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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Dónal Mac Erlaine

author Donal Mac Erlaine and an image of his book Kinesis

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? We are a species who are switched on by ideas. Ideas, stories, interpretations of events and ever-deepening levels of understanding make the world interesting to us. It’s also how we make sense of the world that we live in. Although there are some cultures who are not literate, writing is a very human thing, I believe. All people tell stories and empathise with their characters. Through writing (and reading) we understand our own selves better and can interact with the world around us more wisely.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Write about something very specific. Go for a brisk walk or a run. Do nothing for 10–15 minutes. Look at the sky.

What is your favorite time to write? Morning and evening (after the afternoon slump!)

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? ‘The first draft of anything is shit’. This is attributed to Hemingway and I found it very useful to allow me to let go of my expectations. I write it badly first, that way it’s been put down at least. I then work on making it better. I find that writing can give the false impression that people write perfectly. As a medium, it is extremely simple so it’s easy to believe that the writer simply writes it the way we read it. We don’t see all the revisions and notes and struggles to get the words straight and clear; just as we don’t witness the countless hours of practice that a virtuoso musician has spent honing their skills.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I think that people are very engaged in ideas today, particularly around science, technology and politics. There is a lot of invested energy there; albeit often divisive. But it’s a rich terrain to be involved in.

Dónal Mac Erlaine’s Kinesis: Exploring Humans in Motion is out now with Toplight Books.