May 162017

I’ve always been fascinated with making things. As a kid, my favorite toys were LEGO and K’NEX. The wonderful thing about writing is that it really allows you to make anything out of nothing.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I’ve always been fascinated with making things. As a kid, my favorite toys were LEGO and K’NEX. The wonderful thing about writing is that it really allows you to make anything out of nothing. Basically as soon as I could write I would write stories and even make them into books using cardboard. I guess I really started taking it seriously towards the end of grade school where I won an award for writing Pokémon fan-fiction and also had one of the poems I wrote for an assignment get confused with that of a classical poet. So while I’ve always loved writing and felt like a writer, there have been a few accomplishments that have made me feel like I might have some talent with words.

Describe your writing process.

I try to be disciplined, but it doesn’t always work out. On a good day, I have a morning routine: I wake up, drink water, brush my teeth, stretch, meditate, and then brain dump in my notebook for a page or two. This brain dump is literally just a stream of consciousness, so whatever’s on my mind at the time–I also use it as a time to make a list of tasks I need to accomplish throughout the day. After the brain dump, I do some more focused writing, which is either continuing work on a previous project or planning out / getting started on a new one. I’ve always got something to work on. After that I’ll usually read and then carry on with the rest of my day. I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique, so it’s usually 25 minutes of fully focused writing followed by 25 minutes of fully focused reading. If I’m really excited about a project, I’ll probably come back to it later in the day and do more sessions. I’m a morning person, so ideally this all takes place around 6am  / 7am. I want to do this every day, but I have an extremely erratic life that doesn’t always allow for it. As far as my actual process goes, it’s a little different depending on what it is I’m writing. Poetry can come pretty quick, initially, but will usually go through quite a few revisions before I’m satisfied with it. When it comes to longer material, there’s usually a long process of note-taking, researching, outlining, etc., which can take weeks before I actually get to writing. I like to keep things focused and disciplined, but I’ll never stop myself if I feel drawn to writing at any time–it’s why I always keep at least one notebook with me and have no less than three heavy-duty writing apps on my phone!

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

I plan to read a couple of poems from my book of poetry, That One Black Kid. That One Black Kid was inspired by one night during a workshop hosted by my non-profit, Teen Writers and Artists Project. During this workshop, somebody mentioned how they rarely hear poetry about what it’s like growing up black in the suburbs. This comment inspired a poem which then inspired another poem and the next thing I knew I had enough poems to fill a short book of poetry. The book is quite the departure from my typical work, but was a fulfilling journey into a side of myself that was just begging to be explored.

What are you working on now?

Following the completion of That One Black Kid, I plan on exploring narrative gaming (or interactive fiction, as it’s sometimes called). As a big fan of video games myself, I’m planning on exploring some programs and seeing if I can craft some truly immersive interactive experiences. Other than that, I have half-written screenplays and novels to work on, as well as another book of poetry, potentially. Outside of writing, I perform improv comedy every other Sunday night at 8pm at The Comedy Clubhouse in Chicago with my group, Friar Pryor. I will also be performing a one-man variety show in the Elgin Fringe Festival which takes place September 13th through September 17th.

Jan 102017

Before each Waterline Writers event we conduct a short interview with each of our featured writers. This month Corey Dillard (the man on the right in the photo below) shares information with us about his background, his involvement with T-WAAP, and how we can help support T-WAAP.

That's Corey on the far right.

How did you get involved with T-WAAP?

I got involved with T-Waap though my friend, Russ Deveraux. He was working on a show for T-Waap called Lit Lab 51 and asked me to be a part of it. After a while, he got too busy to work on the show, so I took over for him and then started working more and more with the organization until I got to where I am now. Continue reading »