I first saw these “9 Questions for Writers” when my friend Andrea Jarrell posed and answered them in her blog, Creative Work Life. The questions were originally written by Kristen M. Ploetz. Below, before my answers, are links to posts from the first four writers to blog their answers.
If you’ve blogged your answers, share the link to your blog in the comments and I will add you to the list. I suggest answering the questions before checking out what the others have written. Give it a try — it’s fun!
Kristen M. Ploetz | Nine Things I Wonder About Other Writers
Nina Badzin | Wondering About Other Writers
Lindsey Mead | Questions for Writers
Andrea Jarrell | 9 Questions for Writers
Dana Schwartz | Wondering About Other Writers
1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet?
I’ve been trying to get my husband to read the fiction I’m working on for months now! I don’t think it’s going to happen. He’ll read my blog posts if I tell him it’s something that will interest him. The only time he’s truly enthusiastic about reading what I’m writing is when I have a question about the topic that he can answer. Then he’s invested!
2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it?
I would HOPE that my friends are reading at least some of my blog posts, but if they aren’t, it would probably make them uncomfortable to ask, so I don’t. My regular readers are the people in the online communities I run and my family. My sister-in-law and my father read both of my blogs regularly.
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 haven’t submitted anything for publication by someone who hasn’t asked for it in a few decades, when there were no such things as blogs, so I didn’t have the option to self-publish. I was never rejected by a magazine, but there were some newspaper pieces that didn’t get published, and since they were timely, I didn’t send them elsewhere. (Information traveled slower in the days of the Pony Express snail mail.)
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 haven’t had that experience. I think that if I had written the piece with a specific place in mind, I wouldn’t want to take it apart to fit another publication. I might write something about the same topic for a different publication, but it would be a completely different piece.
5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?
Things that other people write don’t inspire me to write (unless I want to write a book review!) I read because I want to know what the author thinks, or to learn about something, or to have a laugh. However, seeing my friends get published inspires me to get off my butt and finish more blog posts!
6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?
If ideas come from daily life, it’s what I do rather than what I see or hear. If ideas don’t come from something that I’m actually doing, then they come from what I read.
7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?
I’ll have to pass on this one!
8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?
Oh, boy. I’ve only ever read books about editing. Because, you know, editor. Maybe this list of questions wasn’t for me!
9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax?
I hate to even think about some of my serious essays that were published in the newspaper thirty years ago. They were so pretentious! On the other hand, I still enjoy reading some of the funny stuff I wrote twenty years ago for belly-dance magazines and La Leche League. Do I ever regret being published? Never!