When Do You Write? MARY AKERS


People approach grief in different ways. Some people pray about it. Some people meditate. Others blog or get counseling. Many people do a mix of all of the above.

Might I throw in another suggestion? Read one of the best online literary magazines out there: r.kv.r.y. (It sounds like “recovery.”) r.kv.r.y. offers fiction, essays, and poetry for the broken-hearted. It is the literary salve for emotional wounds. I have yet to find its equal when it comes to band-aids for the soul.

This beautifully crafted online magazine is a testament to its gifted editor, Mary Akers.

I worked with Mary some time ago when she selected my essay, Beadwork, to appear in an issue of r.kv.r.y. It was a tough essay for me to write, and an even tougher piece for me to submit. But Mary is the kind of dream-editor all writers wish for. She is kind and sensitive– a writer’s editor, so to speak. But I suppose that’s because she has widely published her own essays and short stories. Which begs the question– as the editor of a major online literary magazine—

WHEN DOES SHE WRITE?

You know how beauty magazines recommend you change your shampoo every so often because your hair gets used to that one shampoo and starts to get dull? Well, that’s me with writing. It’s taken me a few years to realize this. I used to think a routine was best. And actually, when I had small children at home, it was. A writing routine was the only way I could get work done. Well, that and the stolen moments washing dishes or showering or driving when my mind would finally have a chance to wander and I might come up with a great idea that I would have to write down immediately or forever lose. It was a hectic time of my life, but it did create a sense of “urgency” in the writing. Writing back then served as my guilty pleasure–the one thing I did for me.

But I’m happy (and sad) to report that I have many more free hours these days (and my shirts have fewer chocolate hand prints and spit-up stains on them). And as a result I seem to write better when I shake things up myself. I might take my laptop into another room to work, or spend two nights a week staying up past midnight to write, or write everything longhand outside and then transcribe it later. I even switch between projects now, too, where before I had been so regimented. Maybe I actually miss those hectic days raising little ones and shaking up my writing routine helps recreate a sense of urgency and excitement.

BIO:  Mary Akers’ debut short story collection, WOMEN UP ON BLOCKS, won the 2010 IPPY gold medal for short fiction and she co-authored a non-fiction book (ONE LIFE TO GIVE) that has sold in seven countries. She is Editor-in-chief of the online journal r.kv.r.y. and co-founder of the Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology. She received a Pushcart 2012 Special Mention and has published a book of short performance pieces for use in high school dramatic reading competitions (MEDUSA’S SONG AND OTHER STORIES). She blogs at http://www.maryakers.blogspot.com

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Want more WHEN DO YOU WRITE? Come back here on Thursday!

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4 thoughts on “When Do You Write? MARY AKERS

  1. I really enjoy this series. It introduces me to writers, blogs, and ideas.

    BTW – I just read “Beadwork” yesterday. Very sad (and I am sorry for your loss). And yet, it ends on a positive note and full of hope. I could picture your mother with her beads. Also, it was so beautifully written.

  2. I’m always impressed with people who can switch between projects. I get such tunnel vision it’s tough for me to switch gears.

  3. I can’t switch between projects at all, Jocelyn! I have to do only one thing at a time!

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