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Member Spotlight: Margaret Ann Spence

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I write to know what I think. It is also a kind of hunger for me. Have to write every day or I don’t feel right. Writing created civilization. It provides a record of how we lived, and is a means of communication. Writing, unique to the arts, allows us direct communication to the thoughts of others. It therefore enhances our shared humanity.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Exercise. Take a break and stretch. That’s one universal cure. The other method applies when you’re well into your story, and stuck. That is to use Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” idea. Keep a pen and notebook by your bed. First thing in the morning, write in it in longhand whatever comes to mind. This seems to free the brain from the constraints of the “must dos” for the coming day, while still allowing access to a dreamy state.

What is your favorite time to write? I am definitely a morning person.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Just keep at it. This is a long game. You can’t get good at writing without practice. I’d also say that older writers have an advantage because their wealth of experience can be sifted and analyzed with the benefit of looking back from a distance. So don’t be impatient with yourself. Just write and write.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I started work as a publisher’s reader. That showed me that publishing was like an inverted funnel, only the best made it to the top. But it is also true that this method of selection eliminated many who could be nurtured and would have eventually succeeded. Today, writers have many more choices, agent or no agent, big publisher or small publisher, self publishing.

Margaret Ann Spence’s Joyous Lies is out now with The Wild Rose Press.