Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? My book was released at the same time of my cancer diagnosis. Needless to say, emotions ran from both sides of a unstable spectrum. I refused to give up. Even during surgeries, I was writing scenes in my head while also selling my current book. I'm sure the oncology care team has had their full of my stories. Yet, most of them bought my book. I believe that reading and writing keeps us strong, positive and alive!
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? I'm not sure I truly understand writer's block. A wash of malaise occasionally over takes when I just don't want to write or even read. Yet, something will happen in my life and I find myself looking at the humorous side. Later, I tell the story with some embellishments. Others coax me to write it down. This happened during my horrific cancer treatments which occurred right on the heels of the Covid outbreak. Next came an equally terrible car accident. Through it all, I was amazingly lucky. I am fine. I find myself writing about it. I find myself writing about those little things in life that sometimes make sense and sometimes do not. I haven't published everything, but maybe that, too, is a form of writer's block. My trick is to learn all that I can. I read The Author's Guild daily. Some is relevant, some is not. I find myself taking online marketing courses and writing classes. Some is relevant and some is not. Before 2020, I went to conferences and writer's retreats to help with the idea to improve all aspects of writing. Yet, in the end the remedy or cure for me was to watch the life that continues to swirl around me.
What is your favorite time to write? Is there a favorite time to write? I wasn't aware of that. My most treasured chapter in Uniquely Stella was written in the car in a small notebook on the way to The Old Spaghetti Factory. Yes, don't worry, I wasn't driving. And, that was not when the accident occurred. When the thoughts in my head start to overwhelm me, I write. Maybe I'm supposed to sit down at scheduled times and type out this or that. But for me, it doesn't work that way. Maybe everyone has their own approach that works best for them.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? I taught Special Education for 36 years. At my retirement party one of my students asked what I would do now. Without thinking I said, "Write."
"You write all the time," she answered with a laugh.
"I guess I do," I said.
"Then you should keep doing it. We love it when you tell your stories, but this time I think you should let everyone read it in a book, since you won't be with us anymore."
That ten year-old girl put tears in my eyes and thoughts in my head. A few years later, I published my first book.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? The unknown can make you live in fear or excitement. Looking at life through the lens of positivity and hope make good things possible. A wonderful friend of mine once told me that no matter how difficult life might be, I came out lucky because I viewed most things with the lens of a writer. Tell your stories and allow others to laugh, to cry or even just to think.
Deborah M. Menenberg's Uniquely Stella is out with Inkwater Press.