Tuesday, September 09, 2008

10th Anniversary Feature: Uma Krishnaswami

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of www.cynthialeitichsmith.com, I asked some established authors--folks I'd featured early on--the following question:

Over the past decade, what are the most important lessons you've learned about your craft, the writing/artistic life, and/or publishing, and why?

Here's the first reply, this one from author Uma Krishnaswami:

About my craft, I have learned that the journey is everything. Every time I start a new work, I am beginning all over again.

Someone said to me the other day, "But you know how to write novels and picture books."

And I replied. "No. I know how to write the novels and the picture books that I have written. The next ones that come along, I'll have to learn how to write them, and each one will be different."

About the writing life: it's a roller coaster, and it always will be. You have to embrace the downturns, more than just expecting that they'll come and bracing yourself.

I practice tai chi, and it's a bit like yin and yang. The positive energy is great, but the negative allows you to pull back, return to being grounded again.

I've also learned that teaching feeds my writing. When I'm so busy with teaching that I don't even have time to write--that's when the ideas begin catching fire or I make breakthroughs in work in which I thought I'd lost my way.

About publication: I've learned not to pay attention to trends, and to treat "the market" as a giant conversation of books. And most of all, to write what I want to write.


Read a Cynsations interview with Uma.

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