with Meaghan Strimas
HLR: How do you schedule time to write?
MC: When the kids were younger, I tried to treat the writing like a day job. When they went off to school I sat down at the desk. And my writing day was over when I went to pick them up. There's a little less pressure to make use of a particular stretch of time these days. Generally I write mornings into the early afternoon still. But If I want to write in the evenings, I can. And often do.
HLR: What obstacles (real and imagined) make it a challenge for you to find time to write, and how have you dealt with them?
MC: I've been a full-time writer for fifteen years or more now. So I don't have the same issues I did when I was trying to steal time from a day job. The biggest obstacle now is the sense a lot of writers have that we're not really “working,” that our time is flexible and therefore available for other things. I often get asked or volunteer to look after tasks because, well, I'm free. A word minimum has been a real help with this. 500 a day at the very least. And until I have that, I'm sorry, I can't help you take your old chesterfield to the dump.
HLR: Do you find you work better when your schedule is clear, or when you are pressed to find time?
MC: Some combination of those two works best for me. I need a deadline pressing enough that there is some question as to whether I'll be able to make it. AND, a clear stretch of time between me and that deadline.
Michael Crummey has published nine books of poetry and fiction. Galore won the Canadian Authors' Association Fiction Award, the Commonwealth Prize (Canada & Caribbean Region), and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Award and the Governor-General's Award. Sweetland was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Governor-General's Award, the Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and the BMO Winterset Award. His most recent poetry collection Under the Keel (Anansi, 2013) was shortlisted for the E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize. He lives in St. John's.