An Interview with Don Gallo, About My Process:

DG: Do you feel the need to write every day?

VEW: Yes, I do need to write every day. Especially because I'm so slow. (Other authors are completing two drafts while I'm deciding on a name for a character.) But also because it's too easy to lose the momentum if I take much time off. I try to write six days a week. Always with classical music in the background, much of it from National Public Radio.

I'm best in the mornings. More properly, I should say I'm at my least inadequate in the mornings. My internal critic—the nasty, fault-finding, disgusted presence who lives down inside me and tells me I can't write—doesn't get up till about noon. If I get started between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. I can get several hours' jump on him. By the time he's awake and slashing away at me I've already gotten some work done. This way, I get my innings.

I also keep a calendar and make myself write a brief phrase or clause in each day's rectangle about what I've done, or else draw the diagonal line through that box that indicates no work accomplished. I would say that I'm usually quite discouraged about the writing I'm getting done. But I also know that the discouragement is like the hurdles in a steeplechase: I can lie down and say "This hurdle is too hard for poor, weak, little me," or I can go at it again and again. I've learned to measure my progress in millimeters. I am basically an optimist. I think I've always been.

Don Gallo, who hosts a website called Authors4Teens, published an interview with Virginia in 2000, before the publication of True Believer in 2001 and This Full House in 2009. Excerpts from that interview may be found here, as well as some newer material.

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