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Roxane Gay Opens Up About Her Writing Routine: BUST Interview

by BUST Magazine

In our Writing Life series, we talk to your favorite writers about their routines and careers. Here, we caught up with Roxane Gay, who wrote An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, World of Wakanda, Difficult Women, and Hunger and edited the anthology Not That Bad.

Do you write on particular days?

I try to write every day.

Do you write at particular times?

I write whenever I can find a pocket of time but I prefer to write late at night.

How many hours a day do you devote to writing?

I write for anywhere from one to six hours a day.

Where is your preferred writing space and what does it look like?

I love writing on my couch at home, with the TV on. I also get some work done in my home office but it’s less
relaxing when I do that.

Do you listen to music? If so, what kind?

I listen to music sometimes. It isn’t an integral part of my practice but I do need background noise of some kind. 

If you type, what kind of computer and writing program do you use?

I use a MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro, an iMac, and an iPad, depending on where I am. (I live in two places and travel a lot.) I use Microsoft Word and Final Draft for writing. I will never, ever, ever use Scrivener. It’s too complicated.

Are you alone when you write or are there sometimes loved-ones/pets/cafe people around?

Sometimes, my fiancée is around, and in New York we have two cats that lurk about, largely indifferent to my work. On airplanes, where I do a lot of writing, all manner of strangers surround me. It’s fine.

What do you like to wear to write?

T-shirt and boxers.

Do you have a pet peeve about the writing life?

No. I love writing and just wish, these days, that I had more time to do it and that the words came easier, like they used to.

Interview by Emily Rems
This article originally appeared in Summer 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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