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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Susan Willson

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is important to me personally in terms of being self-expressed. I also think we can put sometimes difficult material ‘out there’ on paper and it enables us to look at it in a more objective way – without making things personal, which can put blinders on us. We can tell stories of lives and what it is to be human, that we would not otherwise encounter in the normal course of our lives, and thereby increase our knowledge and compassion.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I usually go one of two ways…either writing down everything i hear or think in my head on paper – like with Proprioceptive Writing – or just step away from it altogether for a while…let the breeze blow through my head. There is always something to say. Our ideas about how it should be just get in our way.

What is your favorite time to write? Whenever it is ‘on’ me. I am not one of those writers who has had success with writing consistently, 30 minutes a day or a certain number of words. I tend to think about things a lot and then at some point, I just sit down and channel it. It all comes out.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? In the beginning, just “barf it all up.” You can clean it up later. This made sense to me, and so I go with it. I think we can sometimes second guess ourselves to death or try to ‘keep our secrets’ or present a certain image. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that pretty much all of our secrets are the same secret. We are human, and there is much that comes with the human condition. The more deeply we are willing to share, the more we will connect with others and be of use to each other.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? That I finally got going on it in my old age 🙂 I have written since the 9th grade, but became a midwife, which is a profession that carries a heavy burden of time and deep engagement with clients. While I kept a journal through much of that time, I didn’t have time to write. I moved straight from that into parenting. I know a lot of women who have carved out time to write while parenting, but I was never able to do it. I am happy to have the time and space to do it now. Writing in today’s age (as opposed to my own), I suppose that there are many more ways to get your writing out to people, but as we have seen, authors are often taken advantage of by digital platforms, so that is both a plus and a minus.

Susan Willson’s Making Sense of Menopause is out now with ‎Sounds True Publishing.