Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Interview with Dallas Woodburn, author and founder of Write On! For Literacy - Part 3
I am pleased to welcome Dallas Wooburn back to Reviews and Interview. Dallas is a prolific writer and is founder of a non-profit called Write On! For Literacy which she started in her teens.
This is the third of 3 parts as a way to introduce the readers of Reviews and Interviews to this inspiring woman.
Dallas, thank you for visiting Reviews and Interviews again.
In May, we introduced you to readers. In June you told us about your non-profit organization, Write On! For Literacy. Today we're going to have you talk about writing.
Do you have a set time when you write, or just whenever you get the urge?
I try to write every single day – I am most productive and happy when I have an established routine. Even if I don’t feel like writing, I tell myself to write for just fifteen or twenty minutes, and usually by the end of that time I am in the groove and write for longer.
My goal is to write 1,000 words every day. I am a night owl, so it is not unusual to find me at my computer writing after midnight, when the world is quiet and I am alone with my thoughts.
Have you ever had writer's block, and if so how do you get rid of it?
One of the best things for me to do when I am facing writer’s block is to step back from the story and get away from the computer a bit. I love to go volunteer at schools and teach writing activities to kids. This is one of my favorite activities – it gives me great joy and fulfillment. Whenever I am feeling discouraged or creatively drained, going to schools and speaking to students inevitably recharges my batteries and gets me excited about writing again. So much energy and enthusiasm! It’s contagious!
I also frequently post tips for busting through writer’s block on my blog, http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com.
How do you invent your characters?
Usually my characters start with a kernel of a personal experience or emotion that I am going through, and then pretty quickly this spins away from me and becomes a character separate from myself. Even if the eventual story is going to be written in third person, I usually like to write at least a couple pages in first person from the character’s perspective to get a sense of his or her voice. I don’t censor myself during this process – I just let the words flow freely and see what voice develops for the character.
What would you say is the neatest thing you know?
I am continually impressed and inspired by the resilience, beauty, and generosity in people. Also, by the human ability to change and grow and thrive despite adversity and setbacks.
Do you prefer keyboard or pen when you write?
I used to be strictly a keyboard girl, but lately I’ve been writing freehand in big spiral notebooks in coffeeshops. I’ve found writing with pen and paper makes me feel less inhibited and more creative. In the evening, I go home and transcribe everything from my notebook to the computer, and do my first round of editing as I type things in. The process is working well for me right now.
What do you recommend to aspiring authors?
Write every day, read as much as you can, and enjoy the process! As John Wooden says, “The journey is better than the inn.” In addition, publishing my books has taught me not to be afraid to take risks, and to take the initiative when you have an idea and make it happen yourself rather than letting fear and doubt make you wait. Because, why wait? Take small steps towards your dreams, and small steps can snowball into amazingly big opportunities!
Dallas, I has been a pleasure getting to know you through these interviews. Perhaps you'll come back for a visit in the future to share more of your accomplishments with us. :)