Interview: Cathie Devitt

Cathie Devitt has a phrase on her blog that says, “Sometimes it’s good to write things down. You can look back, laugh, cry or just contemplate your life and where you are going, or have been. It’s good to share… “

I couldn’t agree more! It’s also one reason I like doing these interviews. It’s fun to look back on them and see what writers have to say about the craft, books they’re reading, and anything else they feel like chatting about. Enjoy this interview.

You wrote (and starred in) your first play when you were 11! That’s quite an accomplishment. It’s interesting how early the love of writing appears. What was the play about? Do you still write plays?

The play was a take-off of Cinderella set in contemporary Glasgow in the 1960’s. As I was still at primary school I had license to characterize some of my less popular teachers.

Yes. I have synopsis for 3 One Act Plays on my website.

You offer creative writing workshops for writers. How do these help writers improve their craft?

My workshops are not based on the technicalities of writing. I introduce performance and role-play to jump start the creativity that we all have within us. This is peppered with writing exercises that many students have expanded on later. Some have gone on to be published as short stories and poetry.

You’re a true blue working writer. How can writers balance a freelance writing job that pays the bills with their dream of writing a novel or play?

For me, creative writing is an itch that needs to be scratched.You can ignore it for only so long. You look after your mental and physical health, so take care of your soul. Your talent deserves to be nurtured.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I have booked a writers retreat for 5 days. Far away from home and family commitments. No internet or telephone reception. Just me and my wee lap-top snuggled up in a hut in the woods. Bliss!.

I will take my draft novel, edit and polish it, ready to release into the jaws of agents and publishers.

I will continue to facilitate workshops to encourage others to realize their creative potential.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

There are so many.

As a youngster-

Heidi-Johanna Spyri

The Little Match Girl– Hans Christian Anderson

The Outsiders– S.E. Hinton

More recently-

Girlfriend in a Coma– Douglas Copeland

Fingersmith-Sarah Waters

Five Quarters of the Orange-Joanne Harris

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

I don’t suffer from writer’s block. I always have ideas floating around in my head, even when asleep. I love people watching. Observing situations and reactions is all fuel for writing. If a writer feels a bit jaded or stale I suggest thinking of a recent event and “What if…?”

What if a different decision was taken? What if I took a different road?

Go for a walk. Take a bath. Meditate. Mind map/Brainstorm a random word. Listen to music. Take a newspaper headline (don’t read the article) and write to the headline, be as far out and imaginative as you like.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

One who writes. I don’t base success in financial or publishing terms. If you have an 80,000 word novel gathering dust under the bed you are a successful writer. But don’t you owe it to the word hungry world to let them feast on your creation?

Advice for other writers?

Don’t take rejection of your work as a rejection of you. Think of it as “their loss”. Don’t pontificate. Don’t get bogged down in reading how other writers write/manage their day. We all have 24 hours in a day.

Read, mingle with other writers, accept advice and decide if it’s right for you. Share your knowledge and skills with other writers.


Where can we learn more about you?

My website.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Be true to yourself.

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