Pageonelit.com: Tell us a about your book
Writing in Flow - Keys to Enhanced Creativity. From what perspective
did you write this book and what will the reader hope/expect
to obtain from the content?
Susan K. Perry: While I was in graduate
school (one of those midlife transition things), I knew I
wanted to study some aspect of creativity, and that I would later
turn what I learned into a popular book. That's because I've
been a writer for nearly 20 years, my husband is a poet, and
all of our best friends are writers. When I discovered "flow,"
I knew I'd found my topic. Flow is that place where time seems
to stop and your creative words spill forth almost effortlessly.
What I most wanted to find out was why some writers have an easier
time entering flow than I do. I hope the reader will learn, as
I myself did, all the many ways there are to reach flow and be
a more productive, happy writer.
Pageonelit.com: How would you personally
define creativity and is there different levels of creativity
for writers which would be different than lets say a painter
and if so what are they?
Susan K. Perry: That's a big complex
question. I prefer to define creativity as coming up with something
new that hasn't been done before, even if it's only a slightly
new way of doing or expressing an old idea. Often
we think we're coming up with creative ideas, but they may have
been thought up by someone else already. Therefore, if you don't
know what's been done before, you
may think you're being creative when, in reality, you're just
reinventing the wheel again and again.
My expertise and experience are only about writing,
but painters and musicians and dancers and actors come up to
me at workshops and bookstore talks and tell me that their creative
process, their experience of flow, is exactly the same as what
I'm describing for writers. I don't like to think in terms of
"levels," because that's where judgment comes in. I
leave the judging for others. But indeed there are different
depths and kinds of flow. Some people lose themselves in flow
deeply and for long periods, while some of us only find flow
occasionally, and when we do, it's fairly shallow and easily
Pageonelit.com: Tell us about the term Writing in Flow and what it means for a
writer. Will different writer lifestyles have different effects
on a writers flow? Why or why not?
Susan K. Perry: Learning to write in flow,
where everything else disappears from your consciousness, offers
truly wonderful benefits to writers. When you stop thinking of
yourself, your surroundings, and your eventual audience, that
frees you to tap into your deepest creativity and consider only
what's best for this particular piece of work. Since most writers
have to motivate themselves to work, and since flow is such a
highly motivating and self-rewarding state to write from, it makes sense that
learning to write in flow is going to make you write more often.
By writing more often, you up the odds that you'll produce good
work and do so with greater satisfaction. Nonfiction writers,
in particular, have asked me whether it's possible to find flow
when they are always juggling multiple projects. Parents of young
children struggle with the same challenge. My response is that
you can do it, but it may be harder and happen less often and
less deeply, due to the constant interruptions and internal mental
buzz. You may have to accept that, temporarily, your flow will
not be the same leisurely experience as that of someone who is
free to devote many uninterrupted hours and days to writing a
Pageonelit.com: From your workshops and
the interviews you conducted for this book --- What one problem
jumps out that all writers seem to have when they sit down to
write and what is your advice to overcome this problem.
Susan K. Perry: I never like to lump "all
writers" together. What I find is that the way we write,
like the way we do everything else from eating to having sex,
is unique to our individual personality. And there's a big difference
between the highly successful writers I interviewed for the book
and those writers I talk to in workshops. The former have learned
how to handle their fear and
anxiety around writing, while the latter often haven't. Fear
is a big problem for relatively new writers. Fear of letting
go, fear of rejection, fear of being imperfect, fear of exposure.
Once you've plugged away at it for several years and found at
least a small measure of success (whether or not you're published
-- I mean success at simply writing when you want to write),
you learn to put the fear aside, let go into flow, and do what
you want to do. Advice? Read my book, learn all you can about
your unique creative process, and don't give up.
Pageonelit.com: What stirs your imagination?
Susan K. Perry: Good literary writing, writing
that breaks boundaries, writing that dares to expose the writer
in all his or her human vulnerability."
Pageonelit.com: Why do you write? And what
did writing Writing In Flow teach you personally as a writer?
Susan K. Perry: Ah, why do I write? It seems
to me the most meaningful thing I know how to do. When something
I've written touches the lives of others, it's a connection I
seem to be able to achieve no other way. Writers join the generations,
remind us that we aren't the first (or the last) to appear on
earth, that we aren't as alone as we might otherwise feel ourselves
From writing the book WRITING IN FLOW, I
learned that when I don't get into flow as often as I say I'd
like, I'm doing so by choice. That is, when I fill my life with
activity, accepting assignments just for the money, or taking
on obligations that I don't actually HAVE to take on, or spending
extra time promoting the book, especially since it became a bestseller
(!), I'm choosing the temporary pleasures of doing stuff, of
being able to cross minor items off a list, over the longer term
and deeper gratifications of flow. By recognizing that, I can
make solid steps toward simplifying my life and moving toward
a time when I will do more writing in flow."