10 Questions with Isaac Birchmier
Isaac Birchmier is an aspiring writer from Helena, Montana. He is a recent high school graduate who will soon be pursuing an English degree at the University of Montana. He has been published on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog and is whittling away the hours before college by writing as many stories as humanly possible.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I have been writing now seriously for two years. Sure, I wrote little fun stories about superheroes when I was a kid, but it wasn’t really until my junior year of high school that I actually buckled down and started developing myself a routine. I have had the dream of being a writer in the back of my mind ever since I learned how to read at age three. But it wasn’t until around thirteen years later when I felt the urge to go to my public library and the first book I grabbed ended up being Finnegans Wake that I decided I needed to make my dream a reality.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Don’t be afraid that you aren’t good enough. It takes a lot of bad writing before you can make anything good. As Bill Cosby once said, “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” You have to decide that the goal of being a writer transcends your goal of being a good writer, as much as that may suck to hear. And, on that note, you have to start directly from the bottom. I read somewhere that you’re more likely to get accepted into Harvard than get a short story published in The New Yorker, and I think that’s a sobering piece of information that many aspiring writers need to hear.
Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
My only recommendation is that you learn how to find inspiration in whatever you see. There’s no specific website or resource that can compile what you find inspirational. You should be able to look at everything, from the works of Kafka to the narcissism of a modern rapper, and find the inspiration that drives you.
What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
My favorite type of fiction is experimental/avant-garde literature. I feel that any good writer is always innovative in their work, and it’s the writers who follow the guidelines and are afraid to leave their own comfort zones who are most quickly forgotten. My favorite authors are Joyce, Pynchon, Shakespeare, Camus, and Wallace.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
You have to place writing on the same plane as eating, breathing, and sleeping. You just have to do it. Under no circumstance can you not write. This is a life or death situation here, kid. If you can’t get those 2,000 words/two pages for the day—no matter how bad they end up being—you’ll never be able to forgive yourself.
Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
Write on the fly. If I outline a story I’m more likely to get bored with it and end up working on a husk of an idea. If you write the words as they come into your mind the story will develop organically and will be so much more interesting and beautiful in its end product. Of course, having a small idea in the back of your head before you start a big project is always helpful.
How do you deal with rejections?
I take a nice long walk and I ponder a lot of big questions and I get some fresh air in my lungs and I realize that I’m actually very tired and I go to sleep. Then when I wake up I’m over it and I decide I’m going to write a new story that is bigger and better: a story that won’t get rejected. Rinse and repeat. To be a writer you have to believe in the inherent value of what you do. Your belief in yourself has to border lunacy.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
My goal for the next year is to get my first novel published. The manuscript is almost finished and it is currently going under the title The Quintessence of Dust. I expect it to be finished and sent off to a local publisher before you get the chance to read this.
For the next five years?
To be able to make authorship a viable career option.
Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
If you want to read some of my writings for free go to my website www.isaacbirchmier.com, and if you want to get primed on the updates of my writings right when they happen follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/Isaacbirchmier. Keep writing, keep reading, and never give up on your dreams.