Write Now with Bruce McCandless

In today’s Write Now interview, Bruce McCandless describes how the items on his desk motivate him to write.

Write Now with Bruce McCandless
Photo courtesy of Bruce McCandless

In today’s Write Now interview, Bruce McCandless describes how the items on his desk motivate him to write. His explanation is simple and fantastic and has me thinking about the things on my desk. There’s an assortment of books, a few Star Wars LEGO creations, a plant in need of watering, and a fidget spinner. Do these motivate me to write or provide outlets for times of distraction? You be the judge. Either way, enjoy Bruce’s interview.

Who Are You?

I’m a sixty-year-old writer who lives in Austin, Texas. I practiced law here and in New York City for twenty-five years before retiring in 2019.

What Do You Write?

Generally speaking, I write historical fiction with elements of horror and science fiction. However, I have also written a biography/memoir titled Wonders All Around: The Incredible True Story of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II and the First Untethered Flight in Space, which was a new experience for me but has turned out to be my second most popular book. I started writing when I was nine years old, penning a short “novel” about my friends and me, imagined as World War II fighter pilots. With a combination of uncanny skill, brilliant daring, and crazy good luck, we managed to beat the Nazis and win the war. I love producing things — books are such cool objects to hold and contemplate — but writing is way too hard for me to say I love it. I love having written — how’s that? I don’t really avoid any themes, though my books aren’t big on romance.

Where Do You Write?

I have two wooden desks set at right angles to each other to read on one and write on the other. I sit near a window in my office above our garage, for natural light, and I work on a balky, periodically overheated Dell laptop. The room is a mess. I have lots of books nearby to remind myself that producing one is not impossible.

When Do You Write?

I typically write for a couple of productive hours, with an hour or two of fiddling-around and/or social media mixed in. I’m not very productive or systematic, but I’m persistent.

Why Do You Write?

Not sure. I’ve felt a compulsion to do it since I was very young. For some reason, it seems important to create these little worlds where people wander off to meet their fates, for better or worse. I write to finish, though it’s not always clear what “finished” really is, given that something could always be changed and/or improved upon.

How Do You Overcome Writer’s Block?

I don’t think there’s a particularly good way. Sometimes it helps to stop staring at the problem and let your subconscious mind kick it around a bit while you’re not looking. And in the end, if you can’t get over the problem, maybe go around it.

Bonus: What Do You Enjoy Doing When Not Writing?

All kinds of things! Walking, running, biking, playing soccer or ultimate frisbee. Reading, of course. Watching movies. And drinking coffee (morning) and whiskey (at night).

A version of this article also appeared on Medium.