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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Rashaun J. Allen

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
Writing has given me the space to give voice and perspective to Black people whose stories have been overlooked and underwritten. Still, writing is an important medium for the world because it allows people from different backgrounds, religions, identities, sexual orientations and generations to converse with each other on the page. It is a joy to discover writers and characters who are experiencing life similar to me and life in ways I could not imagine prior to reading about it.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
Funny story. For a long time, I had a habit of writing a page and then tearing it up. Not exactly traditional writer’s block but I wasn’t writing nonetheless. Then I had an idea to buy a pricey journal to make me think twice about tearing up the pages and like mage I was able to be productive. Tearing up pages became free writing a few pages most days of the week. Those free writing pages often became pieces to something I am working on.

What is your favorite time to write?
My favorite time to write is in the morning. Or after a run. Or after reading a good book. No, listening to audiobooks. Okay, okay. My favorite time to write above all is when my only time constraint is the sand in my hourglass and not any other responsibilities.

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 to read the author’s acknowledgment section in a book. Why? That’s where the author thanks their agent, shout outs a residency or fellowship they won and sometimes leave words of encouragement to readers who are also writers. All that information can be used. If you write in the same genre, see if the agent is taking queries. If you’re looking for a place to focus on writing and build community with other writers look into applying to a residency or fellowship. And along with everything else, hold on to the words of encouragement to keep writing until your pen runs out of ink and all your stories are on paper.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
To be able to have readers respond in real-time about your words via social media, on my personal blog or during a meet-n-greet virtual or in-person on how your words moved them. It is a feeling that is hard to put into words. But it’s a feeling I get that pours into me and further flames the fire to continue to creatively write despite the ups and downs that come with being a writer.

Rashaun J. Allen’s The Blues Cry for a Revolution is out now with Royal Blue Publishing.