All Member Spotlights
Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: James Brown

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
I like to delude myself into believing that writing is one of the few things I can do halfway well. And I hope my writing is important to others, particularly my three memoirs, Apology to the Young Addict, The Los Angeles Diaries, and This River, which all deal with addiction, alcoholism, madness, and most importantly recovery.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
When I’m frustrated with where my writing is going, or not going, I’ll toss out what I’ve written and take another shot at it, only from a different angle. And I toss out much more writing than I keep. I believe we discover what it is that we want to say in the process of attempting to say it, and that always means a lot of revision for me. The best cure for writer’s block, for me, is not to give up but instead try to write something different than what I initially set out to do. It’s really all about angles and rewriting for me rather than surmounting a straight-up mental block.

What is your favorite time to write?
I like to write in the morning before all the day’s chores, frustrations, worries and concerns start to take over my thoughts and responsibilities.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
I’m old school on this matter. I believe that the writers who are most successful are not so much the most talented as they are hard workers. It’s seven-tenths hard work, two-tenths talent, and at least one tenth good old fashioned luck.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
At one time, if you couldn’t crack New York, you had to self-publish, and there was a stigma associated with self-publishing. That stigma is gone, or deeply faded, and there is also huge opportunities in indie presses that we didn’t used to have. In the past, voices that couldn’t for whatever reasons find a home, now can and do. That’s exciting for those of us who spend countless hours alone in a room writing our stories, hoping our work will be realized through publication, but no longer having to depend solely on the bigger New York houses to make that happen.

James Brown’s Apology to the Young Addict is out now with Counterpoint Press.