Who are you?
I’m Ernio Hernandez, a writer and artist. A born-and-bred Jersey boy with strong ties to New York City, I currently live in the very author-y haven of Connecticut.
What do you write?
Short stories mostly. (Fiction, nonfiction, humor) Some plays, songs and poetry as well. I have been writing since grade school when a visiting poet introduced us to William Carlos Williams.
I turned to journalism in high school and playwriting in college — both served me well in my post-graduate career as a theatre journalist. After leaving the business of show, I returned to more creative writing. My love of humor and drawing has also recently segued into work featured in The New Yorker.
Where do you write?
Most of my writing is done after my wife and kid have gone to bed. At that time of night, it’s most comfortable to sit on the couch with my laptop. (I edit better at a desk or table.)
Ideas pop up all day though — while in the shower, while I’m driving or just before I’m about to fall asleep — so I jot down notes or turns of phrase on my phone. (I’ve learned my lesson: overnight retention is not my thing.)
As much as I love the romantic idea of putting pen to paper, I prefer backups, legible words and the speed of getting something down with my fingertips. I’m a digital-based creative; I happily live in the cloud.
When do you write?
Pressure is my greatest muse. I’m at my best when on a deadline. I tend to marinate my ideas for a little and let them play around before actually sitting down with them. So it’s great, actually freeing at times, to have that ticking clock.
Why do you write?
Ultimately, for me. Creative expression is in my blood. It really helps me to feel myself when I write or draw or create in some way. For so long I didn’t. I wrote all day long and was getting paid for it. I bemoaned “not writing enough” not having “the time,” the “motivation,” or “energy” to sit down and do it. Then I’d see a play and think “I wish I’d come up with that…” or even “I could have written that!”
Finding like minds and other creative people really helped bring that back out in me. Whether it was taking a writing class, doing a theatre workshop or just joining an online community, I found collaborating or just encouraging and supporting others helped me.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I understand that there are ebbs and flows, as with everything in life. Knowing that, and allowing myself time off or time to soak up, helps me get through the times when I’m not producing as much. Input and output in moderation.
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Dancing and playing with my daughter, talking with and dating my wife, drawing, movies, books, playing guitar, and spending time with family.
Living my life and enjoying the downtime is absolutely part of my writing process. It took me a while to figure that out, but the process is also different for each writer. Find your balance: cut yourself some slack, but also sit down and do it.