Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace. My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.
Today, I am most eager to welcome Michael Pierce, author of Provex City and SUSY Asylum.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?
Author Michael Pierce
I spent about 12 years working in coffee shops and the past year and a half as a project manager for a glazing subcontractor. Yeah, that was a big change! So now my day job consists of managing and coordinating the installation of the exterior skin of large commercial buildings, from full glass exteriors to framed glass exteriors and more. I knew nothing about construction going in, so it’s been quite the learning experience. I have been married for a little over five years and we have a precious 19-month-old daughter. I listen to a lot of audio books and enjoy playing guitar in my spare time, which has become increasingly sparse these days. I have self published the first two books in my Lorne Family Vault series (Provex City & SUSY Asylum), and I’m working on a new YA contemporary/dystopian novel, nicknamed Project Winter, that I plan to submit to agents when finished and thoroughly edited.
1. Where do you do most of your writing?
I do most of my writing on my work computer before the start of my day and during lunch, and on my laptop at my dining room table. When I go away for a weekend or on vacation, my laptop comes with me, allowing me to hopefully get a little writing done. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
2. Where did you get your desk? How did you go about arranging your work area?
I confiscated one end of the dining room table when I got my laptop, and that has been my workspace ever since. I do have an office with a real desk and desktop computer, but I haven’t used it for writing since I got my laptop.
3. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?
I typically have a few pages of notes, a writing magazine or two, a grammar book, and my headphones. I need to have my headphones on most of the time to block out everything else going on in my house while I’m trying to work. Music also helps me get into the right frame of mind and to find the tone of my story.
4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?
I like facing my bookcase and looking at all the books I’ve collected over the years, wanting to one day see more of my books on the shelves. I like having a copy of my books with me at my writing station for added inspiration.
5. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?
I used to drink coffee religiously and would always have one while I was writing. But this year, I gave up caffeine, and amazingly, I’ve stuck to it for the past six months! As I said earlier, I worked in coffee for about 12 years and averaged about three coffees a day throughout most of that time—so going cold turkey on caffeine was a big deal. Now, I’ll have one decaf coffee…but after that, it’s mostly water. Sometimes I’ll throw in a 7-Up or Gatorade.
Michael and his little Gwendolyn
1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?
When I was in junior high and high school, I wanted to be the next Stephen King. But after high school I got away from writing for a number of years. It wasn’t until about 12 years later that I picked up writing again, inspired by the success stories of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. I had to give myself permission to follow a dream of one day being a full time author. I’ve held onto that dream for the past four years now, and I’m never giving it up. If you don’t give up, you can’t fail.
2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?
I try to write a little before work and on my lunch, but there are several times a week when I’m not given that time for myself. I try to keep to a weekly word-count goal, so when I don’t get as much written during the day as I’d like, I try to make up for it in the evenings. Otherwise my evenings are reserved for promotion, social media, and blogging. A modern day author has to wear a lot of hats.
3. Do you write everyday? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions?
I wish I could write every day, but some days, time just doesn’t permit it. I write as much as I can, when I can, and try not to be too hard on myself on the days I can’t. My day job takes up almost 12 hours of my day and family/home obligations a few more hours. My personal time is limited, but I try to make the most of it. My biggest distraction is definitely my 19-month-old daughter. She’s completely changed my life in so many positive ways, but it’s hard to get anything accomplished while she’s awake; so much of my work is reserved for after she goes to bed.
4. Why do you write?
I write because I love stories. I love the feeling of creating a new story and all the characters, adventures, and converging plotlines that go along with it. If I stick with it, I believe I’ll be able to get to a point where I can write fulltime. And that’s the dream—to be able to do what I love and support my family while doing it. Stories can affect people’s lives, and I want to one day write one of those stories that will far outlive me.
5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?
If you want to write, then just write. Don’t let anyone else talk you out of it. There are so many ways to get your stories out to readers these days, that your masterpieces don’t have to live and die by finding an agent. There isn’t one road leading to the city of success. There is a huge network of roads, railways, and rivers that are all capable of getting you there. Each path has its own travel time, obstacles, and peril, but with a few simple turns and adjustments, you can keep on course and get to your desired destination. Success comes to those who try “until.”
Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.
– Orson Scott Card
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