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Friday's Star: Langley Cornwell

Langley-CornwellLangley Cornwell has published articles, stories and poems since 2009 and brings 30 years of corporate experience to her writing career. Langley has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Appalachian State University and decades of experience in international marketing, product development and positioning, advertising, business planning and corporate communications. Langley also publishes on her own blogs. You’ll find pet-related content on her “Hearts in Fur Coats” blog. Visit the “Langley Writes” blog to learn more about her freelance writing career.  

Hello Langley and welcome to the Friday’s Stars at Mandy's Pages. I’m so honored to have you here today! Would you like to introduce yourself? How would you describe yourself as a writer?

My name is Langley Cornwell and the best way to describe my writing would be “random”. Maybe I prefer the word “organic” over “random” but either will do. I’m happy to be in a position where I can write about whatever I want to. I’m a content writer, a fiction writer, a poet and a blogger.


The word 'creative' comes to mind, with a natural flair to write on just about any topic.  Was there any special motivation that triggered you to start writing?

My love for reading, writing and storytelling developed when I was quite young, and I’ve poured my thoughts and observations into prose my entire life. After a successful corporate career, I was afforded the opportunity to focus on my passion full time, and now I’ve turned my hobby into a second career.


How do you usually find your ideas? Do you look into particular sources?

I write what interests me personally. I have an unquenchable curious nature and always want to know more, so motivation comes from looking deeper into a subject. I’ve noticed that I’m drawn to human interest stories; I like to shine a light on the human faces behind newsworthy circumstances. Many times, the backstories are as interesting as the main event. In other words, ideas are everywhere.     


Are there any special topics that you prefer to write about?

Without meaning to, I’ve fallen into the niche of writing content pieces about pets and sports. Those subjects fit my lifestyle. I’m a lifelong animal rights advocate and a passionate sports fan, so that’s where I get most of my client work. I also do some corporate communications work for a select clients, which is a holdover from my corporate days. I’m less interested in that type of writing now but can be lured in on occasion, if I think the company or the products are particularly intriguing.

My fiction writing is generally considered literary fiction. And my poetry defies categorization, unless mad-scientist poetry (random poetry?) is a newly defined genre.


Langley, talking to many writers over the last few months, I’ve realized that many of them have some sort of a Writing Routine? Do you?

I don’t really have a writing routine but I find that I do my best writing in the mornings. I like to get up, fix my tea and sit right down at my computer. If there’s a pressing deadline or I feel particularly motivated, I have to avoid the siren’s song of social media sites.  


Writing mostly about pets and sports, would it be safe to say that you are an expert in your field?

Not an expert in the true sense of the word, but I consider myself a layman expert in the field of pets, particularly responsible pet ownership. For my sports writing, my angle is fan-based opinion, so I am an absolute expert!


I wonder, as an experienced writer, do you face any writing blocks?

I’ve often wondered if writer's block is real or, for me, it would be more accurate to call it a lack of motivation. There are days when I just don’t feel like writing. I try to organize my time so that if that happens, I still have plenty of time to complete my assignment or manuscript. 


Any other challenges you possibly face as a writer?

My biggest challenge is finding enough time to write about everything that I want to write about. Another challenge is to remember to be a participant and not just an observer in certain circumstances. I have a tendency to think about how I would write something as it is happening. I’m trying to do less of that, to remember to stay present, but I imagine that’s an occupational hazard of most writers. 


And here comes the question that most writers I have interviewed so far, really love (for all sorts of reasons): If a publisher were to review your work, how do you think they would grade you on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best?

Wow, that’s a super question! If it was a non-fiction or content piece being evaluated, I would get a 10 for accuracy because I am a research fanatic. If I can’t verify something by at least three independent sources, I’m not going to write it down as a fact. I’d probably get a 7ish for readability. I can’t back that up but I think writers have to have a high regard for what they write.

From a fiction standpoint, I hope I’d get a high mark, maybe a 7, for imagination and storytelling. As much as I’m loathe to admit it, I’d probably get around a 5 for style/structure.  


And how would you rate your quality of writing from 1 to 10?

I’d probably give myself an overall score of a 6 or maybe 7, but I have enjoyed excellent feedback so maybe my quality of writing is a bit better than that. One can hope.


Do you have any sort of writing tips? What are your Top Five Writing Tips?

Read a lot. Find authors that resonate with you and read everything they write.

Write a lot. With all things, you get better with practice.

Find your own voice; be yourself, be authentic.

If you’re in the flow, don’t edit as you go. Get everything down on paper and then start the editing process. Edit with reckless abandon. If it doesn’t move the story forward or serve a purpose, get it out – even if you think it’s the cleverest turn of a phrase that you’ve ever written. It’s hard but it must be done.

Respect the craft, learn the fundamentals.


As a writer, I like to read a lot and I’m pretty sure that you do too. What kind of books do you love to read? Do you think they have an impact on your writing?

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, primarily literary fiction, dark fantasy, mystery and suspense. After I read something deep, I often follow it up with a young adult novel. I do think that what I read has an impact on my writing. I won’t mention names but I recently read a book that reminded me of a few things to make sure not to do. 


Is there any favorite quotation or any personal advice you would like to share?

“Leave out the boring parts.” I think Elmore Leonard said that first, and I love it.


Langley, what stands out for you when you visualize your future?

More writing. Better writing.


Why should a publisher or client hire you?

I’m easy to work with.


Langley, thank you so much for this wonderful interview! I really enjoyed it and hopefully you did too! I wish you all the best for your future endeavors!


For more information on Langley, check out her personal profile:

Langley Cornwell

Image Credit: Langley Cornwell

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