Today on Salt & Light Blog we have a special treat. Livy Jarmusch, YA author, blogger, singer, Youtube-er, and a super sweet human being answered some questions for a fun interview!
I heard about Livy almost 3 years ago through her website, Crown of Beauty Magazine. Since then, I’ve been part of numerous blog tours & book teams with her. It has been so much fun to work with this girl, read her many amazing books, and get to know her awesome self along the way!
Recently, Livy released a blogging course called Fire Starter. I was privileged to be able to preview the course before it came out. I wasn’t able to get through all of it in time for this post, but what I did go through was amazing. I’ve blogged for 2 going on 3 years now, but her tips and tricks were so helpful & inspiring! Livy offers amazing advice & encouragement.
In this interview, we talked blogging, writing, the Fire Starter program, what God’s taught Livy recently, and so much more! God shines through this girl and I know that her answers will be an encouragement to all you girls. Let’s get into the interview!
Caitlyn: Hi Livy! So glad you’re joining me on Salt & Light Blog today. 🙂 Can you introduce yourself to the readers, and tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, & what you love to do?
Livy: Aww, thank you so much for having me! Yes, ma’am! 😀 My name is Livy and I’m a twenty-something author, blogger, singer, song-writer, YouTuber, designer, (I have a lot of passions, hehehe) but most importantly I am in love with Jesus and want to see this world set on fire for Him!
C: When & why did you start getting into writing & blogging?
L: Oh wow, that’s kind of a long story! I guess you could say I started “blogging” (or creating content online) back when I was around 11 or 12 on the American Girl Club. I’m not sure who remembers or was part of the American Girl Club, but I was SO excited by the idea of being able to connect with readers all across the country who loved the American Girl books as much as I did. These were the days before Instagram and Facebook, so getting to “talk” to friends online was incredibly cool.
I started a newsletter on there, and enjoyed writing and collecting articles written by myself and others, and mailing them out to dozens of girls online. It was such a blast! I was pretty heartbroken when the club abruptly closed, but Mom told me I could share my email address with a few of the girls (gasp!) and stay connected that way.
After the club ended, I decided to start my own website. So, GirlZ of America.! was born. (Emphasis on the Z in Girlz, haha!) It was then, at age 12, that I started exploring web-design and designed my very first website. Obviously, GirlZ of America.! didn’t endure in popularity, haha, but even after I closed the site, my dream of creating online content for other girls my age continued.
It wasn’t until after I graduated High School that I launched Crown of Beauty Magazine, which was a huge launching point for me. Since then I’ve written and published a handful of books, planned conferences, spoken at events, connected with readers from all over the world, and seen the Lord move so much in my life!
C: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an indie author and blogger thus far?
L: Hmm, I think one of the biggest challenges has been mentally – keeping myself encouraged, even when I feel like my writing might not appear to be “successful” as it could be in the eyes of others. The world (and the church) has cultural ideas of what “success” is, and they don’t always line up with the way God thinks about things.
As a young girl, one of my biggest dreams was to be a traditionally published author, so I was a little surprised when God directed me down the indie path. Independent publishing has been absolutely amazing, but there’s a bit of an unspoken stigma that goes along with it, as if you’re not “good enough” to be traditionally published. While it’s true that there are a lot of poor quality books published independently, there are also some amazing indie authors I know whose stories are far more spectacular than what you might find in Barnes and Nobel! (My opinion anyway. 😉 )
Both traditional and independent publishing have pros and cons, but for me personally, I feel as if God is calling me to go independent in this season of my life. I know the stories I write do not fit the cookie-cutter formula expected to go to mass market, and as I’ve researched more and more about what is required to sell in traditional markets, I don’t feel like that’s where my stories are meant to be, right now anyway. If the Lord leads into traditional publishing in the future, I’d be all for it, but right now I just have to focus on blooming where I’m planted.
With all of that being said, the biggest challenge is to be confident in where He has me, even if it might feel “smaller” or “less than” what some of my other author friends are doing. But the Bible warns us against comparison: it is SUCH a confidence thief! God calls us all down different paths, and we have to trust that He knows what He’s doing! One of the biggest things the Holy Spirit has taught me through this writing journey so far is how much value there is in the small, and how much God delights in the everyday extraordinary. I’m in a season of life where I have time to truly connect with my readers, build friendships with them, respond to emails, interact on social media, and do fun interviews like this one! A lot of activities I know would not be possible if I was on a massive book tour as a New York Times Bestseller author. 😉
C: What’s your favorite part(s) about being an author and blogger?
L: Two things! Number one: Writing! I get so much joy out of allowing my creative mind to dance on the page! Storytelling has been in me ever since I was a little girl, and for me, writing fiction is like being on the playground again. I have SUCH a blast! 😀
Secondly: Connecting! I love, love, LOVE people and being able to connect with them makes everything I do, one-hundred-sixty-million percent worth it! Writing is a solitary activity, but the fruits of writing are not! We write with the purpose to bless and impact others, and you can’t do that if you don’t step out of your comfort zone and strive to connect! So yes, connecting with all of you is one of my favorite things ever! 😀
C: What’s a lesson you’ve learned in your blogging experience that you feel other bloggers should know?
L: God SEES you! He sees what you’re doing. He sees your faithfulness. He sees every word, He hears every prayer.
Blogging is HARD, you guys. There’s no way around that fact! Pouring your heart onto the page, posting it on the internet for everyone to see, week after week, month after month, and then as you’re giving so much of yourself, you have no idea who you’re actually reaching. Comments and responses are few and far between…so how can you stay encouraged?
Something I talk about a lot is knowing your why. Before you dive into the wonderful world of blogging, know why you’re going to do it. Are you hoping to become internet famous? Make a ton of money? Get lots of comments raving about how fabulous you are? Those are all terrible whys. They’re not sustainable. If you blog with the purpose of serving yourself…guess what? You’re going to feel awful. Anything we do, when we place ourselves at the center and hope others will serve us and make us feel good, turns out really, really bad.
As Christ followers, we are here to serve. Every word I write, every book I publish, every post I make is all a gift; it’s an offering. It’s me stepping out in humility, sharing my heart, and offering what I have to a broken and hurting world. Will they accept it? Will they read it, embrace, it, apply it, and thank me for it? I have no idea. But that’s not my responsibility. All I have to do is be faithful with what I’ve been given. So long as I keep planting, keep sowing, keep praying, keep writing, keep sharing, keep believing, keep encouraging, keep loving…God can use that.
Jesus said if anyone wants to be great in the Kingdom, we have to humble ourselves and serve others. Blogging requires humility. Knowing your why, having a heart that burns with love for Jesus, and for others, is the only way you’re going to keep running the race and finish strong. So many bloggers and authors suffer from burnout. Why? I believe it’s because whenever we adopt that “me first” mentally, everything goes downhill. I know that for myself, personally, when I start to compare myself with others and ask, ‘Why aren’t people buying this product? Why am I not getting more comments? Why am I not getting a response from this?’ I need to stop and check myself.
I’m here to love. It doesn’t matter what people do with the gift I extend, whether they reject it or receive it, so long as I’m faithful with what God has given me, and don’t hide my light under a basket. I know my reward is in Heaven, and it’s all good!
C: Your blogging course, Fire Starter, recently launched! WOOHOO! Can you tell us a bit about that, and why you decided to create it?
L: YAY! Thank you! I am SO EXCITED to share this course! It was my first time creating a full-blown video course, complete with printables and everything, and wow, it was a massive undertaking!
I created Fire Starter with the purpose of encouraging both new and aspiring bloggers! The idea of starting a blog can be super, super intimidating, especially considering the fact that there are so many different platforms to choose from. Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking, “What did you use to create your website? How can I grow my email subscriber list? How did you get interviews with bands and artists? How did you grow your website? How did you grow your Instagram, etc.?” These are all SUCH great questions and I love answering them and helping you all out! But, instead of sitting around replying to emails all day, I decided to create a resource that explains EVERYTHING.
I literally walk you through the entire process in a 20 Day Video Series, covering everything from choosing the right platform, designing your site, creating content, connecting with readers, growing your reach, earning income on your website, and SO much more! I honestly think I went a little overboard here, haha. I’m not sure if anyone wanted to know QUITE that much, but if they do, this is definitely the program for you! You can check that out here: https://www.livylynnblog.com/2018/08/21/fire-starter-launching-a-blog-that-blazes/
C: If you could share encouragement or advice with a large group of girls & young women, what would you share with them?
L: Jesus loves you so, so much. His love is truly beyond anything we can fathom. Just because His love is so far beyond anything our minds could ever imagine, doesn’t mean we should dismiss it and think, “Well, I’m never going to fully understand it anyway, so whatever.” Paul prayed in Ephesians that we would KNOW the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God! That is a massive, massive prayer, but I pray that over all the girls and women in my life!
As women, we have such a desire to be loved, known, cherished, and treasured as the priceless jewels that we are. However, the world is constantly bombarding us with an opposite message – a message that says we’re not worthy of love, that we’re not pretty enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, interesting enough; the lies go on and on. We have to remember that’s ALL they are: LIES. And the deeper we dive into the reality of God’s love, the more those lies loose their power!
C: What is something the Lord has taught you recently?
L: Wow, He’s been reminding me of SO much recently! In January, I really wanted to go back to the simplicity of the Gospels, so I read through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I know we’ve all read the Gospels like a million times, and it’s almost as if some of those stories and the words of Christ lose their impact on our hearts over time, because we’re just so used to them. I wanted to go back with fresh eyes and pretend like I’d never read them before. To truly imagine what it would’ve been like walking by the sea of Galilee, meeting Jesus for the first time as He tells me to drop my nets and follow Him. To be with Him every moment as He performed miracle after miracle and declared the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! To experience the wonder and awe of every miracle, every word, and renew my mind in that.
Romans 12:1-2 tells us not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we see that Jesus was ALL about that in the Gospels. Pretty much everything He said and taught was a total opposite from the culture and the same is true for us today! We have to continually return to His Word and renew our minds on a daily basis, because there is so much toxic thinking and so many lies that creep their way into our minds without us even realizing it. So yeah, I guess simply returning to the simplicity of the Gospel and making sure my vision for the future is 100% lined up with His!
C: Favorite aspect of God?
L: OH MY GOODNESS, THESE QUESTIONS! AHH, we could talk about this for hours! So good, haha! Wow. It feels impossible to pick a favorite aspect of His character because He is so, SO GOOD. But His faithfulness is something my heart always returns to. I just can’t get over how perfectly kind, loving, and patient He is, and the fact that He’s totally committed to the process of seeing me transformed into His image, even when we have such a long way to go, haha! He never fails and He’s always with me and He is SO trustworthy!
C: I know you LOVE to travel; what is your favorite place you’ve traveled to, and a dream destination you have?
L: Yaaassss! My favorite travel destination thus far, has been….*drum-roll*…Disney World! (Yeah, no surprise there! Haha). I recently re-watched my Disney World vlog and laughed so hard because I’m ooo-ing and ahh-ing and hyperventilating over every little detail, my poor viewers must’ve been like, “what is wrong with this chick?” (You can witness my excitement here LOL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm_L8ZLax30&t=1s) If you guys think that video was insane, this is only a foreshadow of the craziness that will go down when I finally go to London!
London, England is definitely my number one dream destination. In my novel, The Tales of Tarsurella #2: The Rebellion, I introduce a character named Jane Akerly who has a slight obsession with all-things-London and that may or not be a direct reflection of me, hehehe. I also dream of going to Paris and castle hopping ALL OVER FRANCE, which I hope to do in the same trip. 🙂
HUGE thanks to Livy for answering my questions for this interview! If you’re a blogger, or would like to start blogging, go check out Livy’s new course! I know that it will be an encouragement and huge help to all you bloggers/aspiring bloggers out there! Check out Fire Starter here.