Research Writer Interview With Regina
PhD Degree And Writing Inspiration
Hi Regina. What are you doing right now?
Looking at a pile of student papers and realizing that this is the last batch I will have to correct in the foreseeable future.
When did you start writing?
When I started talking. Mom would take dictation.
An unbearable urge to share my many observations.
You stopped writing for many years. Why?
Your guess is as good as mine. I felt overwhelmed by teaching demands and imaginatively dead.
I was forced to produce an academic paper by my Institution. I discovered that I loved writing, and pretty much hated them. I mean, not hate exactly-just that I was never going to be a good plodding academic workhorse.
Will you go back to teaching?
Not if I want to keep writing. Many writers opt for academe as a way to keep food on the table, and then find themselves unable to be really good at either one. After teaching, I always felt too drained to do much but watch TV-and here in Bosnia the TV is really lousy. So I said to myself, self, what are you? The answer is, a writer. Maybe I'm not a great one, but good enough to make some kind of living doing it.
So you are alone in the house all day writing?
No, my husband is around quite a lot. I have many friends. And, this is exciting, I am starting a writing group here in Sarajevo, and we will publish ourselves on a webpage. I actually feel lonely when I teach. It is not kosher to get too chummy with the students, and the majority of my fellow academics just complain all the time. The greatest source of writing inspiration comes from interacting with people.
Don't you find that writing and editing for money saps the energy you could spend on your own projects?
The reverse is true. I spend eight hours a day at my computer, four hours for money and four hours for me. Quite honestly, I could spend twelve, but I recognize the need for physical exercise if I am to avoid the physical ailment common to professional writers.
It involves going to the pharmacy and getting a tube of Preparation H. Since my husband and I are the only foreigners in our neighborhood, we are enough of a target for neighborhood gossip as it is.
What are you working on now?
A novel about Australian female convicts. There is LOTS of research, which I am finding fascinating.
But you are not Australian, and I assume you have never done time. Aren't people supposed to write about what they know?
People should write about what intrigues the. I could write about growing up as a shy awkward kid in Modesto California, but I would bore myself. Writing fiction, unless you are very lucky, is never going to be a paying business, so why not please yourself? There are certain universalities to the human experience-struggle, love, mortality, etc. As far as that goes, I am willing to bet Stephen King writes outside of his own experience quite a lot. At least I hope so.
What advice to you have for people who want to be self-employed and write?
Have infinite egotism and infinite self doubt. Believe you have something to say and work endlessly on saying it better. The chief requirement for a writer is curiosity, and one of the things I like about this work is the opportunity to find out about a lot of things I would not have considered.
Random writer: /writer-michelle