We offer this exclusive Q&A Interview with Aaron Marchant, Author of the Year of 2018, a writer whose multiple literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages.
What was an early experience where you learned that language and writing had power?
I was a precocious child, and found myself drawn to comedy that employed clever wordplay from an early age. (Peter Cook and Monty Python spring to mind). I also watched a lot of black and white ‘film noir’ movies with wise-cracking characters who always ‘got the girl’. Language is as much about creativity as it is about communication.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing at its best, is energizing. Sometimes, I have an idea for a piece that I’m enthused by and I cannot wait to get to work on it and discover where it takes me.
To begin with a blank page and an idea plucked from the ether, and then to do that idea justice is extremely satisfying.
How many hours a day do you write? And in a perfect world how many hours would you like to dedicate to writing?
It depends what I’m writing. Aside from poetry and verse, I write articles on philosophy and sociology. These pieces tend to be easy to write, because I’m almost writing down my thoughts in real time. That said, I will have considered those thoughts carefully over months if not years, so in that respect, I have spent many hours working on them. With poetry and verse, sometimes it can pour from the pen in half an hour, other times I may chip away at a piece over several days.
In a perfect world, I would have more ‘contemplation’ time, as this is as important to the writing process as putting pen to paper.
Does ego help or hurt writers?
I suppose that depends upon the writer, the genre of writing and the potential audience. For myself, I’m not at all ‘precious’ about my writing and believe that I can be objective about its merits. I seldom write directly about myself, and never do so with an accolade in mind, so ego, really doesn’t come into it. All writers are aware of when they’ve written something well, and those pieces speak for themselves.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Stress and worry. I cannot write at all in those circumstances, and have learned not to try.
Do you summon your muse or does it come naturally?
It varies. Sometimes I will simply have an idea for a piece, in which case, I set down a rough outline of what I want to say, and in so doing , I hopefully gather a few good lines to expand upon.
Other times, I will have an opening line or a turn of phrase that demands attention. These are the exciting ones, where the presence of the muse is felt. At best, these pieces almost write themselves, and my role appears to be that of simply holding the pen in a vertical position.
Is the support of your friends and family important to your writing process?
To be honest, not particularly. All of my writing is born of solitary, quiet thought.
But having written a piece, much of the joy is in connecting with the reader.
Human beings are complex, and their innermost thoughts are usually hidden.
When another person notices the nuance, understands the abstruse reference or simply ‘gets’ the joke in our writing, we are reassured that ‘we are not alone’.
Do you ever Google yourself?
Occasionally, but it’s predominantly to ensure that my personal data isn’t trending at the top of the results.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
I wouldn’t presume to have many of the answers.
Write because you enjoy it. That way, you are already a success.
Try to write every day, but if it’s not happening, don’t beat yourself up.
Conversely, If the muse is present, don’t leave the desk before she does.
What does it mean to you to be the Spillwords Press Author Of The Year 2018?
I am absolutely delighted and somewhat stunned to be selected.
Publishing my work at Spillwords Press, has put me in touch with a diverse writing community of extraordinary talent, any one of which, would have been a worthy winner.
I am very much aware that I was simply fortunate on this occasion.
That fellow writers and readers took the time to vote for me is truly humbling, and I’m most grateful for their kindness.
I must also thank the team at Spillwords Press, whose presentations have been excellent, and I’m sure have been significant in attracting readers to my work.
Aaron Marchant lives in the rolling Chiltern Hills in UK, where he enjoys walking among the bluebell woods and occasionally finding poetic inspiration whilst enjoying a beer in the garden of a country pub.