Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?
I almost exclusively work from home. Working in public spaces makes me feel self-conscious, so having my own little niche at home is much more comfortable. Usually my space consists of a mug of coffee (usually getting cold because I can’t type and drink), my dog resting her chin on my leg begging to be pet, and the TV on so I can listen to cooking shows while I work. I generally write when I’m home alone so there isn’t a lot of extraneous noise.
What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?
I write out notes by hand and then type the actual story, poem or script on the computer. I have a legal pad filled with scribbled story ideas which I sometimes archive in Google Docs if I think a certain one is worth continuing. I have an old laptop that I use almost exclusively for writing because my newer laptop’s keys are too small to type quickly on.
What is your routine for writing?
Usually when I have an idea I want to flesh out I have to do it ASAP or I will forget where I wanted to take the story. It generally takes me a while before I generate and idea I want to run with, maybe about a month, and then I sit down and write the whole draft in a few hours. Once I write the first draft, which is a rough rough draft, I will spend the next few weeks adding on and editing until I have a solid first draft. From there I try to get a few people to proof read, edit some more, and repeat.
How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?
I started writing stories and scripts in high school when I took an English class that focused on Utopias. We read so many excellent tales; I wanted to create pieces like these so badly. Unfortunately, I was embarrassed to show people my work or tell anyone I was writing. I didn’t tell anyone about my passion for writing except my Aunt who was going through chemo. Her passing lead me to start sharing my work, because I had promised her I would keep going with my passion. In college I fell in love with playwriting, and I have kept going since.
Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?
I find that I write mostly for those who are willing to think about life in a new way. I find college students and older adults tend to be most interested in my work, as the themes are often a bit much for younger audiences.
What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?
I draw inspiration from people who confuse me. I remember taking a college class on drug addiction, and I wanted to wrap my mind around how something could control a persons life so strongly. I wrote a play trying to delve into the mind of a person who is an addict, and I learned a lot about what they go through. Writing helps me explore topics I am interested in understanding on a deeper level, so I usually write about psychological issues or topics that might be “taboo” or personal.
I have the worst time with writer’s block, but I find that reading or listening to music can help me jump start my brain again. If that doesn’t work I will sit down and talk with people about life and what is happening in the world. Usually they will say something that sparks and idea.
What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?
I have never been apt at sports, but I have a huge admiration for theater. I was a theater major in college and I spent most of my time working on our school productions. I started working in theater over the summers in high school. I would help with set painting and assist the actors with costumes, etc. In college I stage managed quite a few productions and helped to organize two theater festivals. I also worked in two professional theaters as part of the run crew and as a costume assistant.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
My favorite part of the creative process is when I get to the end of the editing process, and I know a piece is finally where I want it. The satisfaction of creating a finished piece of literature is immense.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
My advice is to never be embarrassed or hold yourself back. If you love to write, you can succeed at writing, but only if you keep at it. I spent a very long time being scared to fail, and scared to share because of it. The first time I had to have a class reading of one of my scripts I was terrified, but I soon realized that we are all in this together and the writing community is quite supportive. Never, ever feel like your words aren’t worth sharing.
Check out Samantha’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1 and Volume 3, Issue 2.