Who Are You?
I’m Samara Breger and I’m a writer based in New York.
What Do You Write?
I write the sort of books I want to read, which are primarily about women falling in love. I really like language. I squirrel away words I enjoy from other books and use them in my work. I keep lists of interesting turns of phrase in my notes app and in notebooks. I get a lot of enjoyment out of finding the exact word to invoke a particular feeling. I also have fun with the intricacies of writing romance. Who are these two people, and why are they falling in love? Why are they drawn to one another? Which of their qualities will bring out the best in the other? How do they grow and change just by being together?
Where Do You Write?
I have a home office, which I’ve decorated with a lot of things I’ve gotten at estate auctions. A few years ago, my wife won a number of ridiculous erotic objects at auction. They make me happy every time I see them. As far as writing tools, my most valuable possession is my no-tick timer. I rely on the pomodoro method, and my timer is so handy. There are plenty of phone apps that measure out pomodoros, but find that as soon as I grab my phone, it’s over. I have to keep my phone out of sight or else I’m playing Two Dots. Everything I write is drafted in Scrivener. It does all the difficult organization for me, and really allows me to pull back and see everything I’ve written. As a writer with ADHD, I am keenly aware that if I don’t have eyes on something, it doesn’t exist for me. Scrivener keeps everything at eye-level.
When Do You Write?
I like to work out, have a therapy session, and/or answer emails in the morning. Writing starts after lunch, because I find that starting before lunch means that lunch will interrupt my groove. Sometimes I forget to eat, so limiting that writing flow state to the afternoon means I don’t have to worry about missing a meal. I set myself up at my desk, where I’ve got my ergonomic keyboard and my wrist rest. I got a gnarly cyst on my wrist while finishing my last book, so now I’m hyper aware of good typing habits. The keyboard also lights up in fun colors, which I appreciate. If I’m working on an actual book, I’ll go through a few pomodoros. If I’m doing research, I’ll usually groan and push myself around in my wheelie office chair for a while. I find that complaining out loud helps dispel the grumpiness. If I’m writing, I’ll often set a really low word count goal so I feel accomplished. When I’m happy with myself, I’m a better writer, so I stack the deck.
Why Do You Write?
I’ve done a lot of jobs that I liked in theory, but I hated the actual day-to-day. I actually enjoy writing. It just makes me happy. It took a long time to find something that brought me consistent joy, so I plan to do my best to keep this one going as long as possible.
How Do You Overcome Writer’s Block?
Staring at a blank wall is a good one. I find that my thoughts can totally free associate when I’m actively doing nothing. Another is just starting my pomodoro timer and forcing myself to write words. They’ll probably be terrible words, but they’ll be words, and that’s what matters most of all. In the end it’s just butt in chair, words on paper. I remind myself of that when I’m stuck. Just put my butt in the chair and vomit up a few words and take it from there.
Bonus: What Do You Enjoy Doing When Not Writing?
I really like olympic weightlifting. I’d never been a particularly athletic person, but it turns out I hadn’t found the right sport. Having short legs is an advantage! Who knew! I also love my wife and my dog, and it’s super tempting to just spend every day with them and avoid doing any work. It helps that my wife actually has to work, too.
My thanks to Samara Breger for today’s interview.