SHANI BOIANJIU: The short and politically incorrect version is that I kinda throw it down. This is a terrible way to write, but the truth is I only write when I am truly inspired. I let a situation or a scene or a character sit in my head for weeks or months or years, and I only write them down when I feel like if I didn’t write them down my head will (metaphorically) explode. I write everything I have in my head from start to finish, no matter how much I want to quit in the middle or if I have a place to be or something to do. That’s the excruciating part. Then I put that piece of writing away. Later I come back to it and do all the necessary edits. Some pieces take a lot of editing and need dramatic changes, and some don’t need much at all. It takes time and experience and patience for me to figure out how to best edit, but I enjoy putting in that time. I also have loyal readers who I send my writing to when it is in raw stages, just to get the perspective of another pair of eyes. But either way for me editing is the calm, non-painful part.
Shani Boianjiu (born 1987) is an Israeli author and former soldier in the IDF. Her first novel, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid was released in 2012 and is based on her experiences as a soldier in the IDF. Boianjiu was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Kfar Vradim, a village in the Western Galilee. After her military service, which she spent training combat soldiers in the use of weapons, she attended Harvard. She has been recognized by the National Book Foundation as one of their “5 Under 35” authors, based on a recommendation from the writer Nicole Krauss.