Today, I welcome Angela Clarke to discuss the writing process.
1) CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING. FOR EXAMPLE, HAVE YOU WRITTEN ANY BOOKS, ARE YOU WRITING NOW?
My name is Angela Clarke and I’m the author of ‘Confessions of a Fashionista’ – a humorous memoir based on the ten years I spent working in and around the fashion industry, which is published by Ebury. I now work full time as a writer, working on columns, the odd freelance feature for people such as The Guardian, The Independent Magazine and Lifetime TV, and I am currently working on a satirical novel (if I can pull it off).
2) HOW MUCH RESEARCH OR PREPARATION DO YOU DO BEFORE WRITING? FOR EXAMPLE, DO YOU DO CHAPTER PLANS, CHARACTER PROFILES ETC? DOES ANY OF THIS CHANGE WHILE YOU ARE WRITING?
For my memoir my research was easy: it was my life. Though I did have to double-check a few finer details with those who were in attendance, because I was on occasion, off my tits on champagne.
For my novel. I’ve prepared character profiles, and a master scene list (one/two lines per scene, for the whole book). I tend to bash out the first three chapters or so until I’ve got a feel for my characters, and then go back, write my master scene list, and start again from the beginning in a more structured way. It doesn’t sound very exciting, so in future I may pretend that stopping for a trapeze lesson at 11a.m followed by bathing in lemonade each day is vital to my process.
3) DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TIME TO WRITE? HOW DO YOU BALANCE THIS WITH OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES, SUCH AS FAMILY LIFE OR WORK?
My main time constraint is the chronic health condition I suffer from, EDS 111. Sadly I was incapacitated for most of 2013 due to EDS complications. I am currently striving to find a balance between what my mind wants to achieve and what my body is capable of. I feel in my (sore) bones that structure and a schedule is the answer, so for the last few months I’ve been moving away from my natural pattern of writing at night, and trying to install a more regimented routine by starting work at 8a.m. That way my writing always gets any energy I have, before I waste it on all the other things life throws at you. It’s playing havoc with my drinking habits though.
4) WHAT PART OF THE WRITING PROCESS DO YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT? FOR EXAMPLE, FIRST DRAFT, EDITING, REWRITING ETC?
I think they’re all important: you wouldn’t end up with a terribly good book if you neglected them.
5) WRITING HAS LOTS OF HIGHS AND LOWS. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?
Wine, and good friends (who also happen to be writers, and so understand this peculiar masochistic pursuit we indulge in).
6) DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND/OR BLOG? HOW USEFUL DO YOU FIND THIS?
Yes, I use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and I blog. I find them all useful, but favour Twitter the most. It has presented many opportunities – from event appearances, feature commissions, radio interviews and blog interviews (like this one). You can also trace people who’ve bought my book after following me on Twitter on my Amazon reviews. It literally drives my audience. I also find it a fountain of interesting and inspirational articles. links and ideas – and a great time sucker. There’s balance to be had there too.
7) IF YOU COULD PASS ON ANY ADVICE TO A NEW WRITER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Join Twitter and never give up
THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW, ANGELA. I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR BOOK, WRITING AND OTHER WORK.