Three Questions Not to Ask Writers

Leicester Mercury out of my suit featureThankfully none of them asked by the Leicester Mercury in preparation for their feature on my poetry. But here’s three questions most writers dread:-

Q 1: What inspires your writing?

A: Everything. There is no secret store only available to those genetically destined to become writers, no magic pot of ideas that if only it were to become available to non writers they’d become writers too.

Q 2: What do you write about?

A: You could probably read a collection in the time it would take me to come up with a neat, two sentence summation. Alternatively type my name in a search engine (or follow the links) and read what’s available on-line.

Q 3: When did you start writing?

A: I’ve always written. Even as a toddler I used to make up stories. When I learnt to write, I started writing them. Or did you mean when did I start writing for publication? Or did you mean when did I identify myself as a writer? Or when did someone else recognise me as a writer?

For Question 1, far better to ask what inspired a specific poem or story. Question 2 is incredibily tricky for someone who writes poems, stories and reviews, encompassing fiction and non fiction, sometimes genre sometimes not, to actually pin down and say “I write about x.” Question 3: where do I start? Like any good interview, the best questions are not so hopelessly open-ended I don’t know where to start or are so hopelessly closed I can only answer “yes” or “no”. The best questions are specific and allow for a generous answer.

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