Just when I needed a little kick in the butt to get writing again, I saw this awesome post by Nina Badzin that was inspired by another post by Kristen M. Ploetz. I love being nosy like this, getting a brief glimpse into other writers’ lives and habits. And to get my writing juices flowing, I am going to post my own answers—just in case you were wondering about me as a writer.
1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet?
This is a toughie in my house. Drew is very supportive of my writing, but he is also a sensitive soul. Of course, I have never written—and I never will write—anything that might be hurtful to him, I have no reason to write such things. Strangely, what upset Drew in the past is exactly this, that I haven’t written about him. I write about myself, Sam, old friends and lovers. But not him. Some things I like to keep private—like my marriage. So, after all that: I do show him my work, mostly just so he knows what I am working on. He does give me some feedback if things don’t make sense, or if he finds a small typo before publication. And I do show him things before they are published—especially if I think the topic is sensitive—like past loves.
2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it?
Hm, I am really not sure. I know I have friends who are regular readers, and I also know that I have friends who I consider to be some of my closest friends, who have never set foot on my blog. I am OK with it—we are all busy and I know that not reading my blog or my published essays is not because they are not supportive of my writing. And I feel icky about pushing my writing on anyone—and now that I think about it, I don’t even post my blog entries on my Facebook page. So if you want to read my blog, you really have to be into it and follow me.
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?
I can only think of maybe two pieces that never found a home, and I have to say that even as I was writing them I knew that they would be hard to place. And I am OK with that. Many times I just want to write what I feel like writing, without aiming for a specific publication. Getting published is great, and that is my ultimate goal with every piece, but I also want writing to be its own reward. So yes, some pieces do end up on my blog and some pieces end up on The Huffington Post. Is that awful to say?
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?
I feel like the things I write about are somewhat flexible and even if I was originally aiming for a specific publication, the piece will most likely work for another place. But I try not to aim as I write.
6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?
Daily life is my biggest inspiration. I have gotten much better about jotting things down—usually on my phone—because ideas can come to me from a brief sentence, something that Sam says, or something that happens as we just go about our lives. I love that unpredictable nature of the creative process—you just never know when an idea will strike.
7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?
I have to agree with Kristen about the brilliance of Lauren Apfel. Every time I read her writing I am amazed at how easy she makes it look and how much I want to be like her when I grow up. I am also always, always amazed by the eloquence of Dina Relles and Jennifer Singer Meer. Their writing knocks my socks off.
8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?
Well, if I can’t list Anne Lamott, then I am not sure. I have to admit that it’s been a while since I read a craft book. It feels like just reading in general is a craft lesson every time.
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?)
No. And I have written about some personal topics—breasts, anyone? I sometimes wonder whether writing something and publishing it for everyone to read somehow cheapens the experience or the person… But no regrets.