What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
The one piece of writing advice that I have received so often and I stay true to every time is “Read. Read. Write. Repeat.” The emphasis on the reading is something I find very important for any writer.
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
When looking for writing inspiration, I always walk to my shelf and pull out any book that I have read before and loved, and I open a random page and read through just to get a feel of the language. Often, I go for something that’s very descriptive or a book that, for me, works to push the boundaries of the English language like a novel by Toni Morrison or Arundhati Roy.
What’s a writing strategy you’ve developed that’s worked for you?
I always begin my work with a title. It helps me get the sense of the story being something already. It’s a kind of manifestation, in that by naming the story, I will it to be. The title may change during the writing of the story or after I finish writing it, but I always have the title.
Another strategy I find myself using in my recent stories is to take away a crucial element of the story and challenge myself to write without that element. For example, I will try and write a story without mentioning the age or gender of a character while making that aspect very crucial to the story. That puts me in a position to actually work hard during the writing and makes the writing process exciting for me.
What do you do with all the writing ideas that pop into your head? Where do they go?
I have a Google Drive folder where everything gets dumped. Often, I find use for them in a different story and merge them into one. Everything is useful and so I am never quick to delete or discard drafts of stories or ideas that didn’t come to fruition. I keep everything and find a way to make them fit into another short story.
As a writer, how do you stay curious or keep yourself curious?
I think reading is the easiest and the best way, but also moving through the world with an open mind and open ears. I listen to conversations, I watch people, I travel and interact with different cultures, and all that keeps me asking questions that I then try to answer through my writing.
Who do you think really knows how to do an email newsletter?
How would you describe your relationship with your readers? (especially if it’s evolved)
My readers are the most generous people I know. They engage with my work in a way that makes me want to always keep writing. I receive emails and DMs from them and that kind of feedback is always validating to me as a writer. I am glad my stories have resonated with people who live in places that I’ve never been to and that people can see themselves in my work. For that, I am forever grateful.
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed enough) for a writer trying to improve in 2022?
I’d say “be intentional”. I think for a writer starting out this can be very difficult but knowing what you want to write and why you want to write it and how you want to write it sharpens your craft in a way that takes your writing to a whole new level. Asking yourself the difficult questions during the writing process helps you narrow down and be very specific to what you want a story to be.