How I Write – Tayler Heuston

Tayler Heuston_Desk

When/how/where do you write?

I tend to write in the morning. I’m constantly evolving my process, but lately I’ve been writing by hand at a neighborhood coffee shop and typing it up later at my beautiful desk, which I bought off of the generous and luminous Therese Ann Fowler last spring for a serious bargain price. This new, two-step process allows me to get the bare bones of a scene or section down and to develop the work as I transcribe. Sometimes it feels tedious to have to type out the material, but I’ve ended up with more detail and a richer understanding of the narrative in fewer drafts.

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

I eat breakfast and drink coffee with tons of cream and sugar as I’m writing. When I’m out, I’ll have a muffin – the coffee shop I love has these awesome vegan Nutella banana muffins. If I’m at home, I’ll toast a bagel and spread it with cream cheese or, if I’m feeling fancy, top my toast with avocado and a poached egg. It really depends on how urgent I’m feeling about the sections I want to write that day. If I really need to get started as I’m rolling out of bed, I’ll have a yogurt and break earlier for lunch.

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

When I’m writing, I search out music that suits the tone of what I’m doing. Music is so evocative for me that it can bring entire scenes to life or generate new material I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. While I worked on my novel, I listened to Andre Previn’s arrangement of Swan Lake and the Cold Mountain soundtrack. With the last short story I finished, I played Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” until I had the ending scene just right. Just today, I listened to Beyonce’s Lemonade, particularly “All Night” which is beautiful and vulnerable and strong, while drafting.

What are you reading right now?

I devoured What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth by Laura Van Den Berg last week, and now I’m reading Manuel Gonzales’ The Regional Office is Under Attack.

Tayler Heuston, California-native, holds an MFA from North Carolina State University. She is a VCCA fellow and the winner of the 2015 Kore Press Short Fiction Award. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in Carve Magazine, NANO Fiction, Two Serious Ladies, and At Length Magazine. She lives in Raleigh, NC.