Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Despite so much evidence to the contrary, I believe in the power of the word to shape our lives, to transport us beyond the mundane, and to lead us toward essential knowledge of ourselves and the world.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? There are many variations on this sage advice: PAIC (put ass in chair).

What is your favorite time to write? I usually get started early in the morning, but often get a second wind later in the day to propel me toward tomorrow.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? All writing is revision. In other words, despite what Allen Ginsberg advised ("first thought, best thought"), the actual writing happens after--sometimes long after--the first draft.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? Connecting with other writers and, especially, readers, who often will surprise you with their reactions to and insights about your work when you least expect it.

Steve Paul's Literary Alchemist: The Writing Life of Evan S. Connell is out now with University of Missouri Press.