Questions for Keily Blair
There weren't many questions, so I managed to answer them all. Thank you for participating! (Also, the animal in the featured image is a capybara from the Chattanooga Zoo. They're the world's largest rodent, and somehow one of my favorites.)
If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always make time for blog readers and potential clients.
1. Should I be careful what I’m reading as I’m writing in a particular genre?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for ways to improve your character development, dialogue, setting, or plot-building skills, you may find something helpful in each genre. In those cases, it would depend more on the author. However, if you’re looking for a specific element like worldbuilding or tension, some genres are better than others. For worldbuilding, I’d definitely recommend fantasy. Horror or thrillers may work best for tension, depending on the type of tension (if it’s romantic tension, obviously a story with romantic elements is best). If you’re worried about inspiration, then I suggest reading within the genre you’re writing. However, note that I write horror and dark fantasy daily and still read literary novels about family and friendship and love with no horrific elements to be found (on top of horror and dark fantasy novels, of course). Don’t forget to read for pleasure. You don’t JUST have to read to be a better writer.
2. How do you stay motivated?
I schedule everything—meals, breaks, writing, homework. I have a calendar for appointments, a calendar for writing and schoolwork, and a planner with a schedule (where items are organized by how long they take) that I carry with me everywhere. I stay motivated because it’s rewarding to cross things off my to-do list. Now, this is a bit extreme. I DO think you should be organized, but maybe just buy a planner and possibly don’t obsessively manage your time.
3. How do you avoid distractions?
I keep my office space in a room with no TV. My gaming computer is also separate from my work computer. Basically, find an area that limits distractions. Make it your workspace. Then, write there at the same time every day. You’ll see that your mind goes into “work mode” the second you sit down in your chair. If needed, there are apps you can use to restrict internet access while you write. Here are some tips on how to create your workspace.
4. Do you think a degree in creative writing is actually useful?
Yes, I do. I used to be a biology major, and despite doing well, I always felt saddened and bored by my choice. Switching to creative writing allowed me to do something I love while developing a skill set necessary for a career. It also helped me develop relationships with other writers to help me in my own writing career. I’ve made valuable connections with beta readers, editors, and professors. Without their help, I probably wouldn’t have been published until long after I left school.
5. Ebooks or print?
Okay, that’s the most challenging question so far. I am personally obsessed with collecting print books. I’m attracted to pretty covers and the idea of having signed editions. I’m also OCD, so the need to count each chapter’s pages in my hands before reading can’t be sated by ebooks. That being said, ebooks are way better. They’re cheaper overall, take up less space in your house, and you can adjust the lighting and font size depending on your preferences.
6. What is your biggest pet peeve as an editor?
I actually don’t really have one. If a writer trusts me with something as sensitive as a creative work, I’m not going to get annoyed over petty things that I’m here to help with. That just seems cruel. All I ask for is respect, and I’m happy to provide respect as well.
7. What is the hardest part about writing?
The hardest part about writing is starting it. There’s a lot of anxiety that goes into the first sentence, first page, first draft. It’s nerve-wracking. I actually have a few posts on getting started with writing, some related to anxiety, and some not:
Writing Resources Week 1 – Prompts (Part 2 is in the works, not quite there yet)