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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Sylvia Whitman

author Sylvia Whitman and an image of her book If You Meet the Devil Don't Shake Hands

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I write because when I don’t, I feel diminished. Prose and poetry are the closest approximation of what it feels like to be a human being.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? 1) Read an obituary. I’m only half kidding. Obituaries not only remind you of your ultimate deadline, but they contain amazing stories with a whole lifetime as an arc. 2) Take a walk. Or a shower. Do something far from social media that lets your thoughts wander. 3) Switch projects. Although half-finished manuscripts can pile up, they also allow you to feel productive rather than stalled.

What is your favorite time to write? Any time I can fit it in.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Be a good literary citizen. Attend readings. Write generous reviews. Celebrate other writers’ successes. Your turn will come–or not–but all boats rise when writers form communities.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Publishing is welcoming more diverse voices.

Sylvia Whitman’s If You Meet the Devil, Don’t Shake Hands is out tomorrow with Fitzroy Books.