BIW Member Interview
Louise Sawyer lives on Vancouver Island and loves to walk by the ocean. She is currently crafting dollhouse furniture, and is in love with Stabilo woody crayons. Louise is an online creativity coach and writes a monthly newsletter.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Louise Sawyer: I dreamed of becoming a writer when I was a teenager. In those days I was in love with grammar–possibly because story writing scared me. I was an avid reader of Cherry Ames nurse stories and Nancy Drew mysteries and I managed to write a long fiction story about a nurse for a high school assignment.
However, one summer I was babysitting full time, and when the little girl took a nap, I would sit at the dining room table and write paragraphs. I tried writing description because I thought that was what I was supposed to do, if I were to become a real writer like Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gables series. My paragraph writing was agonizing. I figured that because I wasn’t very observant I couldn’t be a writer, and I gave up.
I became a linguist missionary and ended up publishing an article on the verbal system of a Filipino dialect, as well as doing exegetical research. I also became the editor of a Canadian environmental allergy society. Now finally I love to write from my heart–poetry, essays, stories, novels, coaching exercises, and screenplays.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
Louise Sawyer: Write what you’re passionate about. I’ve learned to write about what makes me smile or is meaningful to me.
Use your intuition in writing, and just let the words flow from your finger tips. I love to feel awed and surprised by my words. BIW has been a huge blessing in my life, and taught me to just sit and write or type without worrying about the results.
Realize that it’s possible to write a page per five minutes, so that if you only have 15 minutes a day, it’s possible to write three pages a day. You don’t need to wait until things are just “right” in your life to write. I used to feel overwhelmed but now I write 15 or 20 minutes at a time.
Moe: What are you working on now?
Louise Sawyer: I’m writing a screenplay and I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t do a lot of prep work, so there have been lots of surprises along the way. I’m also doing research for my next creativity workshop and I’m in the midst of rewriting lessons from my 2007 creativity retreat. I expect to develop the teaching modules with exercises into a book.
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?
Louise Sawyer: My all-time favorite creativity book is The Artist’s Way, so I can’t help but mention it. However, one of my favorite writing books is the one I’m using right now, which is How to Write a Movie in 21 Days–The Inner Movie Method by Viki King. When I first bought this book I felt all tingly inside, and immediately wrote my first rough screenplay. I’ll never forget the experience.
Moe: What is your favorite writing website?
Louise Sawyer: National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo has been an inspiration to me. I’m using their sister site Script Frenzy as I write my current screenplay.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Louise Sawyer: Have fun! I’ll share a secret–count important e-mails where you waxed eloquent. I often do my best writing when I’m discussing issues or sharing personal experiences via e-mail, so I include them in my page count during BIW