What inspires writers? How can our featured UntitledTown workshop leaders inspire YOU?
Before you attend Jill Swenson’s Memoir is More than Memoires: Writing and Selling a Memoir workshop on April 30, 10:30am at the Brown County Library-Downtown, read a little bit about your workshop leader here!
Who is Jill Swenson? Jill Swenson is a developmental editor, literary representative, and executive director of Swenson Book Development LLC. With a PhD from The University of Chicago and 30 years of teaching, editing, and coaching writers, Jill is an author’s advocate.
What to Bring: Attendees, bring your favorite writing tools and be prepared to think about your life. Jill Swenson will discuss what memoirs are as a genre, provide how-to advice when writing a memoir, the benefits of writing a memoir even if you don’t plan to be published, and what memoirs get published and why.
UntitledTown blogger Sara Stewart invited Jill to talk more about her creative process.
UntitledTown: Jill, how do you find inspiration?
Jill Swenson: Immersing myself in good writing always inspires me.
Sensory experiences associated with memories inspire me. Going to an art exhibit, screening a film, listening to live music, meeting new people, travel. In other words, exposing myself to new ideas, images, places, and people.
There’s another level of inspiration that comes when working on narrative arc and story structure. I find it when I start plotting out my scenes on a huge chalkboard I have. It’s kind of like the inspiration you get when you find all the edge pieces in a jigsaw and have the borders in place and then you’re excited because you see how it is all going to fit together to form a complete picture.
UT: Do you have a routine when it comes to writing—a special place or atmosphere?
JS: I’m a binge and purge writer. I don’t practice daily pages or meditate before writing.
Finding an extended period of time to write is the biggest hurdle for me. When I sit down to write, I binge on memories and purge them into print. It all comes flowing out fast and furiously as though I’ve kept my finger in a dam and pulled it out for a steady stream. It doesn’t matter where I am or what’s going on around me. I can write on the subway, waiting in the doctor’s office, in a busy coffee shop, or at my desk. As long as I can leave behind or set aside all of the other demands on me and my attention, I can write.
The hard part is putting my finger back in the dam so I can get other things done which real life demands.