What was the first story you wrote as a child? In high school, I wrote an “autobiography” about growing up on a circus train while being raised by the monkeys and lion tamer. All of that is clearly false (or is it?), but the teacher never instructed our autobiography needed to be true. In today’s Write Now interview, Trevor J. Houser talks about his first story and how that uniqueness still fuels his writing today.
Who are you?
Trevor J. Houser. Advertising copywriter. I live with my family in Seattle, WA.
What do you write?
The first book I wrote was a five-page comic in second grade titled BLUE JAY. It was about a blue jay who had machine guns strapped to his wings. His arch-enemy was Red Robin, who robbed banks, obviously. I don’t write much about vigilante birds anymore, but I always try to write with some depth of feeling and poetry and strangeness. I like to blend the surreal and the mundane, and often there’s some convergence of sadness and humor.
Where do you write?
My favorite place to write was the little pantry in our old San Francisco apartment. It had a nice big window overlooking a wooden fire escape that opened up to the fog above. I lined the inside with books, and it felt very Jack Kerouac-y in there. Now I just write in our bedroom. It’s the quietest room in the house.
When do you write?
My ideal time to write is in the afternoon. To start after lunch and go till the cocktail hour. But mostly I write in the early evenings because of work. I don’t really set goals per writing session. I like to accomplish a certain number of pages each week, so it doesn’t matter to me how I get there. Usually, I set a low bar so that I surprise myself with how incredibly well I’m doing.
Why do you write?
I try not to think too much about why. It just seems to happen, and I like when it happens, and I don’t want it to stop happening.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I try to take breaks a lot and not put too much pressure on myself. I work hard, but when I’m not writing, I try not to think about it. And sometimes, that’s when I seem most open to a new idea or direction with the thing I’m working on.
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
I like to crack open a good bottle of wine and an old recipe book.
My thanks to Trevor J. Houser for today’s interview.