How I Write – Jean-Luc Bouchard


When/how/where do you write?

I frequently write in public because I like the noise, and almost always (unless I’m editing) with pen and paper. I tend to work better very early in the morning or very late at night, so I’m either rising to write before work or staying out after work to write before returning home. I try to write outside of my apartment and edit inside my apartment, and when I edit and transcribe on the computer I usually have to activate some website blockers to keep me productive for longer than five seconds.

Do you eat while you write? If so, what?

When don’t I eat? I’m frequently eating or drinking something while I write or edit. If I’m working in the early morning, I will make a full breakfast and eat it while I work. During the day, I work while drinking coffee and eating something weirdly specific like corn nuts or kiwi. And if I’m writing at night, I like gin.

Do you play music while you write? If so, what? 

I compose for ragtime piano, so I like to listen to a number of ragtime and stride pieces off and on while working. I’m also insufferable and sometimes listen to pieces I’ve composed specifically to work alongside to. If I know I’m in for a long day of editing, I usually cue up a playlist of instrumental covers of pop songs.

What are you reading right now?

Michael Lewis’ The New New Thing and Catherine Lacey’s Nobody Is Ever Missing.

Jean-Luc Bouchard is a writer living in New York City and a graduate of Vassar College, where he studied English, Music, and Asian Studies. His writing has appeared in PANKaptNANO FictionBuzzFeedSpecterUmbrella Factory, and other journals. He is the winner of Epiphany Magazine’s 2016 “Writers Under 30” contest, and his short story “Arm in Arm, March On” was the second-place winner of One Throne Magazine’s “Joust” Story Contest for 2014. He was also a finalist for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s 2015 Working Class Writers Grant. When not sleeping, he plays piano, performs stand-up comedy, admires unreliable narrators, and drinks coffee mixed with tea.