Ravenshead (RH) interviewed Strephon Kaplan-Williams (SKW) in July 2006.
RH: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
SKW: My background includes the following:
I’m the son of America’s best poetry anthologist, Oscar Williams, and poet-painter, Gene Derwood.
I have two Masters degrees, one in English Literature and the other in Psychology and 10 years training and graduation in Jungian psychology, myth, analysis and spiritual teachings of the historical Jesus
The last 35 years I’ve worked as a Jungian dreamwork psychologist and teacher, and as the author of many books in dreamwork psychology.
My Dream Cards have been a best seller with 110,000 sales in the United States and eight other countries around the world.
So far I’ve sold a total of 350,000 books in eight languages.
RH: What would you say your outstanding achievement is to date?
SKW: Well, for a writer, isn’t it his latest achievement? For me this is the writing of The Writer’s Interface, 92,000 words of writing craft helps and ideas culled from over fifty writing craft books and my own knowledge and experience in writing books. This is my current outstanding work because I have hundreds more writing ideas of expert use than appear in any other writing craft book, any writing software, or given by any writing instructor, literary agent, or even successful writer that I know of. It’s a great help to myself and hopefully to other writers. I get good feedback on it.
RH: What makes you write?
SKW: Here’s a short list off the top of my head. Love of words, putting them together in a clear and literary style. Recreating the greater moments of existence through the power of creative writing when I can achieve it in dialogue, character description and dramatic action
Love of real knowledge about ourselves as humans, the human condition, thrown in with a few ultimates that might be called spiritual. Wanting to earn good money in doing writing, in doing what I most love to do
Influencing culture in the millions through the originality of my ideas, well articulated and useful for others
Being a teacher, a bit of a gad-fly to inflame others and excite them to new awareness
To wake myself and people up..
..and, recently discovered, I write, now in memoir style about my greatest loves, I write to recapture the moments of my life, the people I have known. It’s absurd, but worth the try, I write to recreate the life that was so as to influence others to live the life that can be!
RH: Which writers have influenced you?
SKW: Gandhi in his autobiography because he wrote for truth and thus influenced us his readers to articulate ourselves as we really are, including our dark side.
Spinosa’s philosophy, which I read as a teenager, for his clarity of thinking, showing me what an ultimate thinker and writer could be that I might strive for myself after many years trying.
Shakespeare for his love of noble language and thought, as well as his love of play with character and words. Shakespeare achieved greatness, and why cannot some of the rest of us do so likewise?
The historical Jesus for the clarity and truth of his spiritual teachings which are often contrary to the teachings and dogmas of Christianity.
The Zen and Hassidic writers for the profound and playful truths of their teaching stories
RH: You’re currently working on some interesting ideas to help other writers. Can you give us any details of these?
SKW: My key help idea for writers currently, and likely to stay so, is: move to the Web as your publishing platform.
Don’t even focus on writing books that might get published in paper! Seven out of ten published books fail to make money for their publishers and writers.
Don’t look a the very few publicized best seller writers as your model. You are being misdirected. Publish on the web! If someone picks you up for a paper published book, then all the better, but focus on the web.
The World Wide Web is the biggest publisher of information in the whole world and will continue to be so.
Learn how to write for the Web platform and how to make money doing so. I have spent the last year and a half doing so and am only now monetizing my sites. There is a lot to learn.
Use the best software available. I use WriteItNow because it helps organize and plan my novels and memoirs extremely well. It helps me tell my story! You have the story. Your computer and software have the organizing power to make you a successfully read writer if you have talent, skills, dedication and research abilities that you use to fill a book to be read by others.
The Writer’s Interface is my big writers help tool, written by a proven professional (myself). It takes commitment and study to use, but it gives you years of relevant, creative knowledge. It’s written to be used with the WriteItNow software.
RH: What’s the easiest thing about writing? What’s the hardest?
SKW: The easiest thing about writing is reading your work after you have published it and get good appreciation for what you have worked so hard at to produce. The hardest thing about writing is having doubt and limitation in knowledge limit what you would like very much to do with your writing. Don’t hold me back, please, but yes, you have to test me to see if I really am committed and any good.
RH: Have other peoples comments affected your writing?
SKW: The best comment another can give me is to put out the money to buy my work, but more than that is to tell me they use my work and recommend it to others. With critics of my thought, as show up on my blogs, then I appreciate these because they often help me to broaden my thought. Yes, my writing is always affected and improved by serious comments on my writing.
RH: Any advice for other writers?
SKW: Embrace the Web and learn to publish there in a variety of mediums, and thus to earn money there also, as well as appreciation.
Learn good software and get the best computers you can afford, which are usually Apple computers.
Use software to organize and plan your research and writing like WriteItNow software. I am here because of the software I think is best. I don’t sell a penny for a mile!
Yet along with planning write spontaneously from the heart. It is all there if you get yourself out of the way and listen.
Don’t plan to be a great writer or novelist, but do write about that which most moves the human soul and life itself, which subjects have greatness to them. Think and be great characters doing great things.
Risk your life several times as a writer, else little that your write can become real. Risk is the crucible. Else you may go crazy trying to be more than you are
RH: Thank you for your comments and some very interesting and useful advice and good luck with your work on ‘The Writer’s Interface’
SKW: And thanks to you for your software. Thanks for the help you give us to do and be the best we can in this rich and risky writing field!