I am deliberately calling myself a writer these days. I’m still a mother, wife, attorney, (reluctant) runner, and all of that, but I’ve definitively added writer to the list. The rationale is 50% “fake it til you make it”, and 50% feeling like I can legitimately say so now with a few published pieces under my belt, one more to come in the next month (The Humanist magazine, Jan/Feb 2015), and several pieces still in draft. It’s what I want to do, and, quite frankly, it’s what I am doing so much of the time these days. So, writer.
But…I don’t have an MFA and don’t plan on getting one. I don’t currently belong to a writer’s group and I’m not sure I will anytime soon. I’m working on a book but I’m not sure if it will ever be good enough for publication. I don’t have an agent or anything like that. I’ve probably only scratched the surface of reading all the various craft books out there. So I’ve got questions for other writers, especially those who blog too. Sometimes it’s lots of questions, but these are the ones that bubble to the surface so often.
1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet? (I share with my husband something that I submit elsewhere only AFTER it’s been published, and I am pretty certain he does not read my blog 90% of the time.)
2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it? (Comments from my family and friends, either online or in person, are overwhelmingly rare. I’m totally fine with that, but I am curious if this is the norm for others.)
3. What do you do with the pieces that continually get rejected–post on your blog? Trash? When do you know it’s time to let it go?
4. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else?
5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?
6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?
7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?
8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?
9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax? (Obviously we all grow as writers and looking back at our “clunkier” writing can be cringeworthy…that’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean are there things you wish you hadn’t said out loud either because of what you said or how you said it. I’m not in this position right now, but some things I’d like to write about might get me there. And yet…how can I ignore those topics, you know?)
I’d love it if you answered a few of these. I’d also love it if you shared what YOU wonder about other writers too.
Copyright (c) 2014 Kristen M. Ploetz