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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Anne Michaud

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I’m a journalist and non-fiction writer. I have this concept of a public conversation going on, and writing is my way of contributing to it. Sometimes it’s an asynchronous conversation – not a term I would have used before email came into being. If my books aren’t read now, they will be around later, for future readers. That comforts me. There’s a quote I like from Rebecca Solnit: “We live in an essayistic age, and in recent years some of the key transformations in the United States have proceeded in no small part by the arguments advanced in essays, not landmark individual ones, generally, but flocks of essay that fill the sky like the birds … a cumulative effect that is transformative. Of how we together make things visible ….” That also gives me comfort.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? The best one is to have someone else give me a deadline. I’m very deadline-driven, but I’m not always good about keeping those promises if I’m the only one holding myself accountable. One trick I like to use is to choose a small task–or a small block of time–and tell myself I’ll just do that much. That often gets me started, and I do more once I’m immersed. I also like leaving off for the day mid-sentence, so I can pick up there the following day.

What is your favorite time to write? I’m fitting it in in pockets around my paid work. I like mornings best.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Don’t acquiesce to others (editors) so much that you lose your own voice. You will want and need that as you grow.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I’m excited by how writers are shaping our culture and public conversation. I saw a book in the library today and I thought, well, he was cutting edge last year. Now he’s been overtaken by voices like Ibram X. Kendi’s. I recall discovering a podcast a couple of years ago, on a road trip with my family. It was the 1619 project by Nikole Hannah-Jones. I felt breathless with how much it changed my worldview and how bold it was. Writers are making change happen.

Anne Michaud’s Why They Stay: Sex Scandals, Deals, and Hidden Agendas of Nine Political Wives (2nd Edition) is out with Ogunquit-NY Press.