Is it Writer’s Block… or Procrastination?
The Goodreads website has added an “Ask the Author” feature to each author’s profile page. Here are three of the questions with my answers:
Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?
A: The joy of storytelling.
Making up stories is something I’ve done since I could talk. Whenever my parents would go visiting, I would invariably be sent off to entertain the other children. Deprived of the pleasure of eavesdropping on adult conversation, I would seek revenge by creating the scariest tales possible. Alas, the children loved being terrified and my “entertainment” assignments remained in demand.
I still like elements of intrigue or suspense in books I read as well as in the books I write.
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: I’ve never experienced writer’s block although I regularly have to ward off the twin menaces of procrastination and distraction.
Writing is hard work and requires discipline. Any break from routine – be it family chaos, research gathering or a lovely holiday – is disruptive. A sense of humour and flexibility go a long way.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
A: 1. Recognize yourself as a spinner of tales, an entertainer. Write for an audience, not just for yourself. Be a storyteller!
2. Do lots of daydreaming and research. Have a story in mind before you put pencil to paper.
3. Set the stage for creativity by having a plan. Plot out an outline for your manuscript and set timeframe guidelines. Expect to deviate from both while remaining adaptably focused on the original plan.
4. Establish a realistic routine with scheduled blocks of uninterrupted work time.
5. Never stare too long at a blank page or screen. Write something… anything. Disjointed thoughts from one day can provide an inspiring framework for another.
6. Once your characters develop some substance, prepare to be surprised. They will lead you through the story, chapter by chapter, contributing wonderfully to the deviation mentioned in point 3 above.
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