Questions for Writers

 

One of the blogs I always look forward to reading is Kristen’s Little Lodestar. Last week, she posted a series of questions: Nine Things I Wonder About Other Writers. Q&A time:

  1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet?

My husband reads everything I write. In fact, he’s read this. I share my blog posts, essays, columns, flash fiction—before and after publication. Huh. Now that I’m writing this, I’m thinking how annoying that must be since he has limited time, too. Food for thought. He is an incredible support system, cheerleader, and proofreader when my eyes are glossed over at 1am and I’ve missed word. [“a” word] Isn’t he great?

  1. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it?

This is complicated. Family is always complicated. I’m curious to read other answers to this. As far as I know, very few family members and friends read my work. Well, you now know my husband reads my writing. One of my friends occasionally (I’m honestly not sure how often) reads my blog posts. My parents and grandmother read my Lifestyle columns. (My grandmother has a little scrapbook of my newspaper clips—love her!) However, my biggest fan, and editor, is my 8-yr-old son.

  1. 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?

If I like a piece and it gets rejected, I won’t trash it. I keep it for a possible future opportunity or post it on my blog. I don’t submit as much as I probably should so, oftentimes, pieces sit on my computer. Waiting. Taunting me…

  1. 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’ve had pieces published after they’ve been turned down elsewhere but if I’ve written something very specific, I find it difficult to submit it to a different publication without a massive revision. I don’t like massive revision. I’ve tried it a few times but the piece loses much of what I loved about it to begin with if I try to make it more “humorous” or more “literary” or more “whatever-this-publication-wants”. It’s not genuine—it’s revised just to get published. I prefer genuine.

  1. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?

Wow. This is like when someone asks me my favorite book or favorite wine. I just stand there. Like I’m doing now. Books. Just that. Generally, books. Also, blogs are a wonderful source of inspiration.

  1. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?

Definitely what I see and hear in daily life. I walk around this world writing in my head. I do. It’s weird. But there is so much out there that begs to be written about. The good, the bad, and the ugly—it’s all being recorded in my mind and I often write blog posts about what I’ve experienced. That being said, other blogs often spark an idea or memory that gets me thinking (and sometimes writing).

  1. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?

Oh, joy! *climbs up on soapbox* Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Children’s Lit. are so underappreciated by grown-ups and I don’t know why. There is some amazing writing out there in these genres. Go forth and grab a book not written for your age group. It’s fun.

  1. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?

Okay, so (“Bird by Bird”!) Stephen King’s “On Writing”. Austin Kleon, author of “Steal Like an Artist”, has a wonderful, little book chock full of awesomeness: “Show Your Work”. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have written “The Emotion Thesaurus” among others. “Wrede on Writing” by Patricia C. Wrede is one I haven’t read yet but I adore her writing and expect this book is fabulous—it’s in my TBR pile.

  1. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax?

You let us off the hook for our “cringeworthy” pieces for which I am grateful because this post is getting a bit long. Style/syntax…yes. Is there someone who said “no” to this? I want to be meet that person. I’m an online bartender so I don’t have many pieces I regret writing in the sense that I’ve changed my opinion or have offended someone. (Plus, let’s face it, we can offend someone by wearing bright red lipstick so I don’t worry about that too much. As an aside, I don’t wear bright red lipstick.) I do regret the pieces I’ve written that are a bit too personal—either about me or about my children.

 

I love these questions (and answers—both in the comment section at Little Lodestar and on other blogs, such as Nina Badzin, Lindsey Mead, and Lara Anderson).

 

Okay, readers of Lemon Shark, writers of anything and everything, what are your answers? Share them here, on the original post, or on your own blog. I look forward to reading them.

 

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24 thoughts on “Questions for Writers

  1. I loved reading your answers to these very interesting questions Sarah, and I wish I had more time right now to get into this. I’m signing off later today from blogging until the new year as I know I won’t get a second to get back on here and yes, I know I’ll pay the price for taking such a break (so hard to get back into the swing of things if last Christmas is anything to go by) but I need to spend time with family and switch off. I’m going to bookmark this post and get back to you if that’s ok? Meanwhile, great to know your hubby is so supportive. Mine is too, and that means a lot. He and my lovely mum 🙂 So until then, wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and New Year filled with every good thing…and see you in 2015 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Enjoy a screen-free holiday with your family. That’s a wonderful idea and I’m happy to hear you’re doing this. I hope you will come back to these questions whenever you can — I’d love to see your answers. Happy Christmas. 🙂

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  2. Okay, #7 – Yes! YA, mid grade, and picture books are totally under appreciated. I haven’t read a few of the books you mention in #8. I’ll check them out. Love this, Sarah. I’m loving these little glimpses into the workings of other writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Another YA and MG book lover. 🙂 I can’t wait to read your Questions for Writers post. I’m curious to see how everyone answered these. It is fascinating (and informative) to get these little glimpses. Thanks!

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  3. Hi Sarah, This is a great set of questions and you have provided some wonderful answers. It’s very interesting to learn these things about you and your writing. I “envy” that your husband reads everything that you write. Mine reads none of it! But my daughter reads everything and always gives me wonderful feedback. That more than makes up for his lack of interest!
    Like Sherri, I may come back to this post and respond sometime in the future. I may be able to tie it in with the Writer’s Bog Hop via Anne Goodwin.
    Best wishes for Christmas time and 2015! I look forward to further conversations next year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norah – It’s wonderful that your daughter is so interested in what you do and is able to give you feedback (those are two very different things). 😉 Thank you — these were fun to think about and respond to. I hope you do return to answer some or all of these. And, yes, an appreciative audience is far better than a forced one.

      Anne – Thank you. I hope you can work these questions in sometime, too. Either here in the comments or on your blog somewhere. I’m curious to see how you’d answer these. I have accepted that a lot of people in my life don’t read my writing (some don’t read much of anything). I know! The horror! 😮

      Happy Christmas to you both.

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Sarah, I love your answers, and your sense of humor so much!

    #5 cracked me up because I am THE worst at on the spot questions about favorites. One of the things that bonded me and my husband the night we met was me asking him, What music to you like, and then when I saw the utter terror on his blank face I quickly added, Nevermind, I hate questions like that. The rest is history, but that and the fact that we both run away from group dances at weddings was rather pivotal in cementing our courtship.

    Hmm, sorry, tangent.

    Anyway, I so enjoyed reading your responses and look forward to more lemon sharkness and online bartending 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m loving the visual of you and your husband standing there… I just adore sharing awkward moments. Also, tangents are totally cool here.

      Thanks, Dana. I hope to bring more lemony goodness (with a bite) to the blogosphere. Cheers!

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  8. I don’t know how I missed this, Sarah! But I’m happy to have finally come across these answers now. Like you, I don’t like massive revision either and for the same reasons. But it leaves me uneasy too that I have several pieces now (it seems) without a home. I tend to tweak if I can get by with a little, but if it’s a wholesale redo, I tend to just leave it in a folder to fester. And I agree with you on your answer to #7–I have not read much YA or middle grade books, but I did read two in the past year and I was really smitten. I hope to add a few more this year. Happy New Year!! Excited to read more of your words this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tweak pieces for similar publications but, sometimes, there is just too much to revise and I feel it loses both voice and tone. You’ll find a home for your pieces and, if not, you always have them. Just don’t delete! So happy to hear you are reading some books in the YA/MG genre. I just ordered Wonder and am excited to read that one. Also, looking forward to seeing your words this year as you “reach”. 🙂 Happy New Year to you, as well!

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  11. I show everyone what I write. Maybe that’s why I can’t get paid.

    Luckily everything I write is brilliant so no one ever has anything negative to say about it.

    I’m going treasure hunting now.

    Liked by 1 person

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