Chadwick Ginther on Practical Matters

Chadwick Ginther is the author of Thunder Road (Ravenstone Books), a fantasy in which the larger-than-life personalities and monsters of Norse mythology lurk hidden in Manitoba. A sequel, Tombstone Blues, is set for Fall 2013. His short stories have found a home in On SpecTesseracts and the Fungi anthology from Innsmouth Free Press; his reviews and interviews have appeared in Quill and QuireThe Winnipeg Review and Prairie Books NOW. A bookseller for over ten years, when he’s not writing his own stories, he’s selling everyone else’s. He lives and writes in Winnipeg.

How do you decide what you’ll work on, when you sit down to write?

I’m a total pantser (as in, by the seat of) when it comes to writing, so the short answer is a simple one: whatever I feel like. If I’m in the middle of a project, or chasing a deadline, what I feel like gets narrowed down somewhat by necessity.

Do you keep a writing schedule, with any sort of quotas?

I do have a writing schedule, which is still somewhat in flux as I try to build up a new routine following a change in my day job. I aim for between 500-1000 handwritten words per day divided between my bus ride to and from work and my lunch break, and 2000 new words a day on my weekends. While I used to spend my mornings before work trying to sneak out an extra page or two, now I use them to transcribe the previous day’s work. I don’t have a hard and fast goal for weekly or monthy word counts, but every month I write up a blog post about my goals for that month, and if I set a target for myself, I name it there. It keeps me honest, and because forcing myself to hit those self-set goals helps build the discipline to make your paying deadlines.

What stops you from writing?

The business of writing is what usually stops me from putting down new words these days. Updating my website, blogging, attending conferences, having to stop in the middle of a new story because the edits from the previous story have arrived, that sort of thing. I also freelance as a reviewer and interviewer, and I find it hard to work on my own fiction when one of those articles comes up. I am definitely a creature of momentum and inertia. and when I’m flying on a project, it’s all I want to do. Unfortunately, once I’ve been interrupted, I find it hard to avoid the siren call of social media and get started again.

What is the worst advice about writing you’ve ever heard or received?

There’s so much of it! To narrow all of my bad advice down to a generality, I’d say generalities. Anytime advice sounds like “the way I succeeded as a writer is the only way that you can” is terrible advice. Every writer is different and the only constant in the industry is that it keeps changing.

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