Sunday, December 19, 2010

13 Questions I ask myself

Photo by leah jones

I sometimes read interviews with writers but nothing comes even remotely close to the sorts of pieces from The ParisReview. I went through a magazine collecting phase a few years back and, along with some primo editions of Rolling Stone and Face, I nabbed some old editions of the Review. Beautiful, vintage pieces that delved into the real whys and hows of writing. The Hemingway piece is still a favourite. Check out their online archives. I see that the current edition has Jonathan Franzen talking about the art of fiction. 

Nothing gets me more than when a writer, when asked why they write, responds with “I just need to.” What the hell does that mean?
Writing is one of the most solitary conditions. Not as solitary as, say, being trapped in a mine or deep sea diving, but it’s definitely a solo act where you get trapped inside your own head.
I write because I like to tell stories, because I want to see and read  what’s in my head. And I like seeing my name on things.
Here are a few more things I ask myself.
1. Is the simple act of writing enough or do I need to get published?
 When should I write? Morning? Night? Do I need silence? Quite frankly, I can write anywhere because I, quite literally, escape into my head.
 Do I care about what people want to read? Am I abreast of the latest trends in fiction? I hear that historical romance is dead but paranormal romance is HOT.
 Should I write to a schedule? 1000 words a day? Two hours a day? Every day? Weekends. Or will I just write whenever I can?
 What do I like to read? Whose voices speak to me the most? Do I read for story or style?
 What about me? Is story key? Or is literary style most important?
 Am I able to write what I don’t know or will I limit myself to my experiences?
 If I don’t get a novel published, what other publishing paths am I prepared to take? Self publishing? POD?
 How about writing groups?
 How do I stay motivated when the ideas simply aren’t flowing or like’s kicking me in the guts and writing’s the last thing on my mind?
 What am I prepared to do to make this happen?
 Writing contests? Huge potential or letdown?
 Will people think I’m writing my own life?

 What questions do you ask yourself about writing?

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