Proud Stories: Bailey Elizabeth (She/Her)
Q: What kind of performance artist are you?
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a full-time artist?
For as long as I remember, I have loved the arts. Painting, music, writing, you name it. I would ask for art supplies, and book store gift cards for Christmas ever year as a kid, something that hasn't really changed. I was also an avid reader, tearing through both my local public and school libraries, until I'd read or passed on most books on the shelf.
The summer before seventh grade, a combination of things happened that sent me hurling headfirst into a lifelong pursuit of writing. Early on, I ran out of things I wanted to read for the first time in my life. I would break into the adult section at my public library later that fall, but I hadn't gone there yet. I'd also very recently entered a short story contest at school and loved it, and my grandmother, a writer herself, was very supportive of me writing more. Throw in a wild idea between me and my closest childhood friend, and my very first novel was born.
I knew from the moment I typed my first chapter that this was going to be it for me. The words flowed from my heart to the pages, and I'd never felt so free. I was able to articulate myself in a way that I'd never been able to before, and the stories I wove, ideas that came in vivid dreams or daydreams, became an escape from a tough home life. From the moment those characters came to life, I knew.
I didn't stop after that. My grandmother was my biggest support as I finished my first, then second book, encouraging me while also teaching me the ins and outs of querying, protecting your work, and finding a good critique group. I was passionate about the stories I was telling, and by fourteen, I was sending query letters. It's been a wild ride, with plenty of hiccups along the way, but my passion for writing has never let me quit, and it never will.
Q: How are you keeping yourself inspired to create during this unprecedented time?
To be honest, it's been tough! It's not always easy to work on creative pursuits when the world is in shambles, especially when outside events can have an effect on mental health. When the pandemic began, I was working on a trilogy project that dealt with a lot of dark, heavy themes, and a few months in, I had to put it aside for the time being.
I wound up working on design work for most of 2020, redesigning old book covers, tightening up my ad game, and creating character art. I started a new, more lighthearted novel. I let my creativity be guided less by what I was trying to force myself to finish, and more by what let me be creative without taking on extra mental weight. And while I wasn't as productive in terms of checking off complete projects, I was able to survive one hell of a year, and set up a good foundation for what I'm doing now!
These days, I keep inspired by allowing myself to run with any and all ideas. It sometimes leads to me chasing the tails of five runaway projects, but it also allows me to keep creating when times do get tougher. Any words are good words. Progress is progress. And keeping yourself healthy should always be number one.
Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as an artist and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle as a writer is my mental health, and I overcome it every day. I don't always succeed, and miss my writing goals almost as often as I hit them when my mental illness acts up, but every word I write is a testament to my progress. Writing has even helped me move through particularly rough patches.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
I'm proud to say I did it, even when life tried to stop me. I published books. I wrote for a magazine. I gained readers. My author name, while still small, is out there. For every person who didn't believe in me before, I have three more now who do. I still struggle with recognizing my own self-worth, and I have a lot of past trauma that tries to steal my confidence, but at the end of the day, I did it, and for that, I am proud.
Q: Is there anything you are working on now that can be shared and supported?
I just rereleased V is for Violet, the first book in my romantic suspense series, on all major platforms, and am currently working on editing book 2! You can follow my progress on Twitter @BElizabeth0.
I am also writing ongoing novels in a multitude of genres, creating merch for them all, and designing book covers on my Patreon! (link: https://www.patreon.com/baileywritesbooks )