Amanda Inman used to work in the marketing department at Penguin Random House before joining the rare and antiquarian book trade. Her poetry and prose has been published or is forthcoming in Catapult, Entropy, Paris Lit Up Magazine, Gargoyle Zine of Glasgow School of Art, and Chasing Light, a poetry anthology published by the Hillsborough County Public Library and YellowJacket Press. She attended the Tin House Summer Workshop in 2021. She is from Boynton Beach, Florida, but now lives in New York City with her cat and dog, Jazz and Billie. You can read more of her writing at amandapaigeinman.com.
Click here to read Amanda’s hybrid piece “Best Intentions” from our winter 2022 Joy issue!
Does your writing ever surprise you? In what ways?
What surprised me the most about my writing is how much my hometown and childhood influenced my gaze. I spent most of my life trying to leave Floria, and suddenly it is all I want to read and write about.
What part of the writing process brings you the most joy?
That initial spark is the best part. Sometimes you are just going about your day and then suddenly you want to spend extended time with characters of your own invention. It feels like what playing used to feel like as a child.
How do you preserve that joy in your writing in the face of rejections or setbacks?
This is a tough question. It helps to remember that rejections are subjective. I try to treat my writing self as I would treat a friend — with tenderness and kindness. Dry spells are part of the territory and so are rejections, they don’t have anything to do with personal failure.
Do you have a specific revision process?
I have to give myself a chunk of time, let’s say at least a month or two, before editing a piece. Otherwise I am too close to it to really see it. I have a few close friends that I share initial drafts with, but I can only send them things once I have a completed first draft.
Writing is most often a labor of love, where gratification is self-defined and can sometimes be delayed or subdued. What motivates you to keep coming back to the page?
I have always been a huge reader. Whenever I feel my urge to write waning, I read books by authors that I really admire.
Do you think a writer’s nerves or anxieties about their work can positively affect it?
I certainly hope so, otherwise we are all in trouble.
Rest is arguably as important as getting the words down, especially when we can give our brains a true rest and let them wander as they wish. What do you do to embrace this time and honor it as a space for regeneration, imagination, and possibility?
I try my best to remind myself that reading and journaling and doing other things that I enjoy feeds my creative writing.
Where do you write? Do you have any rituals you follow before turning to the page?
I write in different areas, switching it up from time to time. For example, until recently I used to work from home and would work from the kitchen table. I have not been able to write at the kitchen table since. These days I’ve been writing from a little entryway table. As for rituals, I was inspired by Sheila Heti’s alphabetized journals, so I’ve been typing my handwritten journals in an excel spreadsheet with the intent of putting the entries in alphabetical order. Unmoored from time, I hope to find some patterns.
What conversations do you hope your writing might spark for readers?
I hope my work will inspire readers to think of how the mistreatment of nature leaks into our day-to-day lives. I want people to think of how patterns in our personal lives echo patterns that occur in the natural world.
Who is one writer you wish more people would read?
One writer?! That is difficult to choose. This year I read “These Ghosts Are Family” by Maisy Card (Twitter: @dracm; Instagram: @librarylovefest), and I was floored by it. It exceeded all expectations of what a novel could be.
What’s the best bit of craft advice you’ve been given, or some of your own that you’d like to share? Are there any craft books you’d recommend?
I highly recommend Craft in the Real World for anyone that is interested in writing and craft
What words of kindness, support, or advice can you offer to writers who are just starting out or seeking their stride?
Just write it down. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
Any good news you’d like to share?
Not necessarily good news, but I made a website! You can check out my writing at amandapaigeinman.com.