INTERVIEW: Mental Health Author Nita Sweeney

Check out this interview with Nita Sweeney co-author of You Should Be Writing

Good morning, Nita, and welcome to Vision and Verse. Can you tell us a little about what you’re written?
I am the award-winning author of the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink. I also coauthored a writing journal, You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving, with Brenda Knight. Both were released by Mango Publishing. My articles and essays have been published in Dog World, Dog Fancy, Buddhist America, Writer’s Journal, and Country Living Magazine in addition to newspapers and newsletters. I blog at Bum Glue and publish the monthly writing newsletter, Write Now Columbus.

What is your favorite genre to write?Memoir.                                            

Favorite food.Anything Ed, my husband, cooks! Thankfully he enjoys making tasty food. If he didn’t, we would starve.

Tea or coffee?Decaf coffee.

Pizza or ice cream?Why choose?

I agree. Wine or beer?Neither agrees with me.

Where would you like to visit?I’ve run half marathons in 18 of the 50 states so I hope to run halfs in the remaining 32 states.
Favorite musical artist.  Elton John.
Do you listen to music when you write?  What?I only listen to music if I need to block out other sounds and I prefer ambient sounds or instrumental new age. I find lyrics too distracting when I’m writing.
What makes you laugh?My husband and our silly Labrador retriever, Scarlet.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.I adore the impressionists. Monet’s water lilies break my heart. 
How old were you when you started writing?I “self-published” my first book in fourth grade for a school project. I’m the proud owner of the sole copy of Sheshak the Wild Stallion. But I made up stories in my head long before I could write.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?I set a timer and “go” in the style taught to me by my long-time teacher, Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones). I write to figure out what I need to say. After I’ve gotten that down, I go back and make notes. I sometimes use notecards and make an outline, but only once I’ve written those first awful pages.
Describe your perfect evening.I’m at home with Ed and Scarlet. He’s reading in the living room with the dog at his feet. I’m in my office writing. We can see each other and talk if we want or hours of silence can pass.
Where do you get your inspiration?My inspiration to write has been there always, but it took a decade for me to figure out what I really wanted to write about. I filled a ton of notebooks to discover that. Now, I see topics everywhere.
What do you do when you get a writer’s block?I set a timer for ten minutes and start writing what’s in front of my face: the stapler on the desk, the sycamore out the window. Eventually my mind will turn to the thing I really need to write.  
                                              Who is your favorite author?That depends on what day it is and my mood. I don’t care for horror or anything too violent. Otherwise, I enjoy good writing no matter who wrote it.
Best book you ever read.Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker. It is only my favorite because when I was in seventh grade, the librarian recognized my precociousness and gave me that book to read. I still feel proud that she thought me mature enough to understand the complexity of relationships in the story. I’m not sure I was, but still.
Last book you read.Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?Teach meditation.
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?Ed, my husband. He is wise and kind, but also fierce and he has loved me through so much. When I need guidance, he’s the first person to whom I turn.                                        

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?I would give anything to talk to my mother again. I have so many questions.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?Read and write ferociously. Learn everything you can. Practice. Let yourself fail. Get up, and try again.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?Here are my social media links:

You Should Be Writing by Brenda Knight and Nita Sweeney

you should be writing

A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving

Writing Inspiration from Incredible Authors. Gathered by Brenda Knight and writing coach Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing provides you with writing wisdom from a variety of accomplished authors.

Writing Practice on Every Page. This journal is a must-have for writers everywhere. With quotes from a diverse group of historical and modern authors to use as creative prompts on every page, you’ll be able to bring your writing inspiration with you wherever you go. You’ll find plenty of great advice, such as Toni Morrison’s encouragement, “As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure—which is important; some people don’t—and fix it.”

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