Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?
I have a home office where I work. The room is a small bedroom off of another. It’s just big enough for a drafting table, a workstation and some bookcases and filing cabinets. I use both desks for creative work, including collage work and writing in notebooks.
What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?
I write longhand and online depending on the project. I have a collection of commonplace books and writing notebooks where most of the material goes to get lost. The computer is the only place that allows me to track my work. I have three essential tools: Scrivener, Adobe Creative cloud, and a Ahab fountain pen from Noodlers Ink. For whatever reason, the fountain pen works for me and my left-handed writing. I’ve tried other pens and this one seems to be a little more temperamental, but smears less and glides just right.
What is your routine for writing?
I’d like to say it’s to get up at 6 and write for an hour or so before the day starts, but so far this year I haven’t been that successful in getting up that early. When I do, it makes the day feel so much more productive and brighter. When I don’t get up early, I feel like I’m constantly trying to catch up throughout the day.
How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?
The easy answer is all my life, but it’s only be the past decade or so that I’ve turned it into a routine. I think the idea of “writing” is like any other job. You can dabble in it for years, but true writing means getting up every day and dedicating time and energy to doing it. I’ve always had journals and jotted down story ideas or lines for poems, but I didn’t focus on a daily routine until I was in my 30s. Once I started a routine, I found the writing to feel more natural and the ideas more sustained.
Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?
I write for other poets and writers.
What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?
I don’t allow myself to get blocked. Uninspired, yes, but not blocked. There’s always work to be done. I try to hit at least 1,000 words a day. If it’s a bad day, there’s always editing and reviewing notebooks to find old lines.
I also read everything. I review books for different publications in a variety of subjects. There’s so much history and writing that has been forgotten that I’m constantly finding new inspiration.
What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?
I spent most of high school and college working on fine arts, particularly print-making. I’ve been trying to find time to work in encaustics. When the weather is warm, I like to sit outside and whittle wooden chains. I also run two to three times a week.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
The focused work. Getting into a groove that leads to a state of flow.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Keep at it. Get a routine. Most of us still consider ourselves aspiring writers, and we all have bad periods. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just get back into a routine.
Check out John’s work in Volume 4, Issue 1.