The Association of Writers and Writing Programs has a great article by Roxanne Gay on “The Eight Questions Writers Should Ask Themselves” and I wanted to share the questions, and my answers, here.
1. Are you a good literary citizen?
I believe I am. I love supporting new indie writers and following them on Twitter. Even if I can’t purchase their books, I will download their free, shorter works, and will leave a constructive rating, and sometimes a review, on Goodreads. I love partaking in the NaNoWriMo forums, for both summer sessions and the November event.
2. Are you more invested in the business of publishing than the practice of writing?
I am definitely more interested in writing. I want to hone my skills and become a better writer with each thing I write. I do research the intricacies of publishing, so when the time comes, I’m not going in blind. I also like to know what my options are, and what avenues I can take with my writing.
3. Is your writing ready to be submitted? Will you stand behind your work not only today, but well into the future?
Some of it is, some of it isn’t. Even if it will never be ready for publication, I stand behind my work because every writing project is, in some way, an exercise that makes me a stronger writer. Every writer writes something that they aren’t proud of, but they can build off of it in the future, and retain the lessons they learned from it for the next project.
4. Are you willing to be critiqued and/or edited?
Always. I want to know how my work can be better, from the structure to the delicate details. I love receiving critique, even if it is negative, because it tells me what I can change and how I can improve as a writer.
5. How will you deal with failure?
I will first finish every manuscript I start. I will then ensure that it is the best it can be before I start submitting, I will continue to submit even if it may seem to be failing at first. Failure is in the eye of the beholder; as long as I produce the work I wanted to, then each manuscript is an achievement that I have not failed.
6. Are you reading diversely?
Yes! I read everything. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, novellas, indie chapbooks, children’s lit, fantasy, memoirs…the list goes on. I also try to read books by a wide variety of authors.
7. Are you taking risks?
I like to experiment in my writing. I like to see what my characters will do, even if I don’t agree with their actions. I like to experiment with setting-as-character, as well as trying my hand at different points of view. Every submission is also a risk in its own merit.
8. Do you believe in your writing?
Yes. I would not be able to finish anything if I did not believe in it.
These are wonderful questions for a writer to ask themselves, not only to critically think about their work, but themselves as well. Being a writer is more than just putting words to a page; it’s also about editing, finishing your work, improving, and partaking in the writing community.
Did you answer these questions on your blog? Link your post in the comment section, I’d love to read them!