Creativity, writing and my journey
Q&A with Meagan Dux
After being one of my beta readers (someone who reads the novel before it’s published), one of my best friends, Dani, wrote out some questions for me to answer. The questions focus on my writing process, my ideas, and some other questions about my journey to becoming an author. We both thought it was a good way for you to get to know me. I hope you enjoy this insight into my life and thank you, Dani, for the questions :)
Who are your favourite authors and what are your favourite books?
I love authors like Stephen King, Lauren Conrad, J.K. Rowling, John Green, Jamie McGuire and Jessica Sorensen. I like almost every kind of book genre, and these authors (among others) evoke a reaction from me that continues to fuel my love of novels. I particularly like Colleen Hoover, too. Her writing is so pure, and her way of telling stories is incredible.
Some of my favourite novels include Mr Mercedes, the Dexter series, It Ends With Us, The Fault in Our Stars and L.A. Candy. L.A. Candy was a game changer for me. I loved it more than any book I'd ever read before! A few more favourite books of mine include Beautiful Disaster (Jamie McGuire) and The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (Jessica Sorensen). I fell in love with a whole new genre of books after reading those two novels. They changed the way I viewed writing, and I felt emotions I’d never felt while reading.
When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?
In 2013 I was going through a dark time in my life when I started thinking about writing something other than a journal entry. I then became overwhelmed by different ideas, so I decided to try my hand at writing novels. Once I started writing my first novel, it became my creative outlet, and before I knew it, I’d fallen in love with the whole process of writing novels. Writing became such a strong passion that I couldn't give it up, so I decided to take a risk and pursue it. Hopefully, that risk pays off.
Was writing novels something that you’ve always wanted to do?
Nope. Growing up I had a passion for acting, so after deciding not to pursue my Teaching degree, I applied for a Theatre and Drama degree at Murdoch University. I was accepted and began my degree in 2014. I then went on to act in a number of plays before my ankle injury forced me to pull out of the acting roles I had. I still wanted to be involved in the theatre community, so I tried stage managing. I quickly fell in love with that, and I considered pursuing that once I graduated, but again, my passion for writing became too powerful to ignore. I believe writing is what I’m meant to do with my life, it just took me longer to figure it out, which is perfectly fine. I don’t regret my degree, or acting and stage managing, in fact, I’m still involved in the theatre community, but my love for writing surpasses my love for acting/stage managing.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Sometimes my ideas come from nowhere. Other times my ideas come from hearing a line in a song or a movie, or just observing my surroundings. I also like to write about ideas that I find interesting. I often mention things like the beach and the weather when I write; I find things like surroundings often get my creative process going.
What is your writing style?
I wouldn’t say I have a particular writing style. Usually, I get an idea, and that's it, it's pretty much all hands on deck, and I can write for hours on end. It's very much just a matter of finding the direction I want to go in and then working to get there as creatively as possible.
How would you describe your creative process?
I'm usually my most creative at night, which has its downside, but I work around that. I'd say my creative process is pretty much just a matter of timing. When I feel it's right, I write, when I feel something isn't working, I stop and regroup. I’m lucky in the sense that my ideas come to me and I don’t have to overthink things too much. Although I’m a perfectionist, so I usually take longer to make sure a chapter or an idea is where I want it to be before I move on.
Each time you sit down to write, what motivates you?
I’m usually motivated to get my ideas from my head to paper. It’s like magic to see an idea come to life. I’m also motivated to tell stories, I love writing so much that it motivates me enough, but I usually have a schedule, so I try to stick to it as much as possible to make sure I allow myself the freedom to get my ideas out into the world.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned through writing?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned from writing is how natural it comes to me. I always put off writing because I thought I’d never be able to think of enough ideas to write a complete manuscript creatively, but once I began the process, I was flooded with ideas. I’m also surprised at how passionate I am about it. It took me well over 21 years to find the thing I want to do with the rest of my life, but it was well worth the wait.
What would you say is your interesting writing habit?
My interesting writing habit is the need for background noise, for some reason, it helps my writing process. Most authors prefer to work in silence, but I love having music blasting, and if it’s not music playing I usually have Netflix going. I do however get distracted very easily if anyone in my house has a TV playing, or if they’re making noise, it’s very weird.
What is the best thing about being an author?
There are so many amazing things about being an author; I don't think I can pinpoint just one thing. Being able to be as creative as I want is one of the best things, though. There’s so much freedom with being an author, you can write about anything and everything, and I love that. Writing stories is such an art, being able to write a story from a single idea is pure exhilaration. There are so many words at our disposal, and we can create a world that never existed before. You’re constantly challenged and your creativity can thrive without restrictions or limitations. It’s an endless world full of possibilities, and to me that’s priceless, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I’ve been amazed at the worlds that have since come to life when I’ve let my mind wander.
What are you long term goals?
My long term goal is to continue writing. I have quite a few ideas for future novels, so one of my goals is to be able to make being an author my full-time career. My other goal is to have my work published, read and loved. I want my novels to give readers what novels have given me. Even if it’s 10 people or 10,000 people that read my books. I want my readers to have that escape and the pleasure of getting lost in a novel. I want them to connect with my stories and my characters and feel like the story includes them too. If that happens, then I’m happy, and that is the best form of success to me.
Do you write every day? If not, do you have a specific schedule?
When I wrote The Rise of Delilah, I was on a schedule which included me writing every day while on my breaks from uni. After I had finished my degree I had an ankle reconstruction so after my cast came off, I got back into writing every day, although I was a lot more lenient with my scheduling.
I’m unfortunately dealing with a wrist injury at the moment, so my typing/writing time is very limited. When I do want to write (which is quite often as I'm currently working on my fourth novel) I try to write with a pen and paper to limit the pain. When I can return to typing, I’ll be on a schedule again.
My schedule is often set out so I can maximise the most of the time I’ve got.
What do your family and friends think of you writing?
My family and friends have been amazing. They’re all so proud and supportive of me, and they’re happy that I’ve found something I’m passionate about.
How did your family and friends react when you told them your book was getting published?
I waited until I knew it was happening before I told my family and friends. I wanted it to be a surprise and their reactions when they found out was worth the wait. My support network has been incredible throughout this journey; I wouldn't be where I am without the unconditional love and support of my family and friends.
How do you manage a setback or a difficult challenge?
Setbacks and difficult challenges are a part of anything we do in life, and it’s no different when you’re writing a novel. When they hit I just focus on my breathing, my goals, and working on getting through them as best as I can. I remember when I wrote my very first novel (Sarah's Dream). I finished Chapter One and the USB/computer I saved it on crashed, and I lost everything I'd done. I cried for a good twenty minutes before I pulled myself together, gave myself some time to regroup and then rewrote the chapter. It ended up being a million times better, so setbacks are sincerely good, even if they don't seem like they are at the time!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My favourite thing to do is sit on the sand at the beach and listen to music while I clear my mind. I love the sounds of the waves hitting the shoreline and I love the feel of the sand. I usually go to the beach to get away from author life. I live with my family and we have two Pomeranians, and I own a Labrador, so I like to spend time with them too. I love to read, I have a collection of books I want to read this year, so I’ve started working my way through them. I also work on my ankle and wrist rehabilitation programs. And I drink copious amounts of coffee and spend a ton of time with my mum.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don't rush it, writing can be a long process, and that's ok. Sometimes you'll start off with an idea, write a chapter and then have no idea where to go next. My advice is not to think too far ahead. Allow yourself to creatively think of ideas and a direction you'd like to go and write it down. Don't ever force ideas or storylines. You'll end up with sloppy work if you do that. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help, especially if you're fortunate enough to know people in the industry (whether they're authors, editors or publishers), chances are they'll be happy to help. I know I'm certainly happy to help aspiring authors, so please don't think people won't help you, we've all been there before. Also, don't ever do anything you're not comfortable with. Always stay true to yourself and never settle for something you don't feel is right! Just stay focused and believe in yourself and your journey, and you'll find your way.
Will you be writing any more books?
I hope so! Other than waiting for The Rise of Delilah to be released, I’m working on two secret projects (one is my fourth novel, not so secret ;). Be sure to keep an eye out on my social media networks for updates on all of my future work...and my secrets ;)