What makes writers tick – Angela France answers IS&T’s questions

In this series Ink Sweat & Tears talks to practicing writers about their process.

Nine Questions

In this new series Ink Sweat & Tears talks to practicing writers about their process and craft.

1. Where do you write? (do you have an office, room, bus or train journey that you find yourself and your writing? etc)

Mostly on the sofa in my living room.

2. How do you write? (into a notebook or straight onto a computer? etc)

These days, straight onto a laptop; I used to write in a notebook – always in pencil, never pen – but it has changed over time. That is only the getting it on the page though; I invariably write early drafts in my head, while I am walking the dog, or driving, or doing household stuff.

3. Roughly how much time do you spend each week on creative writing related activities? (writing, editing, correspondence & submissions – give a daily average if possible)

Around 20-25 hours a week. My ‘day job’ sometimes means working in the evening, but if I’m not at work or out then I spend evenings on writing related activities.

4. What time of day do you usually write?

Evenings – see question 3.

5. Do you set yourself a daily target for writing?

Because of working full-time in a job that can be unpredictable, it is more usually a weekly target but occasionally I’ll decide I have to get a poem finished on a particular day. I wouldn’t be happy if I’d gone a week without writing something whether it’s poetry, essay, review or whatever.

6. What does it feel like to write?

That depends on how it’s going. Most of the time it is hard, frustrating, uncertain, but the only thing I want to be doing. Then very occasionally, not often enough, there are those times where it just takes off – surroundings and distractions fade away, the language comes alive and a different part of oneself takes over – then it’s like soaring; exciting and a bit scary.

7. Are there any stimuli that will usually trigger you into writing?

Reading poetry, going to readings, reading about poetry and the making of it – but also walking (I walk very early every morning and it is essential for me), having the time and mental space to watch life.

8. Do you work in silence or have background noise? If you do have sounds, what are you listening to now?

I tend to have either TV or radio on as aural ‘wallpaper’. Once I get going, I couldn’t tell you what was on. It needs to be something that is bland enough not to catch at my interest. Right now, it is CSI.

9. What are you working on now?

I am two years into a part-time PhD, so working on the poems for the PhD collection but also reading a lot and thinking about process and thinking about the shape of the commentary. I am trying to move in a new direction and challenge myself to write out of my comfort areas so I’m finding it slow. It is too easy to slip back into writing poems I know I can produce without too much effort (and will probably get into journals) but which leave me feeling dissatisfied.

*Angela France
writes poems, reads poems, studies poems, and runs a poetry reading
series but the day job sometimes gets in the way. Her collection, Occupation is available from Ragged Raven Press. She is an editor for the ezine The Shit Creek Review and features editor of Iota.  Her new pamphlet
Lessons in Mallemaroking is due out from Nine Arches Press in early July.

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