older Writer’s Lab in San Francisco, as well as a substitute teacher in the Oakland Unified School District.

Paul Corman-Roberts will speak to the experience of being a contract worker in the literary scene while balancing that work with full- to part-time payroll work positions outside of the arts while pursuing a career as a published writer. Paul can talk about event production and organization, teaching opportunities, and breaking down and throwing your labor in with the service industry. Ask him how to stay sane in this tectonic landscape of the gig economy!

PDS & 10 coverPeggy Dougherty

Peggy Dougherty is an award-winning playwright whose plays have had had thirty-eight productions. Her plays (all comedies) have been performed in New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, Boca Raton, Houston, San Francisco, Great Britain, Toronto, and elsewhere. Peggy is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., and The Drama Association of Rossmoor.

Peggy, a clinical psychologist now retired, has thirty-five years of clinical experience working with adults, couples, children, and families. In 2013 Peggy published a self-help book, The Ten Minute Cognitive Workout: Manage Your Mood and Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day (authored by Peggy Dougherty Snyder, Ph.D.). The book won the 2013 San Diego Book Award for Best Self-Help.

Age Matters, Peggy Dougherty’s first novel, was published on October 5, 2018. This comic novel is a satiric take on age, Hollywood, and relationships. Now that Age Matters has finally been published, Peggy’s plan is to recommit full time to playwriting—but her recalcitrant novel refuses to promote itself! She is eager to talk about

WHEN PROFESSION VIES WITH PASSION! Peggy will share how she juggled her professional career as a clinical psychologist with her passion for writing. She will discuss how her profession informed her writing and how being self-employed helped her carve out a viable writing schedule. She’ll also share the boundaries she established between her psychology practice and her devotion to her writing passion.

 

Watch for an interview with all three writers by Cristina Deptula, and plan to attend this exciting panel on May 19th. This will be the final installment in the 2018-2019 speaker program! 


MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Success Group

2:00–2:30 – Writer Networking
2:30–3:00 – Welcome, Raffle & Club Announcements and ELECTION!

3:00–4:00 – PANEL: THE WORKING WRITER

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members*

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket

PLEASE PLAN TO PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET! Only $1 each or 6 for $5, every ticket supports the club’s programs. You can win a book written by our club authors!

*Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are writers helping writers, and sometimes that means a welcoming place.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

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SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

  • June 5 Setting that Works!  A workshop with John Byrne Barry
  • May 4 Writers Social at Bay Area Book Festival 3-6pm at the Saturn Café. Sponsored by the Wolf Pack Writers Action Group: let’s talk about the weather—and how to change it BACK.
  • May 4-5 Visit our booth at the Bay Area Book Festival!
  • May 27 CWC Writers at Bay Area Generations 
  • June 15 Member Book Launch & Showcase at the Octopus Literary Salon!

 

 

See You Sunday! Bookstore Owners Panel

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No one knows the book biz like the people who handle books every day. Come and hear what local bookstore owners have to say about their life behind the counter, in the stacks, reading the industry rags and catalogs catalogs catalogs. How does YOUR book fit in to the bookstore universe? Bring questions and be prepared to take lots of notes! Now here’s President Kristen’s column from this month’s newsletter….

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The Wind in Your Sails

Some words from your president

One of my happiest moments as a writer was my first book launch at Laurel Bookstore. There were so many lumps and bumps to the process, but Luan was so encouraging. “Fun will not be denied,” she declared! I learned so much from her, and continue to learn. Now you can, too!

Instead of having one speaker at our March 18th meeting, we’ll have three local bookstore owners. Our speaker chair, Kymberlie Ingalls, will be moderating a conversation between Luan Stauss of Laurel Bookstore, Kathleen Caldwell of A Great Good Place for Books, and Bob Fisher of Walden Pond.  All of these beloved business leaders are incredibly supportive of local authors!

We’ll be talking about their roles as bookstore owners/buyers, and their relationship with authors. They will offer tips and advice for writers who wish to cultivate a relationship with a bookstore, how they deal with Amazon authors, and much more.

Then mark your calendars for Saturday, June 16th, when all of our club authors will celebrate recently published titles at our end-of-year party at Laurel Bookstore!

Between now and then, we will continue to grow our club in leaps and bounds. (Did you know we started the year with 60 members and now have 90?) It’s time to select the new leaders who will help our branch work smoothly and happily next year. What are your skills and how can they help the club? What would you like to learn? Hosting events? Talking to people? Are you any good at writing? There are lots of jobs for that! Contact Nomination Committee chair Christine Volker for information.

Sail On,

Kristen Caven

Kristen at the Helm… hang on!