First, know yourself
Recently I sat down with Robert Hannon for an interview about my new novel, Turnback Ridge, and about the ideas that inspired it. What a pleasure it was to talk to someone about my journey to Alaska, life as an immigrant, and the craft of writing, and to get messages and calls from friends who heard the broadcast on our local NPR station, KUAC. One friend called from the East Coast to tell me that when I mentioned in the interview that I don’t have a plan I follow through a writing project, but follow my ideas, her eyes opened wide and she had the shock of realising that how she’s been forcing herself to write isn’t a way that works for her, and that’s it’s OK to not have an outline, or even much of a plan.
I tell the same to my students: know yourself as a writer. That’s step one. Forcing yourself to write in a way that is against your instincts, and that hobbles you, is just not a good strategy.
If you’d like to listen to the interview, you can find it here.