author Steven Cristol looking directly at the camera and an image of his book NO BOSS on a blue and yellow background

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I've always been enraptured by words, which led me to a master's degree in communication. The written word is a miracle exclusive to humans. Aren't we lucky? Civilization has been built by sharing knowledge and information, documenting science and discovery in writing. Both written non-fiction and fiction have stimulated imaginations for centuries. Now more than ever, the survival of our institutions depends on an informed citizenry (from reliable, truthful sources!), and fictional stories continue to provide a respite from life's daily challenges.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Mostly two things. One is switching medium. When I'm stuck in the middle of a book or article, writing a song or a poem can shake me out of a rut. And vice versa. The other may seem obvious: removing myself from the keyboard to mind-quieting activities like meditation or long walks and staying away for enough days (unless I'm on a media deadline) that I can reconnect with the unfinished work with a fresh perspective. Does anything *always* work? Of course not!

What is your favorite time to write? The first four hours of the day, before the brain gets too cluttered with life.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Especially for non-fiction writers: Be sure you know *why* you're writing something. When the feeling of "chore" supersedes your enthusiasm for a project, chances are you're not writing it for the right reasons. Be willing to abandon something that's losing its vitality and move on to something new. The *why* is also key to deciding to be a writer. Wanting to be a best-selling author is very different than bursting at the seams to tell a story or share what you know that may help your readers.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? In any age, certainly including today, it's such a privilege to spend quality time exploring the infinite power and flexibility of the written word while simultaneously satisfying the basic human need for self-expression. As a non-fiction author in an increasingly complex society, I'm always excited by the potential for books to improve readers' lives, stimulate action for their benefit and the benefit of others, and produce outcomes of positive change.

Steven Cristol's No Boss!: The Real Truth about Working Independently: 12 Lessons from 30 Years of Bossing Myself Around is out September 20 with Strategic Harmony Books.