Do you break up writing sessions with physical activity? I know people who make it a point to mix weight-lifting sets into their writing and working sessions. I’ve tried it, and, well, it’s hard to remain motivated. In today’s interview, Elizabeth Gould shares that pushups are crucial to overcoming writer’s block. That’s one I’m going to consider! Enjoy today’s interview and check out her novel, The Well of Truth.
Who Are You?
My name is Elizabeth Gould. I am a California native living on the South Island of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Over the past two decades, I have been educating girls at puberty and am the former director of a nonprofit dedicated to promoting positive menstrual education and awareness. One of my passions is helping women understand and appreciate the intelligence of the female body and how it connects us to the cycles of the natural world.
What Do You Write?
I was given my first journal book, complete with lock and key, on my ninth birthday. Because I grew up in a large family where I didn’t have much privacy, the journal became a special place to record my thoughts and reflections. As a kid, I loved writing poems, plays, and little stories. Over the years, I lugged around several boxes filled with my old journals whenever I moved house. I couldn’t bear to throw them away…until Covid lockdown! Being at home for an extended period of time, I read through every one and then ceremoniously burned them all. That was extremely cathartic.
Because I associate writing with self-discovery, it’s a pleasure to sit down at my desk. The hardest part is carving out the space for this to happen! Short stories are my preferred genre of writing- I find them very satisfying.
Where Do You Write?
Though I love the idea of writing in a bustling coffee shop, I get too easily distracted. I can concentrate better in a quiet setting. I rarely set word count goals for myself- that feels too stressful! Though I prefer to write down my thoughts in a notebook and later transfer my scribbles onto the computer, sometimes it’s easier to sit down at the keyboard and see what happens.
From my desk, I can see trees and distant hills. I like to be able to cast my eyes out into the natural world while I am organizing my thoughts.
When Do You Write?
I love writing in the morning when my mind feels most fresh. For a while, I tried waking up at 4:30 am to write, which was a powerful experience. However, after a few weeks, it was clear to me that it wasn’t a sustainable practice because I could barely stay awake at dinnertime!
There are certain rituals that help me get focused before I sit down at my desk. I like to take a sunrise walk or put on some music and dance. A hot drink, the fragrance of essential oils like rose or lavender, and a lit candle all encourage the Muse to come visit me while I write.
Why Do You Write?
Writing connects my inner landscape to the larger world around me. Because I write from the heart, it is important that my words are coherent and authentic.
How Do You Overcome Writer’s Block?
If I feel stuck, I will get up from my desk and drink a glass of water. Or eat a snack. Sometimes I will stretch or do a few push-ups. Stepping outside to feel the sunlight on my skin invigorates me. The trick is to keep the break under 5 minutes, or else I will get sidetracked.
Bonus: What Do You Enjoy Doing When Not Writing?
Because I was trained as an art historian, I love going to museums and art galleries. I love all kinds of art, though I am particularly interested in contemporary art initiatives focused on diversity, gender equity, and inclusion. I am also fascinated by the NFT art world.
My thanks to Elizabeth Gould for today’s interview.