My inspiration for this post comes from the Ten Minute Writer’s Workshop podcast. Hosted by Virginia Prescott, each episode interviews a notable writer with the same questions. While I’m not yet a notable writer, I thought it would still be of some benefit for you to understand a bit of my process as I work through some of the questions.
I would also encourage you to make a habit of subscribing to the aforementioned podcast. It’s a great way to gain insight into what other writers face.
Which is harder to write, the first sentence or the last?
The first sentence is by far more difficult. As typical as this may sound, the hardest thing I face is a blank screen. I often want to draw a reader in with a compelling or provocative opening statement, so I will spend a great deal of time crafting those first words.
Do you edit as you write or wait until the end?
Most of the time I wait until I’ve pushed through a first draft to edit. After completing a project, I’ll let it breathe for a bit before I come back and read through it.
How much do you research before writing?
The extent of my research will depend on the topic. If it’s come sort of commentary on a current event, I’ll try to read as much as I can from as many different perspectives as possible.
What is your worst distraction from getting writing done?
I’m not very diligent in doing this, but it does help to set my devices to “do not disturb” when I’m writing.
What habits would you encourage writers to take up or avoid?
Write something every day, even if you never plan on anyone else reading it. It’s like training for a marathon. You have to work on it daily to build up your stamina.
Are there books or tools to recommend for writers to read?
“On Writing” by Stephen King is a great book to read. It’s almost always mentioned by writers as one of their top recommendations for other writers. It’s funny, insightful, encouraging, and makes you want to keep at it.
Also, as I mentioned above, check out the Ten Minute Writer’s Workshop podcast.
What is the most common mistake beginning writers make?
Mark Twain once said, “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.” Most beginning writers use far too many words. Always go back and see what you can leave out and still make your point.
What’s the best advice I ever received about writing?
Read far and wide. If you want to write well, you have to read well. Be selective and read the genre in which you wish to write.