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What time of day do you like to write?
Morning. My optimal hours are between 7 and 10 a.m.
Do you set yourself a time limit? Or do you try to reach a specific word count?
I don’t like setting time limits or word count goals for myself, but when they are imposed upon me, I try to obey them. There's productivity in deadlines.
Do you need quiet to write? Or do you need music? What kind of music?
I always need some noise. Music can help me get into a time or place I’m writing about, or a tone that I’m after. If I’m not listening to music, odds are good that I have WNYC on in the background.
What is your number one procrastination tool? Just kidding! It's the Internet, right? Of course it is. So, specifically, what on the Internet is your own personal black hole?
Number one: My own infinite capacity for spacing out and daydreaming. After that, yes, the Internet, especially Twitter and various soccer blogs. And cleaning. I make a lot of time to iron table and bed linens when I should be writing. (And once you start ironing your sheets, there’s no turning back).
What do you do to break out of a bout of writer's block? Please share any and all tricks.
I have no tricks. I despair, deeply and hideously. And then I remember something my writer dad once told me: “Alimony is the greatest muse.”
Who is the first person you share your writing with and why do you turn to her or him?
I occasionally share a draft of something with a friend. But usually I share my writing only with whatever editor I’m working with. It’s a too-many-cooks-spoil-the-broth kind of thing, I guess.
What is one "rule" that you follow as a writer? Writers always seem to be coming up with lists of rules. Or are you not into rules? Maybe you're not into lists? What's the deal?
No rules. But I love making grocery lists and to-do lists.
Do you compulsively edit as you write? Or do you write a lot and go back and then cringe at how many times you repeat the same word over and over? Which, what is that word?
I worked as an editor for years, so, yes, I do edit as I write. That doesn’t keep me from cringing, though.
What is the best advice you've ever received about writing? And, no, it doesn't need to have come from another writer.
From a poetry workshop instructor in college: “If you want to be a writer, what you must do is write.” Simple and truthful and kind of infuriating. Like one of those koans where one monk bashes another monk on the head.