All Member Spotlights
Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Eli Greenbaum

author Eli Greenbaum and an image of his book Hell, No, We Didn't Go

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is an important medium because it is a way to exchange ideas, expose people to new concepts, other cultures, and ways of thinking. Writing offers enlightenment. For me, writing allows me to get my thoughts, ideas, and opinions out there. I’ve written ad copy, legal briefs, short stories, nonfiction books and in each case I’ve viewed those as opportunities to unleash my imagination, make persuasive arguments, and give the reader some fresh food for thought. Writing is a liberating act. That’s why it’s important to me.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I think writer’s block is a sign that you’re just not ready to write. I write when I feel like writing. If the mood isn’t right or the flow I like isn’t happening, or the quality of the writing isn’t up to my own standards, I stop. Sometimes I’ll play games online or visit a fantasy baseball website (I’m addicted to the game). Maybe take a walk, visit the refrigerator — anything to just get away from writing. It doesn’t take long for me to get back into the writing groove. Then I start again when the mood hits. Fortunately, the only deadlines I have these days are self-imposed.

What is your favorite time to write? Anytime can a good time to write. The only bad time is when I’m tired. That’s when I write poorly.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Elmore Leonard had ten rules for good writing. I’ve taken them to heart. In my opinion, the two most important rules he offers are: leave out the parts that readers tend to skip, and if it sounds like writing, rewrite it. I would add another rule I got from another writer when I was just starting out: if you can write it in fifteen words, find a way to write it in ten.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The obvious response is that there are so many more ways of getting your writing out there, more opportunities than ever. The internet offers various sites, social media platforms, and publications that are looking for content. But for me, it’s the mechanical part of writing that’s exciting. I have illegible handwriting (can’t read my own words) and I’m a clumsy typist. Writing on a computer keyboard allows me to correct errors and move text around quickly and easily. I can focus on writing and not on whether I have sufficient quantities of Wite-Out.

Eli Greenbaum’s Hell, No, We Didn’t Go!: Firsthand Accounts of Vietnam War Protest and Resistance is out May 11 with University Press of Kansas.