1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was in elementary school, but never found the focus to pursue it until a few years ago. My mother was an English teacher and my dad wrote poetry, so I suppose I could only fight it off for so long.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Grow a thick skin and just keep writing. I’ve received a few brutal rejection letters, but when you get past the harshness there’s usually something constructive you can take from it.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
If you aren’t using Duotrope to find a potential audience, I think you are really missing out on a lot of opportunities for publication. It may lead you to some great webzines and sites you didn’t know exist and you really love. Like Theme of Absence!
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I’m all over the map. I love Sedaris, Vonnegut, King, and Martin, but I also love some less reputable names that are more of a guilty pleasure. And lately I’m really into reading other short story stuff at the places I’m submitting. Lots of cool new ideas from up-and-comers.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can take 5-10 minutes and jot down ideas, or blast out a paragraph or two. Throughout the course of a week, I’ve usually put together a couple of pages to build on. Outside of that, hopefully you have an understanding significant other like I do. She lets me go wild when I get the itch.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I write on the fly. I’ve never had the patience to outline my ideas. I’d rather just go with the moment. But that definitely isn’t an endorsement of that method, it’s just the only way I can do any writing right now.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
A shrug and a sigh, then I get back to it.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Hone my craft and focus my efforts. Honestly I’ve been half-assing it a little bit up until this point, and it shows in my stack of rejection letters. I don’t want to be the guy that makes editors cringe when they see my e-mail address. I want them to be super pumped I’m sending them more work.
9. For the next five years?
More of the same. Keep fighting the good fight until I get that super big idea I can really sink my teeth into.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
If you want to check out some other writing / music / film stuff I’ve done or participated in, you could go to stephenstories.com. 99% of the stuff on there is free. I’m on twitter @stephenstories. I don’t tweet a lot, so it won’t blow your feed up. And when I do it’s usually not super irritating. So there’s that.