1. When did you start writing?
I’ve always loved to write. People talk about the “runner’s high” and while I’m not a jogger, I understand what they mean. When I start to write and everything comes together, it feels like flying. I think it’s the closest thing to a supernatural experience I have ever had. It feels like magic.
For many years I wrote “secretly.” I don’t know why, but for some reason telling people that I wrote elicited a negative reaction, almost like a scoff. I often thought; if I told them I was into pottery or sewing they would probably express interest and say positive things. I don’t think all writers get this response but that has been my experience, so I just learned not to share this piece of information about myself.
2. What motivates you to write?
Writing for me goes in waves. I find the process of editing a written piece to be emotionally exhausting. Whereas the creative portion of writing an article or a story energizes me, editing drains me. I have to take a lot of breaks while I’m doing it, then a long break afterwards where I think I never want to go through that again. But then I start reading good books and just thinking and reflecting on the world and the people around me, and before I know it another idea is taking shape and the motivation to write it down is really more of a compulsion. I feel like I have to do it.
3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
It’s funny because my favorite genre to read is young adult fiction. I find that YA fiction feels like it comes from the heart, whereas a lot of the adult general fiction I pick up seems to come from the mind. There is often a self-consciousness to it – a palpable effort to impress – that jars me and prevents me from enjoying the book. But I can’t write YA fiction! I’ve tried, but even I recognize that it’s forced and unnatural sounding. When I go to write, the story that is there is women’s fiction. But I like to think I do write from the heart, in the style of YA fiction. Just the story itself is women’s fiction.
4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
I recently discovered ghostwriting. I had a few health issues that necessitated working from home, and I knew writing was the only thing I could do, given my work history. I started my book “Beautiful Minds,” as a way of trying out this new form of writing and seeing if I could capture different people’s voices and perspectives. What I discovered is this whole new gorgeous creative world that I never really considered before. It was like discovering a hidden treasure. Real people’s stories, experiences and insights are just fascinating, and I enjoyed thinking about each person’s life journey and discovering the ‘hook’ in their characters and personalities that led them to the place they are in now. I think the experience of writing “Beautiful Minds” enriched me personally and professionally.
My goal for “Beautiful Minds” is to create successive volumes, which I would then like to submit to a publisher to create a hardcover coffee-table book. In terms of writing, I am in the process of editing a previously published book called “Flat Earth Theory.” The new book will be called “Betrayal,” and will be an expanded version of the original, with a graphic novel component. I also hope to continue ghostwriting, something I really love and feel I have a knack for.
5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
I wouldn’t say so…I never “push” myself to write. If a story isn’t there, it isn’t there. In my experience, you can’t manifest one out of thin air. When I’m between projects I journal and read. Sometimes journaling is painful because I force myself to write about ALL my experiences, even the bad ones, and I don’t cut myself any slack. But it’s good. Journaling takes me into that deep down place that good writing comes from.
6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
In terms of learning the craft, I’d say you pick up a little something from everyone. Some teachers will really resonate with you, others less so. Read, write, take writing classes, and have an open heart. If you keep at it, eventually it will click. But check your ego at the door. In a metaphorical sense, make sure you are writing, not typing.
7. Please, tell us about your work.
“Beautiful Minds is a six chapter book. Each chapter reads like a short story written in the first person, from the subject’s perspective. I intended this book to be a bridge-building initiative for New York City, so all the subjects are New Yorkers. They tell their life stories and how living in New York shaped them and played into their journey. The book shows how diverse and interesting people’s lives are, and how all those different experiences imbued each of them with special insights and wisdom that they probably take for granted, but that the world would be enriched for, if we all understood. Writing the book was an effort to impart that understanding.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Jackie Goldman is a writer and ghostwriter living in Brooklyn, New York. Her previous works include “Flat Earth Theory,” and “El Pombero.”
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