David L. Price is a professional writer who recently self-published the novel Slugger and released a website that showcases his stories and photos. David is currently working on his second book, a collection of humorous articles.
David generously agreed to answer a few questions about his inspiration, his creative process, what he’s learned about self-publishing and creating a website, and more.
I hope you enjoy getting to know David as much as I have!
What are you working on now?
Hi, Sarah. Thanks very much for choosing me for this project and I’m happy to answer as well as I can.
I’m close to finishing the first draft of a book that’s a compilation of the shorter, mostly humorous articles I’ve written in my “spare time.” For most of my career, I worked in employee communications but devoted every Saturday and Sunday morning to my other writing, including Slugger, my first novel. Some of these articles have been published, either on a corporate intranet site, in commercial magazines or on my website. Maybe three-fourths of them will be articles that no one’s seen before.
What big idea inspires and drives your various creative projects?
What a great question – one that I wonder about in the shower every morning! My goal is to create stories that touch readers emotionally, spiritually and even intellectually sometimes. And I’ve always loved being able to make people laugh. I was the class clown in high school – the person that occasionally shouts out funny responses to something the teacher or another classmate said. I always received good grades in elementary school, but the teachers would often check the “Lacks Self Control” box on the back of the report card.
I’ve grown up since then, thank goodness. But I still love it when someone is reading one of my stories in the same room and I hear that person break out in laughter. I treasure those moments and am truly grateful for them.
How do you stay focused on your creative side projects and balance them with your professional work?
One of the quirks of life is that I was diagnosed with end-stage, metastasized bile duct cancer at the end of May and given only a month or two to live. Thanks to western medicine and the power of multi-denominational prayer, my chemotherapy treatments have been working very well and I’ve outlived the early predictions, with no immediate end in sight. In fact, my girlfriend who lives in Brazil moved here to be with me and we were married in early October. How about that for being optimistic?
There’s nothing quite like an impending death sentence to motivate a writer.
What does your day-to-day creative routine look like?
I’m always most creative first thing in the morning, although first thing these days could be 9:00 a.m. I typically have breakfast, read the Sports section, the advice column and the comics and then take a shower. There is something about the soothing influence of warm water flowing over me that brings me into the moment and releases my artistic mojo.
After I dress, I sit down in front of my keyboard, settle myself, plug into my muse and off I go. I’ve trained myself to keep at it, even if the creativity is not flowing so well. That’s the definition of a professional writer: Someone who can produce under any circumstances. Of course, I also procrastinate as every human being does. But most days I can produce for at least three or four hours and up to six.
Then I take a break and am probably finished for the day. I edit as I go, by the way. I will sit down the next day and edit what I wrote the day before to get into the flow, and then write more for another four hours or so. I typically insert the better jokes during these editing sessions and I have no idea why.
When I finally finish the first draft of a story, I will ruthlessly edit it over about three or four days. My goal is to tighten, tighten, tighten until the story is so tight you can bounce baseballs off it – nothing extraneous, nothing superfluous. Then it’s done and within a week I try to forget all about it and move on to the next one. This is where the most procrastination occurs. It’s hard to come up with premium ideas. A lot of sludge gets filtered out in this part of the process.
You released a website this year and self-published your novel. What did you learn about these projects that would be helpful for other writers?
I learned that it’s very helpful to talk to others who have been down the same path you’re attempting to travel. I have been very fortunate to have a mentor who is a published author and playwright. We met at one of the corporations I worked for.
The process is for me to write him an email asking if he’s available to help me with some aspect of the book-publishing process. Then we meet within a week or so at one of his favorite, low-key restaurants. I ask my questions, which I typically submit to him in advance so he can think about them, and he answers them. I show my appreciation by always picking up the tab. This helps tremendously.
As for my website, I was late getting to it. If I were to play psychologist, I’d say it involved some fear of success on my part and a fear that people wouldn’t like my little stories or my novel. I’m also a very private person and this would be a large step into having a more public life.
My advice to any writer is to read everything you can get your hands on – novels, magazines, online blogs, scientific articles, even cereal boxes. The more you read, the more you broaden your mind and see how other writers handled a topic. It also provides fertile ground for absorbing ideas for your stories. The rest is to work very hard, be aware of your talent level, dream big, smash through your fears and never give up.
Thank you David for taking time to answer my questions!
You can learn more about David, read his stories and look at his photos on his website, Apparently So.