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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Lucy Jane Bledsoe

author Lucy Jane Bledsoe and an image of her book Tell the Rest

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Stories are what connect people, whether they are one-sentence twitter stories or full novels. I often think of people sitting around campfires thousands of years ago, sharing their stories, and like to think of writing novels being the same kind of community activity. For me, being in the ecosystem of writers, agents, editors, publishers, bookstores, and readers is exciting and vital to the flow of ideas in our culture. Plus, human imagination is an extraordinary thing, one that fuels amazing ideas in both science and art, and I love having the opportunity to live in my imagination for parts of every day.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? First, my remedy is to refuse to believe in writers’ block! If I can’t write, it means I’m stuck, haven’t yet figured out what I need to figure out — about a character or plot or setting, anything — and I just need to keep working. How do I keep working? Nothing helps me get ideas for my work better than walking or biking or kayaking, moving in the outdoors, preferably in beautiful places. Finally, I do subscribe to the idea that showing up at the same time and place every day sets my creative clock and works well for getting past stuck places. Above all, don’t wait for inspiration! Write, and then write some more, read a lot, and figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Believe in your story rather than in your silence.

What is your favorite time to write? Early morning. Ideally, I would roll straight out of bed and into my writing room. Usually I have things I have to do, like feed my cats and do my stretches, but the less interference and static from my daily stuff, the better. By late afternoon my mind is usually buzzing with all kinds of outside input.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? The wonderful author Ernest Gaines once said at a reading I attended that there are six steps to becoming a great writer. They are: read, read, read, write, write, write. I believe that. Read widely and deeply. Rewriting is key to making a piece work well.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? What excites me most about being a writer in today’s crazy times is being a part of the conversation, and hopefully telling stories that break silences and help readers navigate their own thoughts and feelings. I love when readers write me to tell me that my book meant a lot to them in some vital and specific ways. I also think that novels are a slow activity. They take so long to write and take a long time to read (compared to, say, watching a movie or browsing social media). So I like being a part of a community that is engaging in deeper-than-usual thought.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s Tell the Rest is out today with ‎Akashic Books.