TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Will McMillan — Creative Non-Fiction Contributor

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As an extension of The Black Lion Journal’s mission, The Wire’s Dream is a semi-annual magazine that values community, life perspectives, and different worldviews. Contributors were asked to complete a set of mini interview questions with the purpose of sharing with the readers and their fellow submitters a bit about who they are and about their creativity. All questions were the same for each contributor; and each answer given is unique, open, friendly, and candid.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
For me, being creative means taking the one thing that I love to do more than anything else, which is writing, and find a way to express it as best as I can. Which means always trying to get better at it. Always knowing that there’s a lot of work involved in getting better, and being willing to do that work.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
As much as I love to write, I also know that there’s work involved, so I have to make time to write even when I don’t always feel like it. Sometimes that means writing in the morning; sometimes that means writing at night. I think it’s important to get that aspect of your creativity under control, understanding that creativity means work, and to realize doing so forces you to get better and helps you be a stronger writer.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
Writing creative non-fiction, my personal life plays a huge part in the experiences I choose to tell. Writing these stories is a way to live them again, to understand them, since many of the experiences I write about are from childhood, which means putting myself back in that head space. The challenge then is to tell a child’s story as an adult, to write it from an adults perspective, but still have it ring true as a child’s experience.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
I wrote a children’s story when I was 18 that came to me all at once. It took about three hours to write, all in a single sitting, and remains one of the clearest moments of being over taken by inspiration I can remember.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

I love writing creative non-fiction, but I also love writing science fiction. It taps into another part of my brain, another facet of my imagination. Non-fiction has natural, built in barriers; that being, the story is true. So you have to work with the facts of whats happened. With science fiction, those barriers don’t exist, so I can really cut loose in terms of the story that I can tell.

What/who inspires you the most?
What inspires me, often, are people who are creative, no matter what they’re doing in terms of their creative outlet, who keep at it and are successful on their own terms. Who know that that being creative doesn’t mean you take it easy on yourself and just wait around for your talent to pay off. My boyfriend for example, Zak Edwards, is a phenomenal singer, actor, and dancer, who works constantly in theater. But he works because he’s always auditioning. He’s always putting himself out there, working with his talent but also making his talent work for him. Seeing his drive and ambition, combined with his incredible natural ability, absolutely inspires me not only creatively but also inspires me to work hard so I can continue to be successful as a creative person.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I’ve always loved Stephen King. He’s got a limitless imagination, and is such an amazing, natural story teller. And fiercely intelligent, which also reflects in his writing. David Sedaris, Paul Fieg, and Sarah Vowell are also remarkable writers, and have an ability to tell a compelling story out of seemingly nothing at all. And that’s a real talent.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
If you’re getting rejected, make sure you understand that it’s not personal. It feels like it, but it isn’t. The best thing to do is view rejection as a phase, and make sure you outlast it. It can take a while, but keep writing, keep submitting, and keep working at getting better at what you do. And don’t look at being a published writer as this nebulous, unattainable goal. Like it’s magic or something. Don’t look at it like it’s a dream. It’s as real a job as any other job, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
I want my work to have meaning; not just to me, but to everyone who reads it. I think every writer wants to have a voice that’s all their own, and I strive to have that. To sound unique. I want to always be getting better, and to be an inspiration to other people who want to purse a creative career. As far as where I’d like to see my work, I’d like to be as prolific and world-reaching as I can. I want to be a writer one hundred percent, to take my talent and creativity as far as it can go.


About Will

Will McMillan was born and raised outside of Portland, Oregon. He began writing when he was five years old, trading in pop can money to buy notebooks to write his stories in. He’s been featured in The Sun, Thread, Sweet, Cold Creek Review, and Nailed literary journals, among others. An expanded version of the story published in The Sun was used for a piece he did with Neil Drumming and was featured in the September 1st, 2017 episode of This American Life. Will currently lives in New York City.

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