Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor, and screenwriter. She is a contributing writer at My Forsyth magazine, the magazine provides readers with stories and information about Forsyth County and neighboring communities. Lyle is the author of the books We’re All A Mess, It’s OK and The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

If you put a map of the rust belt over a map of the Appalachian region, you’d see my hometown, Marietta, Ohio. I grew up in a house filled with rage and what shaped my life was my older sister and I being able to see the funny in even the worst of situations.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I wish I understood the real meaning of God’s love and that there is a plan for everyone. Church seemed to focus on guilt and doom when I was growing up and I’m thrilled that my kids grew up in a church where the message is that we were created with a purpose in mind and God’s love is unconditional and never-ending.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

If you are working as a creative, many people will invite you to do things “for exposure,” which is code for FREE. I think that volunteering your time can be one aspect of giving back but at some point, you realize that everyone at an event is getting paid, except you. Do not undervalue your time.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

A few years ago I finally picked up a producer for a creative project, and two weeks later the investors back out due to legislation in my state. The project was dead. It seemed like the world was crashing down on me and I felt like an idiot, sharing with friends and family that the project was moving forward and then having to share that it lost funding. I discovered several things during this time:

  1. Projects fall apart all the time and it does not mean they are dead, it means you have to look for another opportunity.
  2. ASK! The answer is always no if you don’t ask and the worst they can say is no.
  3. Do not miss the journey- in my pursuit of getting a film made, I wrote two books (The Book Of Failures and We’re All A Mess, It’s OK) landed a regular spot on an Altlanta talk show, starting doing speaking engagements and was invited to do a TEDx. Even if I never make the film, I’ve been able to be involved with interesting projects and have met so many amazing people that I would have missed out on if my initial goal would have come to fruition right away.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Tenacity. I come from a sales background so hearing the word “No,” to me just sounds like, “Not right now, check back later.”

What is your morning routine?

I have the luxury of working from home most of the time so I get to sleep in. I normally get up around 8:30, make a cup of tea, throw on a jacket, and take our three dogs for a walk. Showering does not enter my morning routine unless I have to be somewhere.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

In the past few years, I’ve changed what I watch, read, and listen to. I may get caught up with the news for a few minutes but anything else I’m absorbing is either teaching me something or is uplifting and motivational.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I worked in sales for over a decade and then was a corporate sales trainer for a gigantic staffing firm so I’m very disciplined with my time. I block out my day into segments. In any given week, I have to write an article, book guests and for my show, and recently, create content for a dream project. I like to work on each item for a few hours and then switch it up to another. Invariably, when I step away from something and then return to it, I see all sorts of errors and opportunities to improve it.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

I’m a bookaholic. I made a resolution to read more of the classics a few years ago and loved Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I was running around telling everyone about it, “Can you believe the ending of Jane Eyre? What a brilliant book!” Of course, ninety percent of people had the same reply, “Yes, I read that in high school or college.” I like the language of classic books. Jane Austen uses the word “vex.” or “vexing,” in all of her books. I start to use it on my kids, “That whining is so vexing,” Of course, that is vexing to them.

I also love humor books with Jenny Lawson’s being my favorite. Her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, made me feel like Jenny was inside my head. I can relate to the survival tactic of seeing everything through a lens of humor. Her style of writing, which is sort of like little SNL skits, inspired me to write my own humor books.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

I have the quote, “God does not want you to live in guilt, he wants you to live in gratitude,” on an index card in my office. I forgot to quote the source but I bet it’s Rick Warren. It’s such a great reminder that we all make mistakes and should focus on what we have learned.