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Twenty Questions Interview with Ralph Dranow : Page 2 of 2

20 Questions Interview
with Ralph Dranow

continued from page 1

11. What challenges have you faced?

I am working on being more present and more centered in my heart and body. When I can do this, I feel more connected to myself and other people, and my writing benefits as well.

I am also focusing on developing my writing and editing business, Ring of Truth Writing and Editing. I am hoping to attract more clients whose projects feel deeply meaningful to me and whom I can truly serve.

Finally, I am challenged by a prose memoir I've been writing intermittently for the past several months. Writing about difficult, painful memories hasn't been easy and gives me a lot of empathy for clients dealing with the same issue.

12. What worked for you?

For a few years, I worked as a ghostwriter, helping clients write their life stories. Recently, I have decided to focus more on editing. My first ghostwriting job involved taking a client's journals and expanding the story of her husband's life-threatening illness and her commitment to him into a book. The completed memoir made her happy, because she felt it maintained her voice and honored both her and her husband's experience. And it gave me the confidence to know that I could do this kind of work.

Also, I've had editing jobs I've really enjoyed. The initial writing was strong and honest, and I got to feel that my editing helped the client make the writing even better. To feel that my editing work has helped my clients bring their writing to a higher level is very gratifying.

13. What didn't work for you?

I've had clients who weren't a good fit. I was working with one on a memoir. He had trouble remembering many of the details of his life and dropped out in the middle of the project.

14. What three tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?

Tip 1. Before you begin writing, do something that gets you into a receptive state. It could be running, taking a walk, meditating, a leisurely bath, listening to music, reading something inspiring, lighting a candle or incense.

Tip 2. Don't be afraid to revise. Revision is one of the greatest gifts given to writers, because it is so forgiving: you have numerous chances to refine your writing, to make it sing. Meanwhile, you can enjoy playing with language and ideas. Revising is often easier than facing the blank page and coming up with a first draft.

Tip 3. A writing group can be very helpful. It's important, though, to find the right group for you, one that provides both encouragement and constructive suggestions. A group in which members are competitive with one another or, on the other hand, too polite or inexperienced to give constructive feedback won't be helpful. In the right group, you can learn how not to be defensive, and then you will able to take useful suggestions and incorporate them into your writing.

15. What are you working on now?

Currently, I am providing guidance and support to a client writing a book integrating science and spirituality.

I am also helping an Iranian woman fine-tune her poems in English so they can flow better and be ready for publication.

And I am co-editing a posthumous book of poems, prose, and plays by a co-founder and former member of my writing group.

16. What's coming up for you in the next year?

In the next year, I will continue writing poems. Also, I intend to interview Barry Barkan, a visionary about aging in our society, for The Sun magazine. And I look forward to working with clients who have moving, inspiring stories to share with the world.

17. What else do you desire/dream to do?

I dream of publishing a full-scale collection of my poetry over the past 20 years. This will be published by Rose Press, my wife's publishing company.

Also, I want to start working seriously on my prose memoir and see it begin to flow.

18. How will you make that happen?

I need to type the poems for my book into a file as the first step toward publication. Then I will work with my wife on the following steps.

For the memoir, I think I'll focus on some of the more pleasant chapters first, and that should make the more difficult ones easier to write later on.

19. What question do you want to answer that's not on this list?

The questions were very comprehensive.

20. What's your Web site address?

Ralph Dranow is also a Creativity Portal contributor. Enjoy his creativity inspiring features here.

Updated 1/18/12