Spotlight on Paula Schmitt & Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine
I had a chance to pose a few questions to Paula Schmitt, Founder and CEO of Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine. For readers who are unfamiliar with Paula and her magazine, read on…she’s an inspiring business woman, a successful author, and a super busy mom…
Paula Schmitt, award-winning author of Living in a Locker Room: A Mom’s Tale of Survival in a Houseful of Boys (2005), has been published in hundreds of publications. She has appeared on numerous radio talk shows and in print publications such as American Baby, Family Circle, Parenting, All You, Real Simple, Adoption Today, Adopting for Tomorrow magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Herald, The Burlington Free Press and many others. She is the Founder and CEO of Mom Writer’s Productions, LLC, Founder and President of award-winning Mom Writer’s Literary magazine (2005) – “A literary magazine for mom writers who have something to say”, and Founder, Host and Executive Producer of her radio talk show, Mom Writer’s Talk Radio which launched November of 2005.
When she isn’t writing, editing, or taxiing her children to their sport events, she prefers to spend quality time in central Vermont with her husband and five children. To read more of her columns visit www.paulaschmitt.com and for some much needed adult conversation email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WOW: Welcome to WOW! Paula, we’re thrilled you’ve decided to chat with us about Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine. Would you share with us how MWLM came to exist and, more importantly, how you kept up the momentum to reach the two-year milestone as well as move into the print realm?
Paula: Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine had been a dream of mine for years before it launched. I wanted to create a place where mom writers could go to submit their writing, get published and let their voices be heard. As a mother of five, I knew firsthand that there was something for every mother to say whether it was funny, complex, penetrating and raw, I knew motherhood was literary. So, June of 2005, MWLM was born as an online literary magazine for moms and the response over the past two years was overwhelming, in a good way! Many of our readers were asking how they could get a print subscription to the magazine and, well, it took off from there and here we are today.
WOW: You’re a living example that dreams do come true! And with this particular dream, you couldn’t have maintained it all alone. I’ve read all the bios for your staff members. Each mom represents a different city and region, literally. That’s great for a magazine’s voice! Plus, in your first print edition, Samantha Gianulis writes, “We want our magazine to speak in all voices, listen in all languages and write from one that unites us all.” This is a beautiful goal. I wonder, though, how do you keep track of so many staff writers and so many voices?
Paula: First of all I want to say that I am truly blessed to work with such a terrific and amazing staff. The mom writers who are a part of the MWLM team are just an awesome group of moms. And yes, we are literally spread out across the map! We are lucky that this has worked perfectly for us. We talk to each other just about every day which helps to keep us connected and organized and I must add that my Editor-in-Chief, Samantha Gianulis is my right hand angel :) And a wonderful friend.
WOW: If only all professional teams could have it so good, the working world would be a far less stressful place. Of course, moms know how to work well together through crazy times! Could you tell us about the Mom Writers Publishing Cooperative and how it empowers mom writers?
Paula: The Mom Writer’s Publishing Cooperative is a powerful group of 24 mom writers who give each other encouragement and support as writers. The founder, Nancy Cleary is super to work with and is warm and caring and has become a dear friend of mine. MWPC gives its members a community of peers in like situations where the writers can experiment with their ideas without any risk of rejection. I’m very happy to have found a publisher who was able to share my vision while providing her expertise through the publishing process.
WOW: The MWPC sounds extraordinarily supportive. Speaking of extraordinary, would you share an extraordinary memory of any article, interview, or any particular piece in your magazine that will forever stick in your mind or heart?
Paula: In our winter 2006 online issue we had the pleasure of interviewing best selling author Jodi Picoult. In part of Jodi’s interview our MWLM editor asked her about her new novel Nineteen Minutes and how she was affected by her research for this book which deals with a school shooting and its aftermath and how personal did this book become for her as the mother of three children. Jodi’s reply was that it was a very hard book to write as a mom. She knew, practically, that the next school shooter might be next door…or even in one’s own home. But that didn’t make it any easier to face the fact. Part of the research she did was with survivors of a school shooting in Minnesota. She said she was so shaken by some of their comments about their parents’ solicitousness after the shooting. Instead of falling into that sort of comfort, the kids were antagonistic. They wanted to know where their parents had been a month, a week, a day earlier – why they hadn’t been involved in their lives back then as well. This interview with Jodi will forever be in my heart. She is an incredibly talented writer with such a gift. I was lucky enough to meet Jodi Picoult this past spring at the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. She is an extremely warm and friendly person and mom writer.
WOW: That whole experience would shake anyone. Thanks for sharing it with us. As we near the end of our time, is there anything you would like readers and freelancers to know about your site and print magazine that they might not already know?
Paula: Well I would like to mention to our readers and freelancers that we have added a visual art section in our Writer’s Guidelines. We are looking for artwork in the form of photographs, sketches and graphic art to feature within our pages. We are interested in artwork which conveys a unique perspective on motherhood so please send in your visual art and we will respond to you within a few days.
Paula, thank you so for taking the time to answer our curious questions. We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in your third year. We'll be sure to check back with you to see where you’re going.
We send a toast, a cheer, and a "Happy Two-Year Anniversary" to Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine! Kudos to you, your staff, and your fans for keeping such a fine publication alive and thriving!
Sue & Team WOW!