Thanks so much to Debi Smith at Hunters Lyonesse for asking me to join her on this blog hop! I wish I’d started it two weeks ago when she first sent me the questions, unfortunately I’ve procrastinated and am writing my answers over a carton of sweet and sour chicken at the tail end of a great birthday weekend.
What are you writing?
I’m working on writing one short story a week for a year and posting it on my blog. I challenged myself to this task because of a strong desire to write well and often and to make the stories mean more than filled pages in notebooks. I wanted to focus on improving my style and the stories I tell and to move forward with my writing goals and my attempts at getting published. So often I’ve stood frozen for weeks and months, not writing anything because of the fear of it being bad. I thought that forcing myself to purge and keep purging the trove of tales I keep locked within would help me to break through a block I’ve been stuck behind. So far it’s done exactly that, and though I’m only now starting on week 9, every day I write it gets easier to keep going. I’m working on submitting some of these stories and rewriting others to see if there’s more to them. It’s turned into much more work than I ever imagined and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. There seems to be no room for a drought of inspiration when I force myself to keep going.
I’m also working on a novel that gets put aside too often but that I work on daily anyway even if it’s only a sentence or an idea scribbled on the corner of a notebook.
Why do you write what you do?
I only write the stories that ask to be told. When I sit down at my computer or with a notebook and I begin with the first word or the first few, I often have an end in sight but it rarely goes the way I want. I write what I do because that’s what comes when I call and because when I ignore the cries of the untold story I feel myself begin to itch and move around, restless, longing for something that has never been. If I had my choice I’d write fantasy or Sci-Fi but my heart and my pen lies rooted in the earth and takes me where it wants me to go.
What is your writing process?
Just kidding. My process is probably a lot like any other mothers. I juggle laundry and try to get the dishes done before they spill out of the sink. I play baseball and feed ducks, read as much as possible, and write in 5 minutes slivers of time on park benches and in grocery store parking lots. The serious work begins when my husband is home. I spend a few hours at night and much of the weekend with headphones on and my back to the door of the library while I try to chisel at the surface of something that might one day be beautiful but is now nothing more than a pile of dung. I don’t answer the phone or emails, I try to ignore Twitter and I write. There are times I can’t be stopped and times that writing is like attempting to harvest cotton from a wheat field. I try my best to take it seriously and work as hard as I can when it’s time to because every minute I spend at my keyboard is time that I take from my children and though I need to write as much as I need to eat or sleep, they need me and don’t understand the siren like call of the story.
Like anyone else who isn’t getting paid to do what they do, and probably most who are, to write and to live is to master the art of juggling while bombs explode behind your head. For me it’s dramatic and difficult and wonderful and I’d never choose anything else.
Check in with Síofra Alexander next week where she will answer these questions and keep the blog hop hoppin’!