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Member Spotlight: Lynn Ames

author Lynn Ames and an image of her book Out at the Plate

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? For twenty years, over sixteen novels and one biography, I’ve made it my mission to use my voice and my writing to lift up lives and stories that have been too long ignored, undervalued, and/or banned. I tell stories of strong women whose contributions and lives have been erased from history. I give voice to those who cannot use their own voices. As a ten-year-old child, I wrote my first “novel” as a means to survive that which no child should have to survive. As an adult, it took until I was well into my twenties to find myself represented in the pages of a book–to find out that I wasn’t alone and that there was nothing wrong with me. I want to make sure others can see themselves clearly and with compassion and joy in the pages of my books. My latest book, Out at the Plate: The Dot Wilkinson Story, is the biography of the greatest catcher ever to play the game of women’s softball. It’s the tale of a forgotten era in women’s history and sports and one extraordinary woman’s place at the center of it all. So much of this history would’ve been lost to time without Dot’s willingness to share it. We must bear witness to the stories and the truth and share them with the world. I hope my work accomplishes that. Everyone should see themselves reflected in the pages of a book.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Honestly, I’ve never experienced writer’s block, so it’s hard to espouse remedies. My best advice is to sit down and write whatever comes into your head without judgment or censorship. Keep writing until nothing more comes. Then take a deep breath and realize that the words are always there, inside your heart, just waiting for you to give them voice.

What is your favorite time to write? I tend to exercise and take care of the “business” side of writing in the mornings. I usually sit down to write in the early afternoon and continue writing until dinnertime, around 7:30 p.m. The closer I get to deadline, the more productive I become, and the longer I sit with my butt in the chair, writing away.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? The best piece of writing advice I ever received was this: There is no right or wrong way to write–there is your way. Everyone is different, and difference is a good thing. The second-best piece of advice was: Show, don’t tell.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? This is such an important time to be a writer/author. It is a time to tell the truth with unflinching honesty. At such a pivotal moment in our world and our society, it is more important than ever to raise our voices, to teach, to invite critical thinking, and to amplify the stories that shine light and spread love.

Lynn Ames’s Out at the Plate: The Dot Wilkinson Story is out now with Chicago Review Press.