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Member Spotlight: Kim Coleman Foote

author Kim Coleman Foote and her book Coleman Hill

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is a form of storytelling, which has been vital to human culture for eons. And it serves the same purpose it probably did at its nascence: educating, entertaining, or a combination of each. I primarily write fiction, which I feel is vital even for those people who say they dislike it because it’s not “real.” Fictional characters and stories have felt real enough to stir emotions and change minds, even to the extent of putting their creators’ lives at risk. I’m hoping my writing can contribute to changing people’s perspectives for the better, inviting them to step into the shoes of marginalized black characters, acknowledge their shared humanity, and empathize with them.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I’m usually blocked because I can’t figure out something or because I’m dreading how long it might take to figure out that something! It’s helped to eliminate distractions, the biggest of which is my internet connection. It’s so much easier to check email and social media, or fall down the research rabbit hole of investigating the random ideas (sometimes book-related) that pop into my head. Writing in the company of others can be helpful, too, for the accountability. Also, I have to keep reminding myself that “writing” isn’t always the physical act of writing—sometimes it’s getting away from my desk/computer/notebook to brainstorm.

What is your favorite time to write? It used to be late evenings, but I think that was due to the necessity of carving writing time around a 9-5 work schedule. Really, my favorite time is when the muse strikes and the words are flowing, which can happen at any time during the day—if only I can get myself started…

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? For those writers who are looking to publish: “If you’re not getting rejected enough, you’re not applying enough.” For me, it’s eased the sting of rejection over the years and has encouraged me to apply for even more opportunities, which has ultimately increased my chance for success.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The technological advances that allow writers connect both with more readers and fellow writers. While I much prefer engaging with people in person, I find it fascinating that I can share ideas with and learn about folks around the globe without always having to consider travel expenses and logistics.

Kim Coleman Foote’s Coleman Hill is out now with SJP Lit.