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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Kirsten Mickelwait

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is how we discover, shape, and share our ideas with the world. It advances the level of discourse and makes us see things in new ways. For me personally, it’s the way I engage with life. My words are an expression of my identity. I don’t think I could have survived the COVID lockdown in one piece without having a daily writing practice.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Most successful writers deny the existence of “writer’s block.” Sure, there are times when the words don’t come easily, but there’s always researching, reading, journaling, so many other things to do that can move you out of the ditch. As Henry Miller said, “When you can’t create, you can work.”

What is your favorite time to write? First thing in the morning. Which rarely happens, because I’m one of those perfectionists who has to do everything else first: make the bed, exercise, answer emails, etc. But I love the idea that I’m starting the writing early and have the whole day ahead of me.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow Also “Write shitty first drafts.” Anne Lamott

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Today the general population seems to be less literate than ever before. People write in abbreviations and have no obvious knowledge of basic grammar. They skim rather than read deeply. Within that populace, however, the tribe of passionate writers seems to be growing. I dream of a time when we reach a critical mass and people learn to love old-school reading and writing again. I’m lobbying for the return of the handwritten letter!

Kirsten Mickelwait’s The Ghost Marriage is out now with She Writes Press.