We’re sitting down with longtime PPM contributor Winonah Drake, who most of you probably know already. For this interview, however, we’re going to dig a little bit deeper into her personal writing goals and the transition she’s making from a professional scribe into a creative writer.
PPM: Winonah, one of the reasons why writing is such an interesting field is the variety of backgrounds and experiences that authors bring to their work. Can you tell us about the moment when you realized you wanted to be a writer? Did it happen all at once or was it a gradual process?
WD: Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was too young to remember. It didn't occur to me that I could be a writer until my 20's. I just didn't think I was creative enough. Once I put my mind to it, it was like a dam had been opened; everything that ever inspired me wanted a voice.
PPM: How closely does your writing mirror your own style of personal storytelling? Do you find yourself writing differently for your various projects (blogging vs. other writing)?
WD: Articles and Technical writing comes to me easily, due to my Navy IT work and college Ezine experience. Poetry is fun for all the styles it lets you experiment with. But with short stories and novels, which I'm trying to grow into, I'm still trying to find my voice.
PPM: Poetry, fiction, AND Navy IT writing? Now that is a portfolio! Followers of the Peevish Penman blog have read about how to determine where one's writing career has progressed. Where would you say you fall on that scale? Are you in a place where you're content or are you actively working to move farther along in your career?
WD: I'm still looking for my niche. Editing and Technical writing is a useful background, but I want to evolve into a creative writer. PPM, the brainchild of my creative and supportive sister, has been the perfect platform to gain support and experience to develop in a new direction.
WD: The hardest part has been finding the confidence to handle more creative writing projects. The initial idea is exhilirating, but following through can be much harder than in the technical styles I've done before. You need to know why you like to read what you do, and then you have to be able to reproduce what makes it relatable. This makes it both more appealing and more subjective than what I've done before.
PPM: Okay, now for the big question. What is your picture of the ideal writing career? Have you decided what that means yet?
WD: My ideal writing career will be to write what I like to read. Everything I read is inspiring in some way, even if I think it's completely untrue. Writing is a way to discuss why things happen the way they do. Articles let you address current concerns. Poems are a great form to express a feeling. Novels let you explore human nature. I'll keep exploring different forms, and in time, I hope to use each to its best advantage.
PPM: Well, it sounds like we’re all in for a fun ride as we join you on this journey. Winonah, thank you so much for the time, and thank you for giving us a peek inside your writing world.