Thanet Writers Question Matthew Munson
I’m Matthew Munson, a born-and-bred Thanetian (I’m never sure why it’s important for people to state whether they’re born locally or in Foreign Parts, but I’ve done it now…). I’ve lived here all my life and love the area.
I’m a writer, published with Inspired Quill, of fantasy & science-fiction, and an advocate on disability issues, as well as a campaigner for free speech, a free press, and anything else that makes me cross.
Writing’s in the genes. My dad was a journalist for nigh on half a century, moving between news and sports, as well as being an avid non-fiction reader, and my mum takes great pleasure from fiction. That was definitely passed onto me, and so I was always allowed to explore my creative side.
What really began it for me as a writer, however, is having the desire to write. It’s as close to a physical pain as it’s possible to describe if I ever can’t write; it’s who I am. I also am fuelled with a deep annoyance at the amount of bad writing out there; I remember reading some atrocious books as a child—fan fiction, mostly—and thinking, What the hell is this? You’ve actually published this? Bloody idiots. That’s not to say I’m a particularly great writer—my output is for others to judge—but I’m a passionate writer who’s keen to learn and get better, and seeing the bad writing out there made e determined to learn the craft as much as I could.
Social issues influence me a lot; I love fantasy and science fiction as genres because you can develop allegories and examine social issues in depth whilst getting beneath their skin. I like that challenge; just look at Star Trek and the things they discussed, from race to women’s issues and everything in between.
I’m also influenced by other writers; I see them being creative in their own fields, and want to understand how they deal with situations—how they craft their stories. I have a good network of writer friends that are really my… well, union, I guess you could call it.
I couldn’t imagine not writing. I find it hard to relate to people, sometimes, who don’t have that urge; who can pick up and put down a pen at all and leave their writing for months before starting it up again. That baffles me. It’s a deep-seated urge that compels me to write; I’ve got a lot of interests, but only one compulsion—writing.
I’m also motivated by wanting to tell a story or communicate an idea… or even to ask a question. Why does this have to happen? What would everything look like if that occurred instead? How do I share those questions? A straight article or through fiction? I want to share and communicate ideas. I’ve occasionally written alternate universe fiction, because you can explore a “What if” in a different way, and I just want to explore that “What if?”
I write every day. I don’t intend that to sound glib as it probably does sound; it’s true, however, that writing every day is so absolutely key to being productive.
I get up at 5am and write for a strict hour; I can usually fit in a good thousand words on my fiction work, in free form style without any pre-planning. I’ll then do thirty minutes or so over lunch-time, usually on a blog post. Then in the evening, I’ll look over my fiction from the morning and make any corrections, then work on some non-fiction—I’ve got a project I’m trying to analyse and get off the ground, so I’ll work on that for a couple of hours.
In between all of that, I’ll be doing research; listening to an audiobook or the paper equivalent, watching a podcast, making notes on a particular area of whatever’s most on my mind. I make every day count.
Anything and everything. My science-fiction book which is coming out in September 2017 was originally inspired from a picture on the front of a jigsaw box; I immediately saw it and thought, “What if…?” I couldn’t get the story out of my head, so started to flesh it out.
I’ve been inspired by a line of text, a snippet of conversation, something I’ve seen when out for a walk… it’s all about being open to experiences. As a writer, you never entirely switch off, or you shouldn’t do—not if you want to find fresh ideas.
A lack of confidence in my own abilities holds me back from putting to paper occasionally. I should say that I don’t feel held back a lot; I will make myself write on those rare days when it feels like I’m wading through treacle. But one thing that never holds me back is time; yes, I’d love more of it, but I’m still productive. I’ve carved out a routine that works for me and gives me enough time to write every single bloody day, and anyone who can’t find at least thirty minutes in their day for writing is not passionate enough. If that sounds harsh, then so be it; writing is important, so find the time.
My greatest achievements have got to be my published work. I’ve had two full-length fantasy novels published, and featured in two anthologies. To have that honour once is truly amazing; to have it four times is mind-expanding.
Also, I think the fact that my blog is taking off more now, and I’m being recognised for the short stories and the discussion topics I put up there. That I get responses to my pieces, and it sparks of discussion and debate, is brilliant, and not something I would have considered until fairly recently—it’s inspired me to write far more across a broader spectrum, and I’m proud of that.
WRITE EVERY DAY.
I’m working on a couple things right now; a sequel (already) for the book coming out later this year, and this non-fiction I mentioned earlier. I’m not entirely sure where that’s leading me right now, so I’m doing a lot of reading and research on that, and then letting the creativity flow in a different direction with my fiction. It does feel odd, writing a sequel to a book that’s not even out yet, but it pays to be prepared.
Well, I have a book coming out in September 2017, and I’m just waiting for the edits to come back to me any day now. So that’s going to take up a lot of my time over the next few months, as well as discussing all the stuff that goes with it; marketing, communications, a book launch. Inspired Quill, fortunately, are able to give their expertise on all that, so that really helps.
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© 2017 Matthew Munson
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.