Touring the blogosphere this month is author Tom Samuels, whose latest book, Stop Making Music, could be described as a satire on the world of the music business. Most readers will get an idea of his humorous writing after reading this witty, opinionated interview. Most interesting and refreshing are his views on editing.
Thanks for stopping by at Blogcritics Magazine today, Tom. Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
I have been told that I look like a cross between Brad Pitt and Homer Simpson only I don’t like children or beer. I began my writing career a few years ago when a college professor challenged me after reading a paper I wrote for his class. He said, “Don’t do me any more favors but feel free to torture the rest of the world with your scribbling.” I took his advice and wrote Stop Making Music!
Do you have another job besides writing?
I am employed full-time in the occupation of being a fully subsidized college student. I was becoming concerned as my senior year in undergraduate school was quickly passing by. However, I have found a graduate school that is willing to continue my education. My parents were delighted to hear that they can continue to support me.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I feel that outlines place too much pressure on the creative process. I have found that it is better not to know where your story is going or you might give up on the spot. I enjoy being surprised just as much as the reader does. John Lennon said, “I think everything that comes out of a song, which is apparently about nothing, shows something about yourself.”
Describe your working environment.
I cannot concentrate on writing unless I have piles of oily pizza boxes, countless moldy Mountain Dew soda bottles, and Milky Way wrappers surrounding my desk. It makes for a secure nest that I never want to leave. However, lately I don’t think I’m alone anymore. I have been hearing the patter of little feet and some brazen soul had the nerve to eat my last slice of pepperoni pizza. I had been saving that slice for the right moment for at least a week.
Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
Editing is for losers. If the reader doesn’t get what you meant to say then what good would several re-writes do? Editing takes away from the spontaneity of the work. I don’t want to get bogged down with having to read what I write. Thinking of the words the first time was trouble enough.
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
When a critic seems inclined to give my book a bad review, I mention the concept of “karma” to them. Nothing gives one a punch to the chakras like bad karma. Then, if the critic is still determined to voice their supercilious opinion of my work, I just begin blubbering. It gets me out of speeding tickets, too.
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
Neither, I’m an ostrich. I run when others fly. When I have a deadline I flop to the ground and remain still. I am able to eat things that other animals can’t digest.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
I type the following: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
It all began for me on my blog, when I received more attention than I deserved for my essays. I am currently creating a website, TomSamuels.com, where you will find some of my other projects. I will have some of my best voice-over recordings available such as Daffy Duck sings Cher’s hit "Believe".