Stay Interested


If you’ve listened to my podcast Author2Author with any regularity you may have noticed that if my guest writes suspense or mysteries or romance or science fiction we don’t tend to discuss the nuances and pleasures of those genres. I’m more likely to ask those writers why they like their genre, and what specifically drew them to it. Inevitably, we’ll move on to the nuances and pleasures of writing itself, the challenge of facing a blank page, of finding the story that uniquely fits the author’s unique voice.

On the other hand, if the author writes memoir or spiritual self-help books, you may have noticed that we do get into the nuances and pleasures of those genres. For instance, in my recent conversation with Tembi Locke we talked about grief and loss and love, as well as how memoirists are always asking themselves why they did what they did. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking to writing coach Alan Gelb about his new book, Seven Steps to Confident Writing. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we get into what confidence is and isn’t, as well as what’s interesting and surprising about coaching people.

Or perhaps you haven’t noticed any of this. That would certainly be my hope. I learned a while ago that my personal aesthetic – which, for the record, is pretty narrow – in no way impedes my ability to connect to writers of all kinds. The key, I discovered, is to focus on what I find most interesting about the author. I know it might seem a little backwards because an interview is supposed to be about the guest and not the host, but I simply can’t fake being interested in anything. It’s like trying to write a story I don’t want to tell. Fortunately, there’s something interesting about everyone.

And in the end the podcast and the conversations I have on it really aren’t about the guests or even writing, but about interest itself. Without interest, nothing happens. It’s the fuel that runs every creative engine. It’s possible to lose interest in this or that, or to temporarily lose interest in the things we love, but it’s impossible to lose interest all together. It’s worth remembering as you work your way through a story or just the next day of your life. Find what interests you and you’ll find your way. Don’t judge it, don’t demand anything of it, just find it and follow it, and trust that being interested is always enough because it’s all you actually want.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.