Hello Followers! Remember the amazing Postcard I have received last week? The card was from my dear friend Malina!
Malina asks a lot of questions, has the best listening skills I have ever seen, has an infinite amount of patience, is most of the time out of the country, has strange phoning habits, disappears from time to time, claims to be a writer but doesn’t drink alcohol (I have never seen her drinking)… I think she is a spy… Which makes her the perfect person for my first interview!
Ladies and Gentleman’s make some noise for Malinaaa!
Hi Mali, how are you?
Hi NoCouchPotato! I’m great, thank you!
How was your day? How was it coming back from the dry and hot Atacama desert to snowy London (In March!)?
Strange, I miss all the sky. Especially the stars at night, in the desert, you could see whole galaxies. And the llamas. You’d love llamas, by the way, with their long necks.
While you were backstage I Introduced you to the audience telling them how fantastic you are and what you do… ahem… What do you do again?
‘I think I’ve successfully made myself unemployable, over the course of the last year. Which means that I spend my days locked indoors writing, or outdoors feeling guilty about not writing, or asleep dreaming about writing. So, can we say that I write? I don’t know, I’m reluctant to call myself writer until it’s all done, but in terms of hours and mental space, that’s definitely what I do.
I see. Do you drink?
Only straight whiskey. No ice.
I see… -.-
How did you start with writing anyway and who inspired you?
I guess I started very young, before I could even write, really. I was an only child and spent afternoons telling stories to myself. Scary stories, mostly. Or love stories. Then I grew-up, became more self-conscious, and I started writing down the stories instead. It was more socially acceptable, and more permanent.
The three best books, the three worst books? (if you want to tell)
Best books, in no particular order – The Master and Margerita, Lolita, Blindness, or anything else by Cortazar or Nabokov. But then there are Gogol, Brautigan, Fante, Sylvia Plath, George Saunder’s short stories, Dostoevsky… Do I have to stick to three?
As for the worst, mmm, no, I really don’t want to trash anyone else’s work, especially seeing firsthand how hard writing actually is.
If a potato like me, who can barely spell, wants to become someone like you who writes for a living what do you think would be the best way to do that?
Just sit down and write. And the next day, and the one after that. But I really can’t help you when it comes to the making a living part of it. Not yet, anyway…
How important is a degree? Is it important to have any formal qualifications?
Degrees or qualifications aren’t important at all, not one bit. Life experience is, and curiosity, and empathy for your characters.
What has been your career so far? Best job? Worst job?
I’ve worked a bit in auction houses, then moved to film production, then on sets. Best job, probably working on developing new stories in the production company. But also making coffe in a cafè, I liked the practical aspect of it, the immediate results. Worst job, definitely, working as a shop-assistant in a luxury-boutique on Kings Road. Lots of bored midwives coming through, lots of money spent over a label, a waste of time.
What are you currently working on and how is that going?
I’m working on my first novel at the moment. I’m at the third draft, and some days it seems to be going great while others are a disaster – I want to throw everything in the river, computer, pages, pencils, everything. Today is a good day though!
Plan B for a writer if there is one?
No plan B, I’m committing to it completely. I can always go back to making lukewarm cappuccinos…
I find it difficult sometimes to find interesting things to write about. You too? What do you do about that?
I think just open the window and look out. Or dig through memories that made you feel something. Or read a paper. And once you find something you want to write about, stick with it.
Distraction is my second enemy! Especially when writing on my macbook. But I have found some very useful tools. (see below for links) What are your secret tips?
My house has never been as clean as since I started writing. I try to procrastinate as much as I possibly can, until I feel too guilty to continue, and I’m forced to get back to the writing. In terms of tools, I know I should switch the internet off, but I just can’t – a friend of mine, Sebastian, recommended a program called SelfControl, but I don’t have enough self control to actually use it.
Last but not least do you have any advise for me and my readers?
Advice? Eat your greens, drink lots of water? And keep curious!
Anything you would like to tell me?
I used to think that my favourite potatoes were the ones roasted in the over with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. I have to say that Nocouchpotatoes are not so bad either (in a completely different, non-edible way, of course)…
A few cool tools for writers:
Omm writer (distraction-free writing for mac, ipad and windows)
Self control (Facebook blocker)