We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Francik and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michelle, what do you want your legacy to be?
I hope that I can bring some joy and relief to people and can give them the courage and confidence to achieve their own dreams. My books are light and fun and slightly romantic, to help people get away from the grind of their daily life. My printables are meant to help people live a better life and feel more in control of their personal or business lives. The Short Story Challenges are meant to encourage people who’ve never written anything, people who write but haven’t really shared their stories with anyone else, and authors who feel stuck or who are looking for a new challenge. I offer them all a safe place to write and share and get published with no cost to them. It’s been amazing to watch the authors grow and we’ve formed a tight community that supports each other!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve worked a lot of jobs from fast food to supervising visits between children and parents where there had been child or spousal abuse, to approving benefits like food stamps and medicaid, to working with homeless, mentally ill adults. I currently work a full time job for a financial company. Those jobs paid the bills and allowed me to help other people. But something was missing.

I’ve always loved solving puzzles and doing crafty things like knitting, cross-stitching, etc. That satisfied another part of me.

But I’ve always been an avid reader and writer and even during the years when I was raising my sons and not writing or reading very much, I knew I’d eventually return to it.

For several years I was very sick. I had 9 major surgeries in 7 years. Four of them were emergency surgeries and on more than one occasion I almost died. After a particularly scary surgery I realized my time might be running out. I knew if I wanted to write I’d better start writing! So I did.

When I write, the whole world disappears. I’m not in pain. I’m not afraid. I can be anything I want. I can do what I want. I can create a world and characters that feel real and make me happy. I’m what they call a “panster.” That means I write “by the seat of my pants.” I don’t outline the story and create a detailed back story and develop my characters. I just sit down and start writing, with a vague idea of what I want to do. The story basically tells itself. Characters appear and I wonder where they came from! But by the end of the story, they show me where they fit and it all makes sense. I love it!

In the process of writing my stories, I taught myself to publish on Amazon. I didn’t have money to pay for covers so I decided to create my own. And I’ve learned that creating covers and graphics fulfills another part of me. So I write and I create and hopefully I make other people happy too!

Currently, I do it all myself. I don’t have an assistant or a team of people to help me. So what you see or read is all me. That’s really scary to say, lol. It’s terrifying to put myself out there and basically bare my soul with my stories and my creations. But it’s also amazing! And being able to help others find their joy is the best feeling in the world!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Honestly, I’m a home body. I’d much rather hang out at home and make dinner together, watch a movie, talk and talk and talk! Maybe go to the ocean or lake and hang out. Go for a drive through the forest. Pack a picnic lunch. But mostly just spend time together and share our hopes and dreams.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My sons encouraged me to start writing again, even if they were hesitant, lol. They totally don’t understand the Challenges or the printables, but they know creating makes me happy, so they support me 100%.

I created the first Challenge, promoted it, ran a two week challenge, edited and formatted the entries, created the anthology and published it. I did all of that within four weeks! I was challenged to do something creative and I did it! At the time I didn’t know that timeline was unheard of.

To be honest, most of my motivation has been due to people NOT believing in me! I was scarred in junior high when I wrote a story for a contest. I read it to the class and they voted to include it for submission. I got a lot of compliments. But then the teacher called me aside and told me that the flashbacks weren’t believable and I’d need to rewrite the story if I wanted her to submit it. I rewrote it, but I was crushed by her words. I didn’t win the contest because it wasn’t a good story. I’m not even sure she submitted it. But I’ve regretted caving in to her ever since. I should have stood by my work. I knew it was good and I should have had faith in myself. But I let her words keep me from writing for a long time.

Now I listen to other people to a certain extent, but I have to have faith in myself, in my own instincts. And I’ve learned to do what feels right to me. Even if it goes against what everyone else is saying. I’m not going to let someone else’s opinion crush me ever again. And the negative people light a fire in me to show them that it CAN be done and I can succeed whether they agree with me or not.

Website: https://mfranciktheauthor.com/, https://chellespreciousprintables.com/shop

Other: If anyone’s interested in the Short Story Challenges they can sign up to get more info here: http://challenge-interest.mfranciktheauthor.com/ Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2L6kup3 Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-francik Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18874126.Michelle_Francik

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.