We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Alyssa Brocker, a writer whose multiple literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Year of 2016. She has also been highlighted in Spotlight On Writers published in September, 2016.
What was an early experience where you learned that language and writing had power?
The first time I was ever affected by the words someone said to me was when I was six. I remember her name and exactly what she said. It stuck with me, as words have a habit of doing. Even though it wasn’t a good kind of feeling, it taught me that what we say, what we write, it really makes a difference in people’s lives. It sticks with you.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
For me it does both. When I start a piece, whatever it may be, the fresh story gives me excitement. The adventure of a new plot drives me forward. The exhaustion comes in when I’m towards the middle. Whether the middle is twenty words, or twenty-thousand. When I finish with a project that’s one of the best feelings out there.
How many hours a day do you write? And in a perfect world how many hours would you like to dedicate to writing?
I try to write at least an hour a day. Either right after I wake up, or right before I fall asleep. I tend to write better when I’m tired, the words flowing easier when I’m not overthinking them. I would write all day if I could, but trivial things like food, and sleeping get in the way.
Does ego help or hurt writers?
Again, I think it does both. If you think nothing you write is worth reading, it will be hard to get anywhere as a writer. If you think the first draft of everything you write is perfect and ready to submit, that could be your greatest downfall. It’s all about balance.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’d like to say something profound, but being one hundred percent honest it’s food. Preferably pizza, it always distracts me.
Do you summon your muse or does it come naturally?
My muse comes from the experiences I have in life. Not the experiences themselves, but the feelings I draw from them. The way I felt from a certain boy, or being embarrassed in front of a crowd. I try to make a story out of those emotions.
Is the support of your friends and family important to your writing process?
My support system of the people closest to me is one of the most vital things for my writing. It’s significant to believe in yourself, but it’s almost impossible to do it when there’s no one there to tell you, you should.
Do you ever Google yourself?
An embarrassing amount of times. A little trick when I have writer’s block is to search for my publications on Google. When you see your name, your writing, it gives you hope.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
Don’t let someone tell you should stop writing. I’ve come close to giving up on writing, because someone told me nothing was ever going to come from it. Of course always take suggestions, keep growing as a writer from the help of others. If you believe in what you’re writing, the story you’re telling, no one should be able to stop you from creating your work. Also, be genuine, find the truth in everything you write.
What does it mean to you to be the Spillwords Press 2016 Author of the Year?
The amount of joy I felt when I got the email is indescribable. It’s validation from thirty-seven rejections, even though they also have helped my writing. It’s joy I feel from this website and the opportunities you give to small writers like myself.
Alyssa Brocker is a twenty-year old college graduate. She found her love for poetry by working with her theater group to create an original play written in prose. She lives with her beloved dog who is always her first reader.