Every time I log into Goodreads, the empty space after the “Ask the Author” questions stare back at me. This week, I finally took some time to sit down and focus on these questions. Hopefully some readers will find solace or camaraderie in my answers below. Happy reading and happy writing kindred spirits!
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Honestly, I don’t really think writer’s block exists. If it does, it’s surely not an illness that afflicts creative minds with symptoms like, pulling your hair out in front of computer screens.
It’s an old-as-time battle between your will power and procrastination. It’s a vicious fight between your goals and the pile of laundry accumulating in your closet, between waking up early or sleeping-in, between forcing yourself to sit-down at a desk or running three miles.
There will always be something you should or need to do, that seems more pressing than writing. To me, writers blocks is a series of days where I gave into that “other thing I need to do.” It’s when I haven’t written for four days straight because I didn’t make writing my number one priority. When the days sans writing swell up, sitting down to write Viola’s next adventure seems that much more intimidating and overwhelming.
All this to say, for me, I conquer “writer’s block” by sitting down, lighting a powdery candle, setting a timer, and jotting down words. When I sit down, I know full well, that the first words taking shape from my graphite wand are rubbish. On the other hand, I also know that once I sink into the world I’m conjuring, I can create something magical.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Creating something from nothing. For me, telling a story and building an empathetic connection with a stranger or friend through a series of symbols, is nothing short of alchemy. ❤
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Begin. Try a pencil. Write for yourself.
Beginnings are the hardest part. Whether it’s waking up at 5 am to write before I hustle off to work or beginning the first page of chapter, the first five seconds of commencing my writing ritual is the most difficult hurdle to jump. Endure that brief moment of weakness and don’t think too much about it.
If you are feeling stuck, try long-hand. When I started writing Lost in the City of Flowers, I started with a small laptop I bought for $200. I often got frustrated and would delete whole pages at a time. On a whim, I bought a Moleskine lined notebook and tried writing a chapter the old-school way. Now, I can’t invoke the Histories of Idan without a notebook and a pencil. After I write a chapter in long-hand, I type it up a few days later. This process helps me edit without being too hard on myself too quickly.
Will people like my book? Who will want to read it? What if people hate it? Questions like these, ones that every writer may grapple with, will kill any writing courage I have mustered. Write what you enjoy. Write because you need to. Write because you love to.
What are you currently working on?
Torn by Salt and Satin is the working title of book 2 in The Histories of Idan series.
Viola’s must travel back in time to save Mrs. Reed, who has gone missing in 1789 Paris. In a place on the cusp of rebellion, Viola becomes an apprentice to Jacques-Louis David, a ward of Thomas Jefferson, a friend of Marie-Anne Paulze in her quest to find a missing drawing, and her mysterious patroness before the bloody axe of the French revolution falls.
How do you get inspired to write?
I get inspired by listening to music and letting my imagination wonder. While I was writing Lost in the City of Flowers, I listened to Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dreams album on repeat. The album almost felt like it was written for my heroine and I. Every morning, before I would write a single word, I would listen to Ends of the Earth and would really inspire me. That said, if you lack inspiration, I would suggest looking to other art forms and art practices to kick start your writing.
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
The initial goal of The Histories of Idan series, is to get people excited about art history and to introduce the subject in an adventurous albeit quasi-fictional way. With this in mind, I try to look back at my own art history journey, to pinpoint artists or time periods seduced me. Jacques Louis David, and the cultural makeup of the French Revolution have always fascinated me and I would be remiss to not write a book that focused on this glorious time in art and human evolution.