Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I came to writing as a form of self-reflection and -discovery as a lonely, angry 13-year-old learning to journal. In the years since, writing has been a conduit for connection—between the public and the folks whose stories I covered as a journalist, the readers who've found my book and me, and the conscious/subconscious self. Writing is an incredibly powerful form of creative expression and, as words tend to be preferred and more readily understood forms of communication, writing has the power to be more accessible and touch many people's hearts.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? If I'm feeling resistance or feeling stuck with where to begin in my writing, I try to switch topics. I keep many lists of memories or scenes I'd like to write towards. If none of the items on the list call to me, I'll try to write new lists—perhaps quotes of dialogue someone says, places I took an important car, or moments when "everything changed." Another trick I employ is setting a timer and telling myself my only goal is to write for the allotted time (15, 20, or 30 minutes depending on the day). I often find that after the allotted time, I'm eager to keep going.
What is your favorite time to write? Morning! Ideally before the sun is up, before the email or social media has been checked, and with a cup of hot chai. I find my brain has more capacity for imagination and immersion before competing with the ever-present lengthy to-do lists.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Your writing time is sacred and yours only. You get to decide when you want to show other people, if at all. Give yourself the freedom to experiment and dive as deeply as you're called to when not shrouded by the fear of what others may think. Protect your work.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? There are so many beautiful, diverse stories being told and there is still room and a need for so many more. As daunting as the publishing industry can be to me a woman of color, I know that every Black, Indigenous, and person of color (BIPOC) author before me has broken down barriers so that my own book could find a path. In the same light, I know that all I do for my own writing and in my teaching can benefit BIPOC and other historically marginalized writers to come. There's comfort and strength in being part of a tradition of writers who've broken through, despite systemic marginalization, and a deep sense of motivation for me to keep moving forward, learning more about the industry, and supporting long-standing efforts to dismantle barriers so the publishing industry can continue to progress towards becoming a more inclusive one representative of many writers.
Emilly Giselle Prado's Funeral for Flaca is out now with Future Tense Books.