Write Now with Lindsey Salatka
“For me, ‘writing schedule‘ is an oxymoron. I procrastinate like crazy, so I often write late at night.”
Do you have a writing schedule? I, like Lindsey, do not. Granted, I freelance full-time, so I try to adhere to a typical workday. Though staring at a screen all day is not good for the body, it also doesn’t magically make the words flow. So, I write in spurts and around breaks. Enjoy Lindsey’s interview.
Who are you?
My name is Lindsey Salatka, and I’m an author, editor, and ghostwriter. I’m based in San Diego, CA.
What do you write?
I mostly write fiction, and my debut novel, Fish Heads and Duck Skin, will be released on July 20th by She Writes Press. I also dabble in personal essays which can be found on my blog, Fishheadology, and in the anthology, Shaking the Tree. Bold. Brazen Memoir.
I started writing as a latchkey kid with time on my hands and no siblings to poke (I am the youngest of three but my sibs are much older than me and weren’t home after school. Not really that much older, but I hope they read this and think that was rude. Poke poke.).
In my writing, I avoid gore and overt sadness in the interest of sanity and keeping levity as a crucial component in how I operate. However, because my characters are human, they have heavy moments. I don’t write science fiction or romance yet, but who knows? Maybe someday I will give those genres a go.
I absolutely love writing. For me writing brings peace, sanity, and clarity to an otherwise crazy, confusing, and chaotic world.
Where do you write?
I have three kids, so I do a fair amount of writing in the Google Drive app on my phone while waiting for them in my car in various parking lots. I use Scrivener when I can, but I really wish it were cloud-based. (Scrivener, are you hearing me? Help a gal out!) I often use noise cancellation headphones when I write at home because my “office” is in the corner of the living room.
When do you write?
For me, “writing schedule” is an oxymoron. I procrastinate like crazy, so I often write late at night. My ideas come when I sleep, walk, or drive, so I write those down in the notes section of my phone and then, when I have time to sit, I flesh them out. I don’t have a typical writing session, and I definitely don’t have a word count goal. I’m just happy if I can string a few words together that make sense and feel right. Maybe someday I will have a typical writing session? Hard to imagine. I write when I feel inspired or have a deadline.
Why do you write?
I don’t know if I have much of a choice in the matter — my body has to write. I’m not saying I’m divinely inspired, but it was clear to me from early on that words-on-page is how I like to communicate, and the response I get is mostly positive and attracts the kind of people I like to surround myself with. I write when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m mad — pretty much every emotion gets me in the headspace to write. Fatigue and stress do not help, but I’m human, so those times come, and when they do, I try to remind myself that this too shall pass.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I take a break and know that inspiration will strike again, hopefully sooner than later.
Sometimes when I’m stuck, I will plant a problem in my mind before I go to bed. For example, I may feel a chapter in the new book falls flat or doesn’t fit in the sequence of events well. Then I will ask myself to work it out in my sleep. I don’t always wake with the answer, but ideas for a fix will usually trickle in over the next few days when I do this; I just have to ask the question and be receptive.
Other times I’ll ask friends for ideas. I don’t often go with their suggestions, but the resulting conversation may trigger the solution I need. My writing group has always been an amazing source of inspiration and support. I’m so lucky for the brilliant women I have met there who I turn to time and time again. They are good at getting me unstuck because they have so much faith in me, and often the reason I am stuck is I’m swirling in self-doubt.
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy long walks, hikes, and bike rides, also yoga and pilates. If I can trick the kids and husband into joining me, even better! I love to bake and then snarf all the delicious things when they’re just out of the oven. And reading, I love reading. And wine, I love wine. And sleeping, I love sleeping.
Opinion: The Asian American community needs allies to combat hate. Here’s how you can help.
Salatka is is a writer whose upcoming book, “Fish Heads and Duck Skin,” is a fictionalized account of her time living in Shanghai with her family. She lives in Pacific Beach.
The killing of eight people — six of them Asian women — on March 16 in the Atlanta area sickened me. I felt like people from my own community were attacked and brutally slaughtered, taken from this physical world for no reason. This reaction brought a few questions to my mind:
1) After all that has happened in the past year, why doesn’t outrageous, inexcusable loss anger more people?
2) I’m not even Asian. Why does this hurt so much?
During my time in Asia and for years after, we studied next to and celebrated with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We did Girl Scouts together, went camping, rode bikes, ate meals, played sports — you know, the stuff people do — and through this, I developed a deep admiration and respect for Asian cultures. My Asian friends are honest — they tell it like it is. They’re funny — the laughs we share are countless. They’re resourceful — I love working through problems with them, because we find solutions! But I shouldn’t have to tell anyone why they deserve respect. These traits are wonderful.
Yet their population has been targeted in thousands of senseless attacks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and in this we see the harm that hateful language perpetuates. We must not forget the power that words hold. Words create thoughts and thoughts create actions. None of this is happening in a vacuum.
Furthermore, I may not be Asian, but I am human, and this is why the killing of innocent people isn’t becoming less outrageous. If we stop feeling we stop caring, and if we stop caring, we won’t gather together to mourn our losses and then create change so this disgusting carnage stops once and for all. I may be Caucasian, but that doesn’t preclude me from eventually being targeted by some madman for something I’ve said, done or represented, or simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like a grocery store in Boulder. If we don’t come together and stop these attacks now, I might be next. Or, even worse, my children, my husband or someone in my family. Or, it could be you.
One of the victims of the Atlanta area shooter, Xiaojie Tan, was killed the day before her 50th birthday. Tan was best friends with her daughter and only child. Her sister, who has heart problems, needed to be put on oxygen when she found out about her sister’s killing. The next day, the family couldn’t bear to tell Tan’s mom that her daughter had perished. When her mother called to wish her daughter a happy birthday, they said she had lost her phone and couldn’t answer. That’s devastating. We shouldn’t have to tell stories like this to humanize our fellow citizens, but this example, along with the other stories from the Atlanta area, help us see how much, in the words of Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
We need to stop thinking about these killings and any action leveled against someone for their ethnicity as an attack on “them.” This was an attack against people just like us — parents, workers, caretakers, families, children. And it won’t stop until we stop it. Here are a few ways to make a difference in ending Anti-Asian harassment and violence:
Tell your lawmakers to support House Resolution 151, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York, condemning “all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19.”
Go to sdapicoalition.org to learn about the San Diego API coalition and how you can help.
Go to pacarts.org/stopapihate to sign a support letter as an individual or business.
Go to stopaapihate.org to report any incidence of AAPI hate crimes.