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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Barbara Novack

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I write both poetry and novels. There’s an immediacy in poetry that I appreciate. Poetry can capture moments and intensity in a way no other art form can. Novels, on the other hand, are a form I can immerse myself in, live in and with for a long time, something I enjoy. When we write we are communicating with ourselves. But the sharing of it moves it onto a larger stage. Writing is an important medium for the world because it is a basis of communicating ideas and aspects of the human experience in depth, enabling us to explore both our differences and those things we all have in common. Ideally, this should increase our understanding of each other and ourselves.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I think writer’s block occurs when we get in our own way. We can be critical of the work too soon, stress about an unsolved problem in the work, and be too critical of ourselves. It helps to allow for a lack of perfection early on, knowing revision is what polishes the work. It also helps to trust your subconscious to come up with the answer to the unsolved problem. It may not come that day, but it will come. Working on another piece of writing, something unrelated, can get your mind off the problem and help you still feel productive, while allowing the answer time to bubble up. Sometimes when life problems get in the way of productive work and you can’t focus, it helps to not beat yourself up about either not writing or producing work that’s not particularly good. You’re not a machine, not a robot, you’re living a life as well as being a writer. There are fallow periods as well as fertile ones, and sometimes the fallow ones provide insights that help later on. It can also help to write about what you’re going through, even if it’s in a journal just for yourself, to keep the writing wheels in motion. And sometimes when you’re sitting there trying to write something good and it’s just not happening, just go for a walk, get away from it for a while. It’s amazing what refreshing your brain cells can do for you!

What is your favorite time to write? Any time. I always have a pad with me and a pen or pencil. When I’m working on a novel, though, I do like to get started in the morning. I like working in the morning light.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Keep at it. Keep learning. Enjoy the process.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The variety of ways now available to share your work with others.

Barbara Novack‘s Dancing on the Rim of Light is out now with Blue Light Press.