5 Question Interview Series with Charlotte Rains Dixon

Charlotte Rains Dixon is a freelance writer, novelist, copywriter, ghostwriter and creative writing teacher living in Portland. Charlotte has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and is the editor of “Book Strumpet” and the author of the “Word Strumpet” blog. Dixon graciously agreed to take part in my ongoing “5 Question Interview Series”.

What’s a Word Strumpet & why name your blog after a Middle English name for a prostitute?

A wordstrumpet is someone who can’t get enough writing, or enough words. The implication being that the prostitute can’t get enough sex, which is probably an erroneous assumption, but oh well. And thank you for knowing what the word strumpet means, you’d be surprised how many people don’t. My inspiration for the name comes from how we say (at least I do) “I’m an email whore” or “I’m a slut for email.” Kind of along those lines. Most people intuitively get it. I’ve also had people think the title means Words Trumpet, which also makes sense so I guess its okay.

Why blog? How did you get started with blogging?

I was actually trying to remember the other day what motivated me to start blogging. I can’t remember the exact inspiration. I was doing a lot of copywriting for the internet and I needed a website and a blog seemed to be the easiest way to get one. Now I think of it as sort of a website/blog hybrid, which I think is becoming more and more common. Often I land on traditional websites and get bored, thinking, where’s all the new info? The updates? The interesting personal stuff?

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

Oh God, that’s such a good question. What inspires me? I don’t even know. Life, the people in my life, family, friends, the absolute absurdity of the human condition. Love, wanting to figure it out (when really it’s very simple), relationships, helping others. One of my writing mentors, Melissa Pritchard, once said that to be a good writer you have to know a lot about life. I think that’s true—and I also think that I, at least, figure life out as I write about it. Making up stories about my life gives it meaning. How do I stay motivated? Trying to figure the next thing out. Also, I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t seem to be able to stop writing. Whether it is for self-initiated projects or for others, I’m writing a lot every day. I’ve said this a million times, but for me, writing truly is like breathing. I just don’t get how people live without it.

On the completion of your novel: How did writing a book that you knew would be read so closely by your blog audience compare with writing the blog?

It’s funny, the blog is very free form to me. I get an idea for a post, and sometimes it is just a vague idea based on my writing life, and I start writing and it just flows. Often the posts end up being way longer than I think they are going to be when I’ve started. In some respects, writing the novel was the same way, at least in the first draft. After that, there’s a lot more shaping involved, since the plot has to work and the characters need an arc and all that. I try not to be too specific about my novel in the blog, my idea being that readers want to read about the process of writing it, not the novel itself. So it will be interesting to see the reaction when it is published.

Your life seems to be a journey that is totally expressed by blogging: Do we know the real you or do you keep a private life that is not told to your readers?

I’d probably panic if I went back and read all my past posts and realized how much of myself I’ve revealed. But in truth, I write so much that I tend to write things and forget about them. I’m on to the next thing. The thought occurs that this could be a self-protective mechanism. I’m halfway toying with the idea of starting a memoir next, so what you don’t get from the blog you’ll probably get in there. I’d say people get about 90% of the real me. Everybody deserves a few secrets, don’t you think?