Writing can be a lonely profession. You sit hunched over the keyboard for hours (or days or weeks), typing away in solitude. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of opportunities to connect with other writers, whether it’s at a local book club or online through social media. And if you do get the opportunity to talk to another writer, it can be helpful (and inspiring) to ask them a few questions about their work.
We’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask writers to facilitate great conversations. These questions cover everything from what inspires them to how they approach their work. So the next time you talk to a writer, use one of these questions as a starting point and see where the conversation leads!
59 Questions to ask writers:
- What prompted you to start writing in the first place? Was there a particular event or person that inspired you?
- When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
- What are your long-term goals as a writer?
- What do you like to write about?
- How long does it usually take you to write a book?
- What is your favorite book?
- What are your favorite genres and why?
- Were there any books that played a role in your development as a writer? Were there any books that made you think, “I could do this!” or “I want to write something like this!” ?
- Who are some of your favorite writers?
- Who are some of your writing influences?
- How often do you write?
- What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a writer?
- What has been your most successful writing project?
- Why do you think it was successful?
- Do you prefer to write alone or with someone else?
- How do you stay motivated and disciplined when it comes to writing?
- How do you handle rejection or criticism?
- How do you deal with writer’s block?
- How do you usually get ideas about what to write about?
- Do you plan each step of your writing process before you begin, or do you let the story “take control” and follow its path?
- Do you prefer to write in first-person perspective or third person? Why?
- Do you prefer to write short pieces or longer ones?
- What kind of topics do you prefer to write about?
- Do you consider yourself a creative writer or more of a journalist?
- What is your editing process like?
- Do you edit as you write, or do you wait until the piece is ready before you start editing?
- Do you have any unusual or interesting writing rituals?
- Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
- Do you have any other creative pursuits besides writing? If so, which ones and how do they influence your writing?
- Are there certain times or places that inspire you when you write?
- What happens when you feel uninspired?
- Have you ever had a “Eureka!” moment while writing? If so, would you share it with us?
- Who is your target audience?
- How do you make sure your writing is accessible and relatable to your target audience?
- Do some of your stories have personal meaning to you – either because they are based on something that happened in real life, or because they touch on an issue that is important to you? Can you tell us about that experience/issue and how it influenced your writing process?
- Are any of your characters based on people you know in real life (even if only loosely )? Can you tell us about that process-how much of yourself or people you know do you put into your characters, and why did you choose to base them on those people?
- What do you think is the best way to hook a reader’s attention?
- What do you think is the best way to keep the reader’s attention throughout a story?
- Do you think that writers have a responsibility to their readers that goes beyond just entertaining them or giving them information? If so, what would you say is that responsibility?
- Do you think that writers should write about what they know, or should they challenge themselves by writing about things they know nothing about?
- What role do research and fact-checking play in your writing process?
- Have you ever had an idea for a story that was just too unusual or controversial for anyone to publish? If so, would you share it?
- Are there any topics or genres you would never write about, no matter how much money was offered? Why not?
- Do you think there is anything that can not be effectively communicated through writing?
- Do you think writing can be learned, or is it something you are born with?
- What are the biggest challenges of getting anything published today?
- What are the biggest challenges facing writers today, and how do you think they can be overcome?
- Do you think traditional publishing will eventually be replaced by self-publishing and e-books, or do you think there will always be a market for physical books?
- Do ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) have a place in literature or are they just gimmicks?
- What do you think makes a good piece of writing?
- What are some things you think make a piece of writing bad?
- Do you think there is such a thing as objective writing, or is all writing inherently subjective?
- What are the worst literary crimes you have seen (clichés, info dumps, etc.)?
- If one of your books were made into a movie, who would you suggest for the lead role(s)?
- Has anyone encouraged or discouraged you on your writing journey? Who was it and what did they say?
- What do you hope people take away from your writing?
- What is the best advice you have ever received?
- What is the worst advice about writing you have ever received?
- Do you have any final words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?
12 Questions to ask writers about their recent piece:
- What inspired you to write this piece?
- What did you hope to achieve with this piece?
- What do you think is the most important aspect of this piece?
- What do you think is the most interesting thing about this piece?
- What do you think is the most unique aspect of this piece?
- What do you think makes this piece different from other similar pieces?
- What do you think is the most important message in this piece?
- What do you think is the most memorable thing about this piece?
- How did you choose the words and images in this piece?
- How did you structure this piece?
- Did anything unexpected happen while writing this piece?
- Was there anything you had to leave out of this piece that you wish you had included?
Frequently Asked Questions
What problems do writers face?
One of the many problems writers face is the lack of constructive feedback. Often, writers are left to their own devices and do not know if they are on the right track or not. In addition, many writers feel isolated and alone with their work, which may lead to self-doubt and insecurity. Finally, the business side of writing can be difficult: competitions, publishing rights, and marketing all play a role in the success or failure of a writer’s career.
What causes writer’s block?
There are many possible causes of writer’s block, including lack of inspiration, fear of failure, self-doubt, and perfectionism. Other possible causes include stress, anxiety, and procrastination. Often, the best way to overcome writer’s block is to simply start writing, even if it’s not perfect. Other strategies for overcoming writer’s block include brainstorming, taking breaks, and getting feedback from others.
What are writing strategies?
One common strategy is to brainstorm before beginning to write. This can help organize your thoughts and make the writing process easier. Another strategy is to read what you have written aloud to check for errors and clarity. It can also be helpful to take breaks during the writing process to come back to the work with a fresh mind. Ultimately, it’s important to find strategies that work best for you and practice them regularly.
Why is the writing process important?
The writing process is important because it allows writers to plan, revise, and edit their work before submitting it for publication. It also allows them to get feedback from others and make changes based on that feedback. The writing process helps writers produce high-quality, error-free papers.
Questions such as these help us remember that behind every great writer is an interesting person with quirks and habits that make them who they are. While we will never be able to know everything about our favorite writers, questions like these can help us feel closer to them and help us understand and appreciate their work even more!
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