Samantha Hoffman is the author of What More Could You Wish For, published by St. Martin’s Press, and the upcoming The Ones You Left Behind. She also writes a popular blog about life in Chicago, at www.samanthahoffman.com. She will be leading the small session “Revise Your Work” and will be on our “How Do I Find A Writing Group” panel at CWC 2015.
What does a day of work look like for you? What’s your process?
Writing is my passion, and even though I’m a published author, it’s not my means of support – it’s not easy to make a living as a fiction writer. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but for sure it won’t happen if you don’t keep writing. So my day of work is scattered around many things; my businesses as a personal assistant, an editor, private chef and employee search specialist. Lots going on! My goal is to write every day but I don’t have a regular routine for that. So, I make a commitment to write for at least five minutes every day, no matter how tired I am, or how distracted. That gets me back into my story and it gives me focus. And most often it turns into much more time than that but even if it doesn’t, I’ve gotten something done. I’m writing!
What has been the biggest help (a piece of advice, a mentor, a particular residency) for your career?
Sena Jeter Naslund said, “You can make it better later. First you must make it exist.”
That’s so true. So, what I try to remember is to let my first draft be messy, try not to edit as I go, and just get the story down. It’s the revision process that will make it cohesive and beautiful.
Why attend the Chicago Writers Conference?
It’s so motivating to be in the company of other writers. I go to at least one, sometimes two, writers conferences a year. I always learn something, I always meet interesting people and I always leave with excitement to get back to my work in progress. The Chicago Writers Conference has great speakers, interesting panel discussions and invaluable advice. There’s something for everyone, no matter what stage your writing career is at.