1. What’s your least favorite thing about writing?

Can I say everything? I’ll do anything to avoid it. Walk the dog, take a shower, wash the dishes, reorganize my inbox. I hate writing right up until the moment I run out of time, or someone interrupts me, then all of a sudden I can’t live without it. Also, I really dislike typing. My constant journaling over the years has trained me to feel the words with the motion of handwriting. I don’t get the same good vibes when typing.

  1. Which author would you like to have a drink with (Dead or alive. Them, not you).

This is tough to answer because the thought of actually meeting and conversing with someone I admire gives me the cold sweats. I would probably clam up and spit out cliches, “I love your book sooooo much!” That said, I’d love to chat with Natalie Goldberg over milkshakes and french fries. We’d write furiously in our journals until the ink runs out of our pens.

  1. Who is your favorite author that you don’t know personally? Who is your favorite author that you do know personally?

My favorite author is Abigail Thomas, best known for her memoir A Three Dog Life. Her books remind me that it’s ok to be a person in the world with weird thoughts about life. My favorite author that I do know personally is Cija Jefferson. Her book Sonic Memories gives me that fuzzy, spine straightening feeling when you relate to every single word the author writes.

  1. What about your discipline (fiction, poetry, etc) do you wish you were better at?

I wish, oh I wish…(hands clasped, looking at stars), I wish I were a REAL writer. Nah, but seriously, I wish I had more confidence. I will dwell on an idea, a sentence, a draft, for years before telling a soul about it.

  1. What kind of creative rituals or patterns do you have?

As a Julia Cameron junkie, I practice the art of Morning Pages. Morning Pages are three, full-size, handwritten pages done in the morning before completing any tasks for the day. The pages are non-negotiable, mostly full of dribble, and a fool proof way of clearing my head and creating space for the good stuff to come through.

Bonus question: how many weddings are you going to this year?

Only one, not until October. It’s too bad, I love weddings.


Aw, shout out to Cija, our fabulous host, and equally fabulous writer! And I totally agree about journals vs typing. Even if I can’t read my own handwriting half the time, I always prefer pen and paper.

Come out to Writers & Words next month, May 8th at 7pm at Charmington’s Cafe to hear Gwen and the rest of our kickin’ lineup! 

Gwen Van Velsor writes creative nonfiction and pseudo-inspirational prose. She started Yellow Arrow Publishing, a project that publishes and supports writers who identify as women. Raised in Portland, Oregon, Gwen has moved many times, from sea to shining sea, now calling Highlandtown her forever home. Her major accomplishments include walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, raising a toddler, and being ok with life exactly as it is. Her memoir, Follow That Arrow, was published in 2016.

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