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Writing Conference, Ashland, Oregon

Q & A With Midge Raymond

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Q: What is your best writing tip?

A: My best writing tip is to Write Every Day — and by that I don’t necessarily mean sitting at the computer typing but being in that writerly zone in which you use every possible moment to think about your project. While in line at the post office, for example, think about your characters, think about a letter she might write, think about a time he got someone else’s mail. There are so many moments in which we’re not able to write, but we can still be thinking like writers.

Q: Is writer’s block real? If so, how do you tackle/circumvent it?

I think it’s real for some writers, and probably nonexistent for others. When I find myself getting stuck on a piece, I try a couple of strategies. One, I’ll simply switch to something else; as a short-story writer, I usually have several short stories in progress. If I want to stick with a particular piece but am not getting where I need to go with it, I’ll take a break and do something related to the project: research, freewriting — or I’ll simply take a walk and think about it away from the desk, which always helps.

 Q: What’s your writing process?

A: It changes every day — I have no typical process because for me there’s no such thing as a typical day (which generally I think is a good thing!). For a while last winter, I got up before dawn to write; lately I’ve been writing in the afternoons at the library. It all just depends on when I can fit it into my schedule. One thing I’ve enjoyed a lot is getting away from my desk and writing in a notebook — being off the computer helps me get into a more creative mood.

Q: How do you make time to write?

It’s my biggest challenge! I make sure to take some time off every year to get away (out of town) to write — this is the best way to reconnect with my writing. I’ll also try to re-create this writing time at home, in my everyday life — a couple hours here, a Saturday there — whenever I can.

A: What are you working on next?

Right now I’m working on about six new short stories … all in various stages of development.

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Author: jessicapage2

Jessica Page Morrell lives in Portland, Oregon where she is surrounded by writers and watches the sky all its moods and shades. She’s the author of Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches, How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life, Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: Master The Subtle Elements Of Fiction Writing; and Writing Out the Storm. Morrell works as a highly-sought after developmental editor because if your characters are a bundle of quirks and inconsistencies, or the plot stalls and the scenes don’t flow, these problems need to be unriddled before you submit it to an agent or editor. She also works on memoirs and nonfiction books with a special focus on logic and voice. She began teaching writers in 1991 and now teaches through a series of workshops in the Northwest and at writing conferences throughout North America and lectures to various writing organizations. She is the former writing expert at iVillage.com which was voted as one of the best 101 sites for writers. In 2008 she founded Summer in Words, a yearly writing conference held on the Oregon coast. She hosts a Web site at www.writing-life.com, and she’s written a monthly column about topics related to writing since 1998 that currently appears in The Willamette Writer. She also contributes to The Writer and Writers Digest magazines, writes a monthly e-mail newsletter, The Writing Life, and a Web log at http://thewritinglifetoo.blogspot.com

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