Hi, please introduce yourself and your business.
I’m Judith SIlverthorne, author, freelance writer, editor, instructor, self-publisher, documentary producer, and other writing-related endeavours.
You do a lot with all the writing, instructing and documentaries. How do you manage to find time for it all? Also, are there any works in the past you're particularly proud of?
I’ve always been prolific and a multi-tasker, but even so sometimes I been overwhelmed with so many different projects on the go. I’ve found prioritizing tasks within each project as I work on several at the same time becomes paramount. For instance, I may write a funding letter or proposal to entice a broadcaster on one TV project, and while I’m waiting for a response, I will write or edit a book project, or prepare a workshop or dash off to do a presentation in between, sometimes even taking my editing with me, while I’m waiting to go on stage. I’m good at organizing and I have developed a good support network around me.
I am proud of producing the documentary, Roger Ing’s Utopia; it brought so much joy to work on and to watch people’s response to it. Several of my books are also dear to my heart, but Honouring the Buffalo: A Plains Cree Legend, which I wrote with Wisdom Keeper and Storyteller Ray Lavallee is a crowning achievement. Although it was self-published in 2015, the number of accolades and acknowledgements have been and continue to be ongoing with the book being translated into four languages and winning many international awards and recognitions. While these are important, it’s how the book has touched people that makes me especially proud to have been involved with this project.
Why did you start crafting business and how does your passion still drive your business today?
I’ve had a love of writing since I was at least ten years old, and as I progressed in my life I started freelancing and eventually turned to books. I’ve been fortunate in having books published for more than thirty years, and most recently in self-publishing some of them. I’m moving into this more and find it stimulating to continue and be hands-on in this way after I’ve completed a written project. Making it more of a business has been a natural progression.
At what point did you realize this is what you wanted to pursue and that the potential to make a living from it was there or was there a turning point or what made you want to switch this from a hobby to more of a business?
When I was in my early teens, I knew I wanted to pursue writing in a variety of formats, and I’ve done that, becoming professional when I started gaining some success in both article writing and publishing books.
What brought you to selling your products with Handmade Saskatchewan?
I heard about Handmade Saskatchewan through a friend who raved about how awesome the store was and how he felt I would fit in and feel comfortable with so many different local artists. From the moment I entered the store and chatted with Janelle, I knew I wanted to be part of a group of homegrown artists with the passion to create and to share their gifts in this way.
What do you attribute your success to?
Perseverance and hard work in creating and self-promotion has been the underpinning of my success, and not ever giving up. And then a whole lot of luck with my books fitting into educational niches.
If you could speak face to face with yourself when you first started, what pearls of wisdom would you impart?
Don’t let setbacks deter you, hang on to your passion and your sense of purpose, keep writing what’s in your heart and your world will unfold as it should.
Was there a particular setback you experienced that was difficult to overcome? If so, how did you overcome it?
Having to hold down a regular job and trying to produce documentaries and write books at the same time was particularly difficult when I was divorcing and raising a child full-time on my own. For a few years, I had to concentrate on survival and my creative passions suffered. But I never let go of my dreams and my drive to write kept me moving forward even if I could only do minuscule amounts. My successes became even more significant because of those struggles and this all served to make my passions stronger and my perseverance deeper.
What new products have you been working on? Any you would like to highlight?
I’m working on three books in various stages, with one almost ready for publishing (a children’s novel), and another soon to be ready (an adult mystery novel). The third will take some time yet (an adult historical novel.) My most popular book at the moment is Honouring the Buffalo: A Plains Cree Legend, which is in English and Cree, then translated into French and Cree, and now into German and Cree, gaining recognition in various countries in the world.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
I’ve become busier with the editing aspect of my business as people found time to write. I also had more time to write as I wasn’t teaching workshops as much.
Thank you for your time!