The Talented Writers Department Part II – Interview with Joanne Macias

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Creative Writing, Culture Vulture, Entertainment, Humans, Off Campus, Tips, Western Sydney

Photo credit: Sabine Fischer | “A Woman Writing in a Notebook” | Pexels

“Who uses typewriters anyway?” is a lyric by American singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift, from her song The Tortured Poets Department. Though author Joanne Macias doesn’t use a typewriter in 2024, she likes to think of herself as part of the fictional literary club “The Talented Writers Department” … 

What’s a piece of writing advice you’d give to students who want to pursue writing as a career? 

Macias: “Always remember your strongest voice is your own. Your interests, passions and unique perspectives will always create something special.  

Another piece of advice would be always look at opportunities to write and submit – it will help develop your writing, and possibly even guide you to what the best type of writing and/or genre to suit your ‘voice’.” 

When drafting a piece, what’s the hardest part, and what’s the easiest? 

Macias: “I am a bit of a pantser; that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Depends on the story, and how long I can maintain my focus. One thing I usually struggle the most with is the ending. I like to have something punchy that can be a little bit of a mind blown moment, or perhaps just ties up the loose ends can be difficult to do succinctly. 

The easiest part is once you know your voice. Short stories can take me an hour, or could take me months, but writing in my voice makes the process easier, because I am not resisting the flow unnecessarily.” 

Author Joanne Macias | Photo Credit: Joanne Macias | WestWords Academy

Do you listen to music when you plot or conjure ideas for stories or other written pieces? 

Macias: “I am someone easily distracted, so listening to music would probably divert me from writing, and I would engage in an impromptu karaoke session instead. I do however use music to help clear my mind. It helps destress me, so if I was struggling to get focused, I may use it to get me in a mindset before starting my writing.” 

What must you do before you submit your work to journals or other publications? 

Macias: “Read it. Read it again. Do not edit just before bed.  

Read the submission requirements. It is a waste of time (and possibly money) if you submit without doing the required formatting, wrong document type, word count/line count and so on. The editors will not be afraid to reject the submission without reading. 

If there is an opportunity, read what they have previously accepted. It can give an insight to the writing style the editor and audience prefer.” 

What advice would you give emerging writers on how to deal with possible rejection? 

Macias: “It is going to happen. Even the best authors have been rejected. I met an author who had 49 publisher rejections before being accepted. She had faith in her work and believed it would find the right home, and it eventually did. It had then won multiple awards and became a best seller.   

We all put so much time, effort, and love into each piece, and for someone to say no, it can be heartbreaking. Some people say, take a day to grieve, and go again. I like to say what happens if one rejection leads you to another competition/journal that could provide greater success and better networking opportunities?  

I have had pieces rejected a few times before being published (with no amendments), so it can happen for everyone if you just believe in yourself.” 

Why do you think books and stories resonate with people so? Is it the escapism that they both provide? 

Macias: “Some people read for escapism, some for understanding and some for allowing people to feel not so alone.  

The ability to transport a reader is important to keep them engaged, but also seeing a character succeed or fail (depending on how you feel about them) can allow the reader to resonate with the story. If they resonate with the story, that can see people reread the story, or becoming a potential long-term fan of the author.” 

You can follow Joanne Macias’ writing adventures on Instagram @joanne_macias_writer  

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