1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet? I typically never share my creative writing with my husband before publication (there are exceptions), but I never hesitate to run things by him when I’m working on a freelance assignment and need guidance. Hmm…
2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it? My friend Sue not only reads my essays or parts of my manuscript, but has been vital in shaping sentences, paragraphs and scenes that evolve from ‘almost there’ to ‘right on!’ – and I hope all writers find someone in their life like that.
3. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else? I’m not sure I believe we need to let pieces go completely. If something of mine gets rejected, I pick it apart and use the material in other ways. The messages we want to get out need to get out. Sometimes doing that successfully just takes some patience and a different spin.
4. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer? ANYTHING by Julia Cameron. Every issue of The Sun magazine. Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth.
5. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read? Definitely the former. Sometimes my head hurts because I have too many ideas flowing in at once.
6. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”? I mentioned Julia Cameron, so I’ll list two of her titles that speak to writers not only on craft but identity: The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch and The Writer’s Life: Insights from the Right to Write.
To all my writer friends: How would you answer these questions (or some of them)? Go!
(Comments posted prior to 4/10/15 can be found here.)