How I Write – Paul Vega


1. When/how/where do you write?

Whenever, however, wherever. On the couch while my Grandma watches Family Feud, in cafes, on my iPhone behind the dumpsters at my 2nd job after driving the work van back from Wamego. I have a sorta “writing desk,” but it’s really just a card table covered in a gingham blanket, books, and coffee ring stains. Wrote some pretty okay stuff in my bunk on the boat I worked on this summer. What it lacked in space it made up for with privacy: photo attached.

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

Not really. Coffee is always good. Tobacco is not food and will kill you, but Swedish snus gives you a helluva buzz and unlike other tobacco products, you don’t even have to spit gross brown juice in a cup like a troglodyte or ask some shifty-eyed hipster rando at the cafe to watch your stuff while you get your smoke on. Tooth loss, tho.

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

Pretty much always. I do this weird (it may not be, dunno) thing where I’ll listen to the same track/playlist/album over and over while working on a piece. Like this song, for instance. We should all start our writing days with this track. It really has a way of charging up one’s “give-a-shit” meter:

4. What are you reading right now?

Recently read some old NANOs because you guys are great and I’ll miss ya. As far as books – Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness (would highly rec) and Lucas Mann’s Lord Fear (double highly rec).


Paul Vega is a managing editor for Pacifica Literary Review and received his MFA from the University of Washington. His work appears or is forthcoming in Witness, The Rumpus, The Pinch, DIAGRAM, CutBank, The Collagist, and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @paultvega.