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Member Spotlight: Amanda Cockrell

author Amanda Cockrell and an image of her book Birds of Prey

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? It’s the only thing that I do well, and that I enjoy enough to do consistently. Even my day jobs have involved writing in some way or another. When I write fiction, I get very attached to the people who live in my head and they become quite real to me. Writing is an important medium because it offers depth, the opportunity to sink deeply into a story or subject, and to re-read. Stories offer us windows into other lives, into our own history, into possibility. There is a reason that so much religious scripture is told in the form of story and parable and that politicians employ anecdote to sway their listeners. We connect with the specific far more easily than with the generality. Stories are a cultural history of humanity.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I don’t seem to get writer’s block as such. It’s rare that I can’t write. The only time I absolutely can’t is if there is some crisis like a family illness, etc., and then I don’t even try. If it’s just a matter of not being in the mood, I make myself sit down at the keyboard and tell myself I will write for half an hour even if it’s no good. By the time half an hour passes, I am generally in the swing of it. Years ago, I wrote two books a year for a book packager. I learned then that writer’s block was a luxury I couldn’t afford since those books were my sole income.

What is your favorite time to write? Pretty much any time as long as it is consistent. Right now I write Monday, Wednesday and Friday from around eleven to six. I have had other schedules over the years depending on when I could get an uninterrupted block of time, but it has to be consistent or I will get sidetracked into weeding the garden or washing the dog.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? That nothing is ever golden on the first draft. Revision is the mark of a professional. And that no writer is their own best editor. A good editor is a gift.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Mostly that I am still publishing. Otherwise, it’s pretty scary out there, and the changes in the publishing industry are deeply alarming.

Amanda Cockrell’s Birds of Prey, written under her pen name Damion Hunter, is out now with Canelo Digital Publishing.