Four writers, four questions #3 Deborah Griffiths

Here’s the third install­ment of Four Writers, Four Questions. Installment #4 will be pos­ted next week.

What are you work­ing on right now?

I have a com­bin­a­tion of light and intense work on the daily writ­ing menu right now. I’ve just fin­ished co-author­ing Watershed Moments-A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District. It was a great exper­i­ence work­ing with my co-authors  and the edit­ors at Harbour Publishing.

This pro­cess inspired me to go back to my second nov­el, Snow on the Monashee and clean it up. This is light work and gives me a view of how my approach to writ­ing- and the world- has changed since I wrote it in 2014.

My more intense work is cre­at­ing an out­line for a new his­tor­ic non-fic­tion book. I love research and dis­cov­ery so this is excit­ing and I enjoy put­ting pieces of a puzzle togeth­er and cre­at­ing an out­line. The nice thing about out­lines is that they’re so flu­id. The basic bones remain the same as I move along; but the flow around them changes as I pro­gress.

Why is this mean­ing­ful to you?

Right now, being able to move back and forth between fic­tion and non-fic­tion is mean­ing­ful to me. Until recently, I’ve put them into two cat­egor­ies, as though I had to choose between one friend and anoth­er. Non-fic­tion has always been my “work” as a cur­at­or and con­tract­or. It’s enjoy­able, but I use dif­fer­ent pro­cesses for it than I do for fic­tion. I’m learn­ing that cre­at­ing both improves my writ­ing.

DebWhen work­ing on Watershed and talk­ing to Paula about it, she gave me some great advice about present­ing his­tory in a pleas­ur­able read­ing style. Seeing the response to the book and work­ing with the oth­er authors’ styles has been an eye-open­er. I’ve begun to worry less about what read­ers think about my writ­ing and to focus more on what I bring to life and the read­ers’ enjoy­ment.

I’ve also recently been read­ing books like In Fact: The Best of Creative Non-Fiction by Lee Gutkind. This has helped me remove my self-imposed style bound­ar­ies between fic­tion and non-fic­tion.

What is your pro­cess?

My pro­cess involves tak­ing my curi­os­ity and wrap­ping that up with a love of work, daily routine and focus. Pair this with inter­mit­tent pro­cras­tin­a­tion, insec­ur­ity and second-guess­ing and it’s a typ­ic­al week.

For ongo­ing learn­ing, I read a lot. I also sub­scribe to a couple of blogs that delve into the nitty-gritty of writ­ing and push me. One is Daphne Grey Grant’s Publication Coach (Vancouver) blog. Her take is that writ­ing is open to the pub­lic and it’s not a high­er mys­tery. It requires organ­iz­a­tion, work, strategy and inspir­a­tion from read­ing, listen­ing and all aspects of life.

Finally, I have won­der­ful friends and fam­ily who are patient with my rough drafts and pro­jects. My fam­ily tends to see plain-old-every­day writ­ing as a fine means of expres­sion. The more humour the bet­ter. Growing up, my fath­er wrote poems and put them into our brown-bag lunches. My moth­er was a cross­word afi­cion­ado and more. My uncle is 97 and just pub­lished a book of 97 poems. The list goes on. How lucky could I be?

Why do you write?

I write because it’s a cre­at­ive state of con­stant improve­ment, learn­ing and dis­cov­ery. It’s a world of acknow­ledging and fol­low­ing con­nec­tions and pos­sib­il­it­ies. I’m able to take my pick of sub­jects: people, nature, anim­als, land­scapes, sea­scapes and sky­scapes, past, present, future-and run with it. A free-range writer.

Deborah Griffiths is the author of two fic­tion books (writ­ten under the pen name Deborah Greene) and three non-fic­tion books includ­ing Heather’s Amazing Discovery (final­ist, children’s non-fic­tion, Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable) and Water­shed Moments — A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District (with Christine Dickinson, Judy Hagen and Catherine Siba).



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