New Guest Blogger!

Who doesn’t love it when a friend comes to visit? I’m pleased to introduce Stephanie Nickel, a friend and writer who’s agreed to share some guest posts with us.

Photo of Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel
(Picture by Sarah Grace Photography)

Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor. She writes under the pen name Steph Beth Nickel. She co-authored Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other places, it is available from Castle Quay Books and Amazon. Steph has been blogging since 2010 and is a regular guest on Kimberley Payne’s site (fitness tips) and Christian Editing Services (writing tips and prompts). She will also be writing and recording regularly for the newly-formed Hope Stream Radio. Stephanie is an active member of The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.

Janet: Stephanie, we first met at a Write Canada conference, but I don’t remember the year. I went home and subscribed to your poetry blog, which has since melded into your Steph’s Eclectic Interests blog. We can see a glimpse of those varied interests in your author bio above. Are there others you’d like to mention here?

Stephanie: How long do you have, my friend? I have what I call Butterfly Syndrome. Some people simply refer to it as “Oo, Shiny!” As you would expect, I love reading. I also love, love, love to take pictures. My Canon is one of my best friends. And in addition to all that, I am a labour doula. I offer moms emotional and physical support as they birth their wee ones. (We met in June 2010, by the way. *grin*)

Janet: I guess the secret must be to do a little bit of everything. How do you keep from over-committing?

Stephanie: <humming and averting eyes> I don’t actually keep from over-committing. I do, however, discover that I get fired up and, for the most part, do a better job if I have several things on the go at once. Weird, I know.

Janet: I get distracted by new ideas too, but it’s more like “squirrel!” and I’m off. It doesn’t help me work better, just defuses what I’m trying to do. Ah, well … You’ll have some of the Friday posts here, and they’re pretty open-ended. What sorts of things do you think you might share with us?

Stephanie: Poetry, Christian Living, maybe a little flash fiction, the occasional photo post perhaps … Plus, I’m always open to suggestions.

Janet: What got you into writing?

Stephanie: That’s a great question. I really don’t know for sure. I’ve been writing in one form or another as long as I can remember.

Janet: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Stephanie: If you have the opportunity—whether new or experienced writer—write about what you love, what fires you up, what God has put on your heart. (You may be surprised who will be stirred by your words.) Always be open to constructive criticism and further developing your writing skills. At the end of the day, I think a writer must develop a tender heart, which will shine through almost any type of writing, and a tough hide, so as not to take criticism and negative reviews as a slight against you as a person. Don’t wait until you’re “good enough”—whatever that means—just write!

Janet: So true! The sooner we start, the sooner we’ll develop our skills. Now, with so many different interests and projects, do you ever get a full writer’s block? Or do you just switch to a different project and keep working?

Stephanie: As you mentioned, I can usually just divert my attention to another project if the words stop flowing. The only writer’s block I get occurs when I’m trying to come up with new subject matter for a copywriting client I work with. I write four seniors’ living articles per month, and I am coming to the end of the off-the-top-of-my-head list.

Janet: Sounds like it’s time to hang out with some seniors and eavesdrop! What do you like to do to recharge?

Stephanie: There’s little I enjoy more than grabbing my camera and going for a photo walk. But trust me, it’s a very slow walk because I’m partial to macro photography, getting up close and personal. If I move an inch or two, it’s a whole new shot. I’m so thankful for digital technology.

Janet: Love your photos! And I’m looking forward to your posts here.

Note to readers: The plan is for Stephanie to post here on the last Friday of the month, so please come back next Friday and see what she has to say. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about her, visit the links below. You can also read my interview with Steph and co-author Deb Willows about the book Living Beyond My Circumstances. (Interview link here)


Stephanie invites you to pop by for a visit on Facebook: or

You can also look her up on Twitter @StephBethNickel;
her blog:;
or her website (still a work in progress):

5 thoughts on “New Guest Blogger!

  1. stephseclecticinterests

    Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today, Janet. I got to thinking about it, and if you were at the 2004 Write Canada conference, that’s where we first met. Wow! That wasn’t yesterday. 😀

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      I think it was the year Ann Voskamp was one of the faculty, Steph. I remember walking with you toward the new building and chatting about your poetry blog. That would have been the 2010 year, because the building’s pretty new. Was 2004 the year Phil Callaway was keynote speaker? I missed that year 🙁 Yet it does seem we’ve known one another longer than 4-5 years.


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