Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Gail Gilchriest! Gail is teaching a section of One-Hour TV I (Reg# 384231) in our Remote Instruction format, with live Zoom class meetings on Tuesdays at 7pm PT this Winter. She sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.

What sparks your creativity?
Doing anything but writing seems to generate the best ideas. When I’m stuck or at a loss for inspiration, I get up from my desk and go for a walk or a swim or lunch with a friend. Sometimes offering notes or thoughts on someone else’s creative work can help me to see the way forward in my own.

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
Deadline panic helps me work. I’m a procrastinator and there’s nothing like having someone on my back to finish something to hurry me along. And when I’m in a hurry, I’m less critical of my own work and the writing flows better. It may not be as good when I’m on deadline, but it gets done and can then be improved upon.

What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
I have lots of favorites in no particular order. As for writers, I like the work of Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Carson McCullers — perhaps because their biographies are similar to my own. I also like the work of Amor Towles. As far as movies, different movies appeal to me for different reasons and at different times.  I like epics like Gone with the Wind and Dr. Zhivago, and anything with Peter Sellers. Recent favs include Can You Ever Forgive Me and Moonrise Kingdom.

What’s your favorite quote about writing?
I can write faster than anybody who writes better, and better than anybody who writes faster.

Photo from Scribner

Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
Stephen King. He writes every day no matter what.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
I like hearing and reading other people’s stories, and helping other writers learn to unlock the narrative puzzles they create. Also, see answer #1: Sometimes helping another writer untangle a story knot leads to inspiration in my own work.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
Writing, especially writing well, is hard work. In my course, I hope to give students the tools they need to approach that work without fear or intimidation.

Anything else?
When collaborating to break a story, writers rely on their own personal experiences which leads to a unique camaraderie that’s almost always fun.

Thank you to Gail for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!

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