10 Questions with Russ Bickerstaff
Russ Bickerstaff is a theatre critic and aspiring author living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing in one way or another since grade school in the ’80s. I’d first been published in a small press ‘zine called The Age of Super-Heroes in the early ’90s. I was in high school at the time.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Just…write. It’s way too easy to consider yourself a writer without actually writing much of anything. You want to be a writer then you should write. And show your writing to anyone who might be interested.
Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
I can’t recommend voice-to-text applications enough. It’s a lot easier to work on a first draft by talking your way through it. My first writing engine was a manual typewriter. Now I do a lot of my writing with Dragon for iPhone. (It’s a free voice to text application.)
What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I like fiction that toys with reality. Philip K. Dick, Michael Moorcock, Jeanette Winterson, Jorge Luis Borges among others.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Voice to text works brilliantly for this. I’ve got an armband and a headset for my phone. Using voice to text I can play with my three-year-old daughter or wait for the bus and write at the same time. When all you need to do to write is talk, you find all kinds of time to do so.
Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
The outline is usually in my head when I’m working. If it’s written down, I feel too much of a need to be true to what I’ve written down. It can be stifling to work with any kind of a physically-written outline. There’s too much interference on the creativity.
How do you deal with rejections?
I log them and move on. The volume I’m working at makes it impossible for me to take anything personally. I’m submitting a different short story to a different publication every day. By the time I’ve gotten a rejection, chances are that I’ve already forgotten about what the story was about in the first place.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I want to kick out something like another 300+ flash fictions/short stories of 1,000-2,000 words each. And a novella in November.
For the next five years?
I’m hoping to have a working library of 1,000+ short stories and 1-4 novellas written. It sounds crazy, but I’ve finished 200+ flash fiction pieces in the last 6 months, so if I continue as I have been . . . I just might get there.
Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
The central hub for my published short fiction can be found at my Internarrational Where Port. It can be found at: http://ru3935.wix.com/russ-bickerstaff