• Fred Charles

Writing Process with Brandy W. Henry

For this week's Writing Process Interview, I'm happy to post this interview with my friend Brandy W. Henry!

Who Are You?

Hello! My name is Brandy W Henry. I am a reformed non-risk taker, lover of helping people achieve their goals, and navigating my voice out into the world. My formal education and background are in guidance and counseling, yet I’ve also worked as a Yoga Instructor, accountant, and home-school mom. I love solitude, good conversation, audio-books, podcasts, my husband and boys, and coffee.

What are three things that you absolutely need in order to write?

Three things I absolutely need to write are quiet or ambient noise, coffee, and for my kids to be otherwise busy.

Most writers have many ideas swimming around their heads competing for attention. How do you decide which idea is worth working on?

Yes! This is very true. I decide which idea to run with by assessing my internal fire on the topic. Since any writing project will be a long haul, I make sure that fire is hot. In short, I pick the topic I’m most on fire to share with the world.

When you decide on a writing project, how much do you plan upfront?

Excellent question. This one I’m still learning. For my two pure nonfiction projects, I’m definitely creating a structure. For my memoir, I’ve mostly written what needed to come out at the time. Now that I’m past the half way point, I’m writing more according to the timeline of my memoir.

All writers experience writer’s block from time to time. What you do to get unstuck?

To get unstuck, I take a break from the project. First, I make sure it’s genuinely writer’s block vs a fear I can address. If it’s not fear and indeed burnout, then I take an extended break and work on other projects and platform.

Tell me something about your writing process that is quirky and unique to you.

Love this question! Something that is quirky and unique to me about my writing process is that I get up at 4:30am every day unless I’m ill. If that’s not that quirky, does it count as quirky if I my favorite Spotify soundtrack for writing is Coffee Shop Sounds?

When are you most productive? When are you least productive?

I am most productive in spurts and when writing alongside other writers. Neither of those applies, however, if it’s after 6:30pm. I am rarely productive with my writing past 6:30/7pm.

It’s my birthday and you want to give me a book. Which book do you get me and why?

I know this one! My birthday book gift to you is Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. It’s important to understand how one is best motivated. Rubin explains how we are either externally motivated, a mix of internally and externally motivated, driven by asking lots of questions, or motivated by a rebellious nature. By knowing this, a writer can set up external expectations such as a group or coach, a mix of a internal and external expectations, by first asking lots of questions or by employing something else altogether. Happy Birthday!

Bonus Question submitted by S.M Creanza: “What is your greatest weakness as a writer and how do you overcome it?”

My greatest weakness as a writer is my grammar skill set. If we think in terms of the oughts and shoulds of a writer's natural abilities, my weakness in grammar is most glaring. Thank goodness for Grammarly, MS Word, and checking and rechecking my work. I've overcome this by pressing on, thanking those who catch my mistakes, and, most importantly, embracing the truth that voice is most important. We can hire line editors. We cannot hire someone to give us our voice. One more truth, as Brene Brown would explain it, is that we cannot learn, move forward, or work with those we admire if we're not in The Arena. When I feel self-doubt creeping in or someone's comment might bring me down, I look around and see that all the greats in The Arena too struggle with their weaknesses; and yet, they stay in. For the naysayers, I ask myself in they are in The Arena or on the sidelines. 99% of the time, they're on the sidelines.

Now, the fun part: What is one question that you want me to ask the next interviewee, not knowing who it is?

This is definitely fun! I would love for you to ask the next interviewee if they daydream of being interviewed on NPR for their work. I sure do!

What are you working on and where can readers find you?

You can find me on Instagram at @brandywhenry and at my webpage: www.brandywhenry.com

You are also welcome to connect with me via email henry.brandy@gmail.com .

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