Writing Round up

I am the founder and coordinator of Wadadli Pen. I am also a working writer and published author. I thought it might be useful to round up some of what I’ve said about the being a writer from the various interviews over time, especially in this 2012 round of interviews supporting the release of my latest book Oh Gad! In part, because a question I get often is ‘how do I become a writer?’ (or more directly how do I become a published writer?) Now, these interviews were promotional and so excerpting them here can’t be interpreted as anything but self-promotional, so I’ll try to step lightly; but I also hope that it provides some insight on process and the business of writing. For full interviews, you can go here:

On inspiration in an interview on Unheard Words

“I write because of the questions I can’t shake…The ways people interact will always compel me I think, as I try to figure out why people do the things they do; hurt each other and so on. I’m an avid people watcher and absorb and store things, small things, instinctively for later use. I believe that the outsider characters, the people who don’t quite fit will continue to be a signature of my fiction because I understand these people in way I don’t really understand people who walk into a room and fall instinctively into the rhythm of things, people who belong without even trying. I believe that family dynamics will continue to compel me; the back drop of that will likely continue to be Antigua, as it’s the space I know best. But I don’t limit myself. I’m curious and so I’ll go wherever my wandering mind takes me.”

On process from an interview with Sandra Sealey posted to Shewrites.com

“I write from character a lot, I try to figure out who they are and I find their rhythm…I’m able to use the emotions and experiences of my life to tap into them a little bit better. I like the flow that happens when the character is coming through, and my fingers are moving across the page and I’m not so much writing it as trying to keep up with it as it reveals itself to me…. I love getting to know my characters and discovering things about myself and my world through them, even as I use my world and myself to discover them. I love that when it’s flowing everything real slips into the background and they become real; I love the compulsion I feel to get it, to get them, to race with them to the finish, without rushing it, of course, and I love that burst of joy I feel when we get there.”

On character from a Commonwealthwriters.org interview

“… it’s not enough that you know the characters and think they’re interesting or whatever, you have to help the readers see and feel them as well, and to do that you have to know them in a multidimensional way… Who are they? What do they want? What is their truth (don’t compromise on telling their truth)? Why should we care?”

On the industry (or being a small pebble in a big pond) in an interview at ph.d in creative writing

“… it has not been easy… Fact is you could be the most talented in the room and still go unnoticed. But what I did and still do is continue to imagine, read, write, research, network, and grow, and most of all, write. And, when time and resources allow, I take up the opportunity to put myself in environments where all of the above is possible.”

More on the industry in interview in Your Style ezine

“…the thing that you’re never really prepared for when you step out and say, I want to be a writer, is that feeling of vulnerability, because your work will be judged and may be found wanting. As a writer, I’ve experienced bad critiques, lots of rejection; and I have to remind myself that I’m not alone in this. It’s the path. It requires sacrifice, lots of sacrifice. Plus, you’re never prepared for how much you have to do to promote the book, how proactive you have to be…I know I’ve got to do all I can no matter how much it takes me out of my comfort zone.”

On authenticity in interview at Caribbean Literary Salon

“One of the things I emphasize and encourage (with Wadadli Pen) is that the submissions be Caribbean in spirit simply because I want to debunk this whole idea that writing happens elsewhere to other people doing ‘important’ things; simply because I want us to embrace the value in our own lives, our own stories; simply because I believe any writing that comes from an authentic place stands a better chance of connecting with the reader than writing that tries to be something it’s not. Similarly, the details that inform my work come from all that helped shaped my reality and imagination growing up in Ottos, Antigua; and my reality, visioning, and concerns as a person living in the modern day Caribbean.”

On seeking feedback in interview at Mindy Hardwick’s blog

“…you can survive criticism and live to write another day…as far as my writing mentors go, once I worked up the nerve to share my work, they provided frank (sometimes too frank) and helpful feedback that helped my writing to grow once I could open myself to hearing it. Also, when someone whose opinion you respect sees you and believes in your potential – and in the potential of your work – you believe in it a little bit more as well.”

On how long it takes in interview at Caribbean Book Blog

“…the process is different for each writer, and it takes as long as it takes.”

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