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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: James Stejskal

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I like to tell stories and share my experiences about the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, and the things I’ve seen. These are tales that I’ve been developing for many years. Recording the stories on paper–essentially your view of the world–is important because someone down the road can pick it up and see an event through someone else’s eyes that might be different from the way they experienced it or it might be entirely new to them.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
1) Take some time off.
2) Read other people’s stories without thinking of yours.
3) Write a different chapter.
4) Start another story altogether.
5) Tell the story to a friend and ask where it should go.
6) Write about a new person, place, or thing even if you have no idea where it will fit (100 words or more).

What is your favorite time to write? I like to write in the morning before the world gets busy and I get distracted. Some nights, I plan what I am going to write as I try to sleep and sometimes the plot comes to me while I dream. When I’m not behind a computer (and can afford to be distracted) I work on the story in my head. I rewrite and modify my work even before I can get to the keyboard.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Be flexible. Follow the story where it takes you–don’t try to lead it.

I would to think I have a plan for writing but I don’t. I write like I’m building a house without blueprints. I know where it will be built and generally how it will look, but what makes it up can shift quite a bit in the telling or there might be some additions made.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The feeling I get when I read something I’ve written and it makes me smile or evokes memories–good or bad–of the past.

My writing is what I lived. I never knew what would happen next. I hope I can surprise the reader in the same way.

James Stejskal’s A Question of Time is out Nov 2 with Casemate.