The Apiring Authors’ Interview.
There are many interviews being undertaken on various blogs by well-known authors, but for a change I thought it might be useful to discover the thoughts and feelings of the ‘unpublished’. Fourteen people took part in the questionnaire. Please feel free to answer any of the questions in the Comments box. All writers welcome to comment. But please bear in mind most of the contributors are new to writing.
As a member of www.mywriterscircle.com I felt the urge to interview aspiring authors and new writers. Here are their comments and overall impressions
1. Have you always wanted to write or is this something entirely new in your life?
Most of the participants had experience of writing or had always wanted to write. Only a small percentage began writing as a hobby after realising later in life it was something they could do in the future.
2. What are your main concerns about getting started or please share your personal experiences so far.
The main concerns seemed to be learning the ‘rules’ about writing, also concerns about taking the first step into publishing and moving into a world they knew little about. Marketing the novel, once the book was accepted by an agent or publisher and calling yourself a writer, seemed to worry a few.
3. Are you a procrastinator?
Most felt they procrastinated about writing.
4. What is your preferred genre? (In what subject do you want to specialise?)
The general favourites were children’s fiction and young adult, but many said they hadn’t quite reached a decision about genre and didn’t want to be pigeon-holed on that one. Crime novels were popular, but most said they wanted to write good stories and sort out the genre later.
5. What age group are you? a) under 21 b)over 21 but under 35 c)35 – 50 d) over 50
Most of the participants said they were over 50 although there did seem to be a popular age group between 21 – 34.
6. What do you feel are your weaknesses in being a new writer?
Lack of confidence came up many times, also knowing the rules about writing and the sheer number of talented writers who make the new writer feel less adequate. Some weren’t able to concentrate on one project and didn’t feel they could call themselves a serious writer. Inconsistency and lack of ideas were part of their weakness. One person declared they wrote too many words and needed to make sure that each one contributed to the story.
7. Do you read books on ‘How to Write’?
The answers to this were mixed. Many of the writers had ‘How to’ books on the shelf they had bought and didn’t use, most seemed to learn from published authors and some of the contributors preferred to learn by talking to others on www.mywriterscircle.com or meeting with other writers.
‘I think it depends on your writing and educational background and how confident you feel.’
8. Are you an avid reader or do you not bother to read many books, you just want to be a writer?
Most are avid readers and only a small percentage said they had hardly read a book until they started to write. A very few concentrated on their own writing and tended to read a book cover to cover in one sitting.
9. Are you keen to look at publishing in the future or do you want to do this for a hobby?
Most considered this a hobby and creative outlet. Only one person started out with a view to being published. They ‘used to write with publishing in mind, but these days it is more for pure pleasure.’
10. Would you like to write a) a novel b) a short stories c) magazine articles d) something else – please say.
Most said they felt versatility was important. Novel writing seemed to be for the few and because this was a hobby and creativity subject, many preferred to write because they enjoyed it.
11 Do you think there is enough support for new writers?
The answers here were mixed. Some felt there were buckets of support, where others didn’t feel they needed it saying you have to support yourself and not depend on others to do it for you.
12. Do you feel you should as a new writer, learn about creative writing in college, home study or night school etc.
The short answer to this question was NO. If you have a strong will to write and a grasp of the English language there are more than enough resources online for finding out about grammar and plot.
13. Does your family support your quest to become a writer?
‘Tolerate might be a better word’ was a quote from one writer, but overall most were supported by friends and family. One contributor said ‘They think I’m nuts anyway, they are tolerant of my pursuits. ‘
14. How many hours per week do you think you can spare to write?
I felt after reading all the answers, the average seemed to be less than four hours per week. One person said they could take up to 70 hours if they wished.
15. Have you read any books on grammar?
Most had read grammar books, ‘The Elements of Style’ etc. One person said ‘That’s what editors are for.’ Most were keen to be sure they wrote sound English.
16. Please add any relevant remarks about your quest to become a writer.
‘ Never give up!’ ‘It’s a challenge, but boy! is it rewarding.’ Two people said it was tough juggling work with writing.
‘Read, read read,. I don’t think you can be a successful writer if you don’t. Every book I read, teaches me something new and improves the stories I’m able to weave.’
‘I think becoming a ‘writer’ is a subjective thing. The journey will depend on what you see a ‘writer’ as being. If your writing is to be shared, for example on a blog, I think it needs to be clean, well-presented and error-free regardless of the content. Although many people may have great stories to tell or information to share, they won’t all be writers.’
‘In order to embark on any create journey, you have to be able to bear the intrinsic anxieties.’