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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Michael Solomowitz

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is a part of my makeup. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, beginning with journals, poetry, and my own lyrics to songs. In high school, I began writing short stories and received encouragement from my English teachers. Books opened me up to new worlds and while I wasn’t much of a reader when I was young, by the time I got to college, I was hooked. I went from writing for the college newspaper to writing scripts for cable-TV. In Hollywood, I wrote for Warner Bros. for awhile, then became a freelance sports journalist. I even worked as a copywriter for a time to support myself. I’ve had several plays produced. And my debut novel was just released and I’m working on the next one. I guess you can say I’ve run the gamut on writing careers. And I’ve loved the ride. Writing a book is my final frontier and I’m thrilled to add author to my titles. Writing is a wonderful way to express yourself and connect with others in whatever medium compels you. I love standing in the back of a theater and see the reaction of the audience on certain lines — did they laugh at the punchline? Were they touched by the character? I’m looking forward to hearing reactions to my book and to see if the story moved them the way I intended.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I think when you reach a certain age and realize you can’t stop the clock, there is no time to waste on writer’s block. (I know that sounds like a bumper sticker.) I’ve been lucky in terms of that so I really don’t have any real cure or remedy other than what Nike used to say in their ads — Just do it. The first novel I wrote took me six years to finish. I only wrote for two of them and took a four-year hiatus in between so it’s not like I haven’t experienced writer’s block. Since then, I just tell myself that I only have so much time left on this planet and there are no “time outs” so if you want to get the books out there and the plays on stage, you need to write everyday and stay focused. I think writer’s block is caused by fear, whether it’s a fear of failing or of success, or a fear of digging inside and dealing with some sort of pain you’re not ready to face. But I also believe that writing through it is the remedy, a way to express the pain or the fear. At least, that’s how I’ve dealt with it — by getting in touch with whatever seems to be blocking me and using that emotion in the work. Like getting back on the horse.

What is your favorite time to write? Early in the morning works best for me, whatever time I get up. Sometimes it’s still dark out and the house is quiet and there I am with my laptop picking up where I left off. It’s a nice feeling to wake up to.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? It’s more of a Lewis Carroll quote we’ve heard before and not limited to writing advice but to life in general — “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” I guess you’re never going to know for sure how something is going to turn out unless you give it a try. That’s the one I always have sitting on my shoulder, whispered in my ear, and it’s served me well. Number two on the list is read more books. I’ve learned a great deal from Hemingway and Steinbeck, Malamud, Mitchell, and Brown. Books are a free writing class from the masters with benefits so read all of them. They’ll help make you a better writer and a more rounded person.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? There are more avenues to getting your writing published, mainly in online forums, and, of course, for those who can’t break through into traditional publishing (or choose not to), there’s self-publishing. I think there are more publishers out there too looking at manuscripts and I feel fortunate to have found one to publish my debut novel.

Michael Solomowitz’s Behind the Fourth Wall is out now with Black Rose Writing.