“Find a community of writers to keep you motivated and engaged with the latest developments in the field. WLT is a great place to make friendships with other writers. Find a group, and become active with them.”
-Cindy Childress, Ph.D., founder of Childress Business Communication
Childress Business Communication is a writing consulting firm based in Houston, Texas. Their mission is to empower their clients with engaging, effective communication strategies. They’re passionate about helping professional service providers and coaches develop a strong, consistent brand.
In addition, Childress Business Communication is a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with founder Cindy Childress, Ph.D., to find out more about her and her company.
Scribe: You have a Ph.D. in English. How did you decide to transition from academia to owning your own business?
CC: As I was in the last semester of my Ph. D., my husband got the opportunity to move overseas for his career in oil and gas. I have always loved to travel and was interested in living abroad, so we spent seven years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Balikpapan, Indonesia. While overseas, I had a dependent visa, and I couldn’t find a job. I almost joined the faculty of the Islamic University of Malaysia, but the day after my final interview, Israel sank a flotilla of aid that was going from Turkey to Palestine, and there were protests at the American Embassy in KL. The university feared I would be followed by such protests if I joined their campus.
So, I returned to America having been President of two expatriate women’s groups and having gained experience in corporate sponsorships, events, and memberships. But I hadn’t done a single hour of paid work for seven years, so I couldn’t even get an interview for administrative jobs, must less anything befitting my education and experience.
I returned to my creativity and created my own job as a freelance writer to start building a portfolio. At first, my intention was to become competitive for a position as a ghostwriter in a book writing firm, but my business grew quickly, and now I create positions for other talented writers and creative professionals. I use all my skills from being a writing professor to train my team in the new genres of content writing and sales copywriting on digital platforms.
In graduate school, when my colleagues and professors said they didn’t think they could possibly function outside academia, I felt puzzled. The myth that if you’re too educated, you have to stay behind the walls of the ivory tower is absurd. Knowing exactly who my audience is and how I need to communicate in order to be effective means that I am where I should be–wherever I am.
Scribe: You are one of several team members at Childress Communications. Tell us a little more about your team members and their specialties.
CC: Clare Martin’s second book of poetry from Yellow Flag Press was released this year. I have known her since we were in an informal poetry critique group together in Louisiana, and she founded and edits the Mockingheart Review. Her skills in poetry and creative nonfiction are perfectly adapted to writing snappy ad copy and compelling, emotional prose.
Susannah Russell has a J.D. from the University of Houston and spent the last five years as a technical writer for a major company. Her experience in writing powerful, successful long-form prose made it a no-brainer to invite her to join the team. She’s doing a great job on our full-length book projects.
Donnette Brown is our Creative Growth Strategist, and she holds an M.B. A. She allows me to stay in my left-brain while she picks up the right-brain tasks for daily operations to make sure we stay profitable and maintain our relationships with clients. We created her title to reflect the many facets of her role.
We just added Morgan Mitchell to handle more of our social media and content writing needs, as well as to do some in-house writing for the business. She brings graphic design and video editing skills, alongside a strong desire to tell stories across social media platforms.
Scribe: As a writer yourself, what is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?
CC: Don’t measure your success by anyone else’s. Just keep writing and paying attention to your craft. Don’t be afraid to go outside the box and do something no one else is doing. Also, find a community of writers to keep you motivated and engaged with the latest developments in the field. One thing that happened to me overseas is that I was without a community for the first time, and that made it harder to keep writing. WLT is a great place to make friendships with other writers. Find a group, and become active with them.
Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?
CC: Writers need each other and need to support each other. If you write in isolation, then when you publish, even if it’s with a big publishing house, you will have a harder time promoting the book than if you had already been building relationships with groups like WLT, other writers, and the venues that are friendly to writers, like indie bookstores such as Brazos Bookstore and BookPeople.
Being a community member is about supporting the events and activities that WLT brings to writers across Texas. Meeting other writers and finding out about their writing processes and goals is helpful to my business, of which a fair part of it is editing manuscripts and creating author platforms, but it’s more about uplifting the entire literary community. For every writer that creates a better book and sells more of them, that helps all of us by further dignifying the craft.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
CC: Jamie Brickhouse’s Dangerous When Wet was delightful start-to-finish. [Editor’s Note: Brickhouse was the Keynote Reception Speaker at our 2017 WLT Conference. Find out more about the 2018 Conference here.]
Scribe: Anything else you’d like to share?
CC: Even while book publishing houses are struggling to find their place in the changing digital economy, the appetite for good writing and storytelling remains. Be brave, be bold, and don’t wait for anyone else to figure it out. Your stories need you to tell them.
Click here to visit Childress Business Communication’s website.
Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?
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