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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Michelle J. Edwards

author Michelle Edwards and her book Me and the Boss

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I suppose the truth is that writing is the way I process what happens around me. I love crafting stories about the small and big victories and defeats of everyday life. I love imagining characters and playing with words. I think books are and will always remain a glorious gift to the world.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Over the decades of my creative life, I have developed many ways of pushing myself past a block, most of them have to do with a kind of studio play. One of my current favorites is to cut newsprint into 5.5 by 6.5 sheets. Using a paint brush with blue gouache in an old Altoids tin, I will make marks, jot down a sentence, copy a quote, and sometimes fill the page with words. I am generous with paper, allowing each something to have its own place. Soon I find I am thinking story parts, and painting words I will later use. Having a pile of something that comes from my creative core always gets me going.

What is your favorite time to write? I am not sure I really have a favorite time to write. I love carrying a notebook with me wherever I go. I often get ideas in the woods and stop to write there. I love feeling snug in my studio, writing, during the bitterest days of our fierce Iowa winters. Autumn, with its spectacular golden light is generally a really rich writing time for me. Not so much much in summer, when the light is often glaring, and I have a harder time settling down.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? I collect inspirational quotes and write them down in notebooks and on index cards. I keep them in card files and post them on the walls of my studio. I think of them as my support team. Here’s one from Corita Kent that I have been finding very helpful lately: “Find the place you trust, and then, start trusting it for a while.”

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? There are so many ways to be a writer now and that is very liberating. It’s not just about your next book or article anymore. The abundance of outlets, venues, and publishers allows me to spread out and explore other kinds of writing. I write for children and I write for adults. I paint and draw and illustrate. In addition, I really love being able to communicate through social media with other writers and my readers.

Michelle J. Edwards’s Me and the Boss: A Story About Mending and Love, illustrated by April Harrison, is out now with Anne Schwartz Books.