- Which book (or other media) would you say is your largest influence?
Books that have inspired me in general, as a human, are The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, Kitchen Table Wisdom by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, and The Essential Sheehan by George Sheehan. Memoirs that spoke to me and inspired my writing, Choosing Life specifically, are Sixty Meters to Anywhere by Brendan Leonard, Finding Ultra by Rich Roll, and In the Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard.
- What part of the book was the most difficult to write?
Each chapter brought its own difficulties. I think the chapter that dives into detail about my depression was really tough. Bringing myself back to those dark places, so that I could describe them for the reader, was so emotionally draining.
- What was the seed of the book, or the very first thing that came to you as you started the writing process?
It actually started as a self-help book, not a memoir. Through feedback of a few friends who read early drafts, I realized that the best way to help was to just tell my story.
- Did the book change a lot through different drafts? How so?
Yes. It started as a self-help book. Then it became more of an autobiography. Eventually I was able to really focus on the topics that I felt were important for this memoir.
- If you had to pick any aspect of the book to change, what would it be?
None. A couple of lines here and there, but I’m satisfied with Choosing Life.
- Did you ever find yourself burning out on the book? How did you get through that?
I actually experienced the opposite. I felt like I couldn’t find enough time to write. I have four kids at home and a rock star businesswoman for a wife. My priority was and is to support them. I had to find time to write in between being a stay-at-home dad.
- What do you most hope readers will take away from this book?
Just that – hope. That there is a way out. That someone, maybe someone with very similar experiences as them, has faced the darkest moment possible and found a way to recover and thrive.
- How much do you think your life impacted how the book turned out? Is there a certain place/time of day that most inspires you to write?
I’ve found that I do my best thinking and original writing in the morning. I can edit in the afternoon and evening. But epiphanies usually happen in the morning.
- Do you have a writing routine? How well do you follow it?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a routine. I would love to have one. I should probably work on that.
- Do you think any books (or other media) have been bad influences on your writing?
Not at all. Everything I read influences my writing in a positive way. The growth of podcasts and videos has actually fortified my belief in myself as a writer. I listen or watch and think, “I just would really rather be reading about this topic.”
- What writers do you look up to most, either for their writing or as human beings?
James Lee Burke
- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just write. Every day, write something. Even if you don’t want to or don’t feel inspired. It could be toward your novel, or a personal essay, or a poem. The more you write, the more things start to make sense. The more times you write, the more chances you give yourself to get into the zone or the flow. That is when beautiful art is made. Eventually, something concrete will begin to take shape.
- After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?
I have ideas for three books. I’m about halfway done with the writing part of a self-help book, which is to say I’m about a third of the way toward publishing. I have but an outline of the other two. I do know where they’re headed though.
- Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?
I do like to outline. I prefer to have the main points for each chapter defined. I do not edit as I go. I have limited time to write, and I’d rather just get my thoughts on the screen versus focusing on spelling or punctuation.
- What do you do when you’re not writing?
My main priority is supporting my family. After that, my own wellness is most critical. I will always be in recovery. I love yoga, jogging, and lifting weights. Connecting with my support network on a variety of topics and at different levels is important. I spend a lot of time reading and listening to music.
- How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
If I’m stuck in my book, then I write something else. An idea for a magazine article, or a few lines to a song, for example. That usually unclogs the creative writing part of my Self.
- What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
If you don’t know where to start, is writing really your calling? This is not to dissuade anyone from writing. Writing is art. Therefore, there are no rules and no judgement. If you are satisfied with what you have written, then you are a writer. I understand that producing a final product for the world to see can be daunting. That, to me, is separate from writing. And it happens well after the writing starts. Another thought… if your goal is to tell people that you are a writer or a published author, well, then, that is a separate thing than being a writer. If you aspire to be a writer, just start writing. About anything. In any format. You will find a style and version of writing that lifts you up. Then you can move others. The great thing about technology is that you have the freedom to put anything you write out for the world to see. Then, you will no longer be aspiring. You will be.
- What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?
Finding the time to write.
- Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?
I am a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.
- Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?
I do not have a big social media presence. I have created a website, creedsliving.com, which is an extension of my book by the same title. It is in its first draft, but it is live. Maybe it will mean something to someone right now. After I’m done with this book, I hope to have more meaningful content.
- How do you think your book (F)/story (NF) can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?
To have a better understanding of depression and alcoholism.
To realize that depression can happen to anyone.
You can overcome depression and/or alcoholism.
You can find wellness.