I’m very excited to share an interview with Tamara Woods today. I first met Tamara through a Facebook group, and now she hosts the #Writestuff chat that I started a couple of years back on Twitter. I love when things circle back. And I think you’ll love this interview with T.A. Woods.
1. Tell me about your latest project.
I have two. The first is my first collection of poetry entitled, The Shaping of the ‘Angry’ Black Woman. It was released on March 25th with Sakura Publishing. I was tired of always being asked why I was so angry, so I gathered poems from the past decade or so which discuss many different states of my emotions, because I’m more complex than just being angry, as all women are.
The other is a new blog that I’m creating called: A New Fatitude. This one is to keep try of my target to be a healthier me in terms of diet, exercise, social life and just being.
2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?
I started making stories with my Barbies when I was little. My Mom taught me to read before I went to kindergarten and I read all of the time- anything I could get my hands on. I remember being little and grabbing one of my mom’s romances and asking what a word was…it was not a good word. I’ll never forget how huge her eyes got!
3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?
I’m trying to develop a better routine. The night before, I set up my To-Do list on my white board. Generally the day is writing for blogs and freelance contracts. However, I’ve joined a Meet-Up group whose whole purpose is to sit down and write for 3 or 4 hours. I’m using that time to write on my fiction.
4. Who are you reading now?
Write now, I’m not reading anything. I have a couple book reviews that I need to read and write up, so no leisure reading to distract me from it.
5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?
Oh…that is so very, very difficult. There are so many books in the world. I can’t chose three. I just can’t. I can tell you that the books I love, totally engross me. I laugh out loud, I cry, I get angry. They invoke in me such emotions that afterward I’m drained and I wish it didn’t have to end.
6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?
It is a struggle every day. I’m trying to look at my platform building now as essential, but a smaller part of my day. Taking in 20-30 minutes, here, 20-30 minutes there. Closing my Facebook and Pinterest for extended periods of time during the day—those to are my time sucks.
7.What is a typical day like for you?
My boyfriend’s alarm irritates the crap out of me. If I’m unable to fall back asleep, I shuffle into the kitchen where hopefully coffee has magicked itself into being. I check email, social media and I watch YouTube videos to wake up. I’ve long thought about using this time to write, but it seems that YouTube keeps winning out. Then I either write at home, the library or I take the wireless route to the beach and write. On a really good day, I write from 10 am until around 4 pm. Then the second bit of scheduling posts for the next day, doing research on subject matter that I couldn’t cover during the day, this starts around 9 pm and goes on until 1230 am (Right now, I’m finishing this at 1230 am in the wee Monday morning hours). This schedule only changes slightly on the weekends.
8. Describe your dream writing space?
A huge desk. With so many cubbies. A very large room that I would liken to a library: floor to ceiling bookshelves. Large windows as well, and a settee underneath one. Views of the ocean or the mountains, something scenic and beautiful. A corner that has a comfy chair, lamp and an end table. Carpet so my bare feet won’t be cold. A sweet computer that never breaks down and is always updated and malfree with no effort on my part. Oh and I need there to be plenty of pens and steno pads.
9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?
In the School of Journalism one of my professors told me that I was slacking off and wasn’t writing to my potential. That if some of the kids would’ve brought that in, he would’ve accepted it, but he knew I could do better. So I did.
10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?
Keep writing. Even when it’s terrible. Especially when it’s hard. When you feel like you have nothing to say write something. Allow yourself to be terrible. It’s not the end of the world when your first draft isn’t perfection. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) stand in the way of your goals.
Tamara Woods is a Honolulu poet by way of Morgantown, WV. She is co-creator of Morgantown Poets, a poetry group in Morgantown, WV, which meets every third Thursday at the Monongahela Arts Center. She has organized two poetry slams that ran for two years each: Tha.Speakeasy and Fueled Poets and Comedy Caravan. She also currently blogs for Examiner.com as the Honolulu Sex and Relationships Examiner. She also maintains her own website where she writes about being a Hillybilly in Honolulu and invites discussion from her readers: http://penpaperpad.com. She is a West Virginia University graduate with a leaning in journalism, and is currently working on a Masters degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. However, her first love will always be writing. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.