Most writers have day jobs and frequently have difficulty finding writing time. How do you manage it?
With a busy schedule, I think it’s easy to convince yourself not to write, especially if you’ve had a bad or hectic day. I look at writing as a time to escape and work on projects I care about. Writing works best when it’s habitual, so I try and set aside time every day to write without pressure. I don’t even think of what a piece might “be”, I just go for it. If I can only devote twenty minutes of my day to write, then that’s still something. I try not to be too hard on myself. Some days, I can barely write a word. Other days, I write entire stories in one sitting. The acceptance that you can always return to work and change it is important. It cultivates a healthy relationship between the writer and writing.
How long have you been writing and do you perceive your writing to have evolved in any particular way that you would like to share?
I’ve always had a crazy imagination and often pretended as a young girl, no matter where I was, to be somewhere – anywhere – else. I preferred fictional characters to actual people. I read too much and inhaled movies. It was always about story for me, the journeys and the characters. I never felt rooted in reality; I wanted to get lost. So, I filled notebooks with ideas and monopolized the shared, family computer to work on my “novels”.
As an adult, I’ve been actively writing and getting work published for the last five years. Throughout this time my work has definitely evolved. I used to be afraid to go for the jugular or get “too dark”; I used to be afraid of exposure, of being too critical of society, of culture. Now, my writing tends to be rooted in that scrutiny, in trying to understand through storytelling what hurts us and hurts the world. I’d like to think, though, that there is always room for a bit of hope.
What appealed to you about being a part of the Pact Press ‘Speak and Speak Again’ anthology?
We are at a pivotal time in America and in the world. As a viciously opinionated woman, I believe in the power of speaking up and standing up. There are so many issues in our society, and they are issues that many people choose to either pretend to understand or ignore altogether. The Speak and Speak Again anthology not only welcomed, but urged, voices and action. To affect change, to truly live together in a united world, we have to start talking. We have to nurture a dialogue.
What do you think is the responsibility of the writer in today’s polarized environment?
James Baldwin said it best. It’s up to the writer “to find the terms of our connection, without which we will perish. The importance of the writer is continuous; I think it’s socially debatable and usually socially not terribly rewarding, but that’s not the point; his importance, I think, is that he is here to describe things which other people are too busy to describe.” In simpler terms, the writer, especially in today’s environment, must work to unite all people and inspire empathy, love, and understanding.
Nora, why did you choose to become a writer and set yourself up for pain, misery, and perpetual uncertainty?
We have enough people who think for a living. I want to be a person who feels.
Connect with Nora:
- Published Domains of Life (short story) in The Incubator Journal (2017)
- Published America (flash fiction) in The Quarryman Literary Journal (2017)
- Published I Have Every Right to be Angry (essay, nonfiction) in Pact Press (2017)
- Published Colors (short story) in The Lonely Crowd Magazine (2017)
- Published The Boy in the Woods (short story) in Rose Red Review (January 2017)
- Published The Island of Disappointment (flash fiction) in Diverse Voices Quarterly (January 2017)
- Published A Farcical Debate (article) in The Evening Echo Newspaper (2016)
- Published Dear Cork… I Love You (article) in The Evening Echo Newspaper (2016)
- Published Ghosts in a Small Town (short story) in The Rose Magazine (2016)
- Published Winter Green Gorge (short story) in The Quarryman Literary Journal (2016)
- Published The Walk (short story) in The UCC Express (2015)