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Member Spotlight: C. Hope Clark

author C. Hope Clark and an image her book Edisto Bullet

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is my legacy in its truest form. It allows me to create and communicate and enjoy wordplay, something that satisfies me so much. While I write nonfiction easiest, my deepest satisfaction comes from my fiction. Those worlds are almost real, and when readers feel the same, we bond. That is a pure treasure. Writing is the best communication tool for both entertainment and education, in my opinion. It’s also the best introduction of yourself to the world. It can cross lines and people can slow down and absorb better than words fast spoken and said without deep thought. Writing holds more purpose, having been created with deeper thought, holding more credibility, so representative of someone willing to take the time to communicate more succinctly whether to entertain, educate, or convince. The cruelest fate would be to lose the ability to select my words and hold them dear enough to record them on paper.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? First, I make sure I am rested. A fresh brain is more conducive to writing. In addition, I exercise 5-6 days a week, to keep the blood pumping and to just feel stronger. After that…’s just a matter of putting my butt in the chair and not getting up until the word count is logged in. Having been responsible for a weekly editorial for twenty years, I have learned to sit and write and meet deadline. Are some days more sluggish than others? Of course, but I still don’t rise until the job is completed. As a result, I’ve instilled a habit of sitting down and writing, just that simple. I also have a daily goal of a thousand words, and I feel like I haven’t brushed my teeth or had my coffee if I haven’t finished my words. The joyous days are when I crank out more, but there’s something mighty fulfilling of hitting that magic number of 1000. It took a few years to nail down the habit, but it is a habit like all others. You set the goal, tick off the calendar on the days you win, and keep on keeping on. Before long, you can’t stand to end a day not doing it.

What is your favorite time to write? I can write at any time, day or night. It’s the word count habit that pushes me. However, I must say that late morning is my favorite time. After breakfast, after a workout, after a shower. Then on goes the background music (slow piano jazz these days), sometimes with a Woodwick candle (the ones that make the flickering noise like a fireplace), and I go to town and work. However, when I’m under pressure for multiple deadlines, I do whatever needs doing whenever. My preference, though, is to be done for the day by eight PM. That’s when I turn off the writing and pick up a book, do crosswords, watch mysteries with my husband. Go to soccer games and visit family. Not that I write nonstop. I have this little bit of ADHD style about me, meaning I have to get up every 45 minutes or so. I go outside, I do laundry, I garden, or I do something that incorporates a different side of my brain, giving the creativity a breather, also stretching my legs. While writing, I literally keep a spreadsheet, particularly with a novel, and note the word count. I find it rewarding after having spent a prior occupation in more technical and bureaucratic work. Work management. I love seeing accomplishment.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Write daily. Nothing instills a habit or greases the wheels for writing than doing it daily. It becomes easier, faster, more satisfying, in my opinion. I’ve had folks try to argue against the logic over the years, but this is the absolute best advice I’ve ever received and continue to practice.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The reach. We can reach as many or as few people as we decide to. True, sometimes marketing seems to dominate, but in my world, I’ve found a sweet spot balance of marketing and writing. I have to write first and foremost. I have a lovely publisher who loves my balance and assists in distribution of my work. I not have a lovely following of readers, a handful of regular bookstores, and a solid number of libraries carrying my work. Could I become bigger? Maybe if I wrote less, but I prefer my productivity balance that’s been developed over the last ten years. I guess the best thing about being a writer these days is we have so many choices, and can make so many decisions for ourselves.

C. Hope Clark’s Edisto Bullet is out now with Bell Bridge Books.