Noted author Ruthanne Lum McCunn shared her thoughts about her personal journey through the processes of writing in an interview for this project. Recent works by this writer include The Moon Pearl and Sole Survivor: A Story of Record Endurance at Sea.
Listen to the audio.
"A lot of people say that it's hard for them to go to their desk, I mean people say to me all the time, well, how do get motivated? How do you go to your desk? And to me, it's a treat. Which is not to say that I don't spend hours and hours in total anguish. I do. But it's never hard for me to go to my desk. Never. I'm eager to go. And I'm eager to see what awaits, because, yes, I have my ideas of what I want to accomplish during that day. What I'm writing about. But, to me, the true joy of writing is when the subconscious takes over and stuff comes out of there. And so that's really exciting, because I have no idea what it's going to be.
"And if I did, it would be boring. There would be no reason to do it. And it's like I taught for a while in the MFA program in creative writing and the director of the program wanted to have a, she said, you know it's really taking the students too long to get to their final, you know, to get their final projects done, and so I think that they should be writing outlines.
"Well, writing outlines is a great idea for when you're writing non-fiction, but it's lethal for creative writing. And I said, you know, I would have to quit before I would - . I would never impose that on somebody. And so for me, it's just very exciting to go to my desk and that's how I get started.
"But there again, if I'm in a rough patch, it can be hard. And I, Hemingway, actually, had a story that he told about how he got started everyday, and that was he sharpened ten pencils. And at the end of the tenth pencil, he had to start. And so that's what I do, too. If it's really hard, I go to my desk, I want to get through that horrible part, so I'm motivated to get there.
"But then, there's this horrible blank page facing me, what am I going to do? I sharpen ten pencils and then I'm ready to start."