A Writer Like You: Hannah Pryor
When a fan submitted unsolicited poetry for her to review, Anne Sexton responded, “Advice...Stop writing letters to the top poets in America...[You] should be contacting other young poets on their way—not those who have made it, who sit on a star and then have plenty of problems, usually no money, usually the fear their own writing is going down the sink hole...[Instead] make contact with others such as you. They...will help you far more than the distant Big Name Poet."
Her words are a little scathing, but true nonetheless.
I decided to apply her advice using my blog.
A Writer Like You posts provide opportunities for writers of similar circumstances to connect with one another.
According to Sexton, these writers will “help you far more than the distant Big Name.”
Let’s put her advice to the test, shall we?
For the first Writer Like You post, I interviewed Hannah Pryor, a writer, archivist, and the owner of way too many TBR books. Her favorite genres are SF/F and she's currently working on a sci-fi novel about lady gladiators. She also enjoys drawing in her free time.
You’ll love her candid response about how to stay motivated, her evaluation of what writer success really means, and her merciful writing advice. Plus her upcoming novel sounds amazing (I’ll make sure we get updates as the story progresses).
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always had stories in my head, but it wasn't until I was a teenager that I started to share them with others and call myself a writer. I blame two things for my current path: the internet for showing me that writing was a valid option and the creative writing classes for encouraging me to actually do it. It's been an exhilarating uphill battle since then!
How do you stay motivated to write?
I can't say I'm always motivated. Like most people, it comes and goes depending on the day. One of my most recent breakthroughs was learning how to sit down and write even if I don't feel like it. Sometimes that means tricking myself by saying "just write a couple of sentences." In most cases, that's enough to get the ball rolling!
How do you define writer success?
I don't think it's healthy tie our self-value to getting a publisher, having a million followers, or signing that movie deal. Success for a writer is being able to say, at the end of the day, that what you've created matches your vision and has kept that initial spark of joy that made you write it in the first place. If you do that, then you someone out there will love your work just as much as you do.
What are you currently working on, and what makes you excited about it?
My current project is a sci-fi novel about two women who are fighting--in their own ways--to survive gladiatorial games on a distant planet. I'm excited because this is the first time I've worked with multiple viewpoint characters!
What advice would you give other writers like yourself?
It's okay to give up, but always remember to allow yourself to start again. I barely wrote a thing for five years, it happens, and it can feel scary to put words down after a long time. Take care of yourself and look back to why you became a writer in the first place. Failure is okay--what matters most is that you go back to the keyboard and keep trying!
Thank you, Hannah.
I certainly needed her writing advice today, didn’t you? I’m sensing we have even more to learn from the wise Hannah; ask her your questions in the comments below.
To connect with Hannah, follow her on Instagram (@hannah.pryor) and check out her author website.
I hope you felt the power of learning from another writer like you. Catch a new interview every Monday.
Keep freeing the writer,