Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I am frequently asked this question as a visiting author to schools and libraries. The response I share with young writers is the response I will share here: I like words. They are powerful. They get things done. They help people understand one another. Words give people a voice. I like when my voice is heard. We all have important things to say, and when we take the time to say them in written form, instead of just out loud, our words, ideas, and opinions are more lasting and meaningful. They also can reach more people. The words I have written have found their way to faraway places like Australia, Singapore, and Germany. These are places that would be more difficult for me to visit in person. Because I write, my words can go to these places, even if I cannot.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? A technique I teach in my writing workshops is to simply choose a word or phrase to write over and over again on your blank page until your hands and your brain are ready to write something new and different. Set a timer for three minutes and commit to writing something for the full time. It could literally be the word, “something.” I’m also an advocate for consuming others’ art and/or getting outside to awaken the muse. Some of my best creative ideas have come to me while sitting in the audience at a live music concert or while taking a walk and marveling at the artwork of Mother Nature.
What is your favorite time to write? I am not someone who writes at a specific time of day. I do set weekly writing goals and share them with a writing partner, which keeps me on track in terms of writing and revising regularly. More generally, my favorite time to write is when I have a quiet house to myself. I’m not very skilled at blocking out distractions around me, so I’m a much more productive writer when I am completely alone. This has been more challenging during Covid. When the house is empty, even for a short time, I get busy!
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Keep doing the work. Read. Write. Revise. Seek feedback. Revise again. Build a body of ready work. Attend book events. Support others in their work. Make friends. Seek out and accept opportunities that align with your interests. Strive to better understand the market. Submit your work, as it becomes ready. Repeat. I’d also say to hold on tight to the stories you especially love. Let them germinate for as long as they need to. Keep turning the soil and tending to the roots and words and wonders deep within you. Eventually, that story you love will blossom and bloom.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? I like to learn. When I'm working on a writing project, I usually get to learn something new. Maybe I discover a new word, or a meaning of a word that I wasn't familiar with. Maybe I discover something new about myself that I hadn't thought about before. Maybe I learn something new because of the research involved in the story I'm writing. Learning is exciting to me, so writing is exciting to me.
Dawn Babb Prochovnic's Lucy's Blooms, illustrated by Alice Brereton, is out now with West Margin Press.