Jason Norman, a person with an amusing personality, an excitement for connecting writers across Alberta, and a talent for writing short fiction! Norman grew up in the small city of Fort Saskatchewan just outside of Edmonton. He has traveled to both South America and England where he lived for nearly two years. Initially staying close to home, he studied English at the University of Alberta. After his time at the University of Alberta, he went to Manchester, UK for an MA in Creative Writing. Norman has had an assortment of jobs such as refereeing hockey, working at a carwash, being a mail room personnel, and working at a law firm. As of today, he works for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta as a program coordinator and also writes part-time. Norman is active in Edmonton’s writing community where he works as a publisher and organizer for various other writing projects.
How long have you been a writer for? Growing up did you always know you wanted to be an author?
I didn’t always want to be a writer. I always loved reading and I liked being creative with writing whenever I had the chance at school. I didn’t really decide to explore writing more until after high school. I was reading more great novels at the time and I just got to a point where I wanted to try and become a writer while also studying writing and other writers. This is how I eventually became an English major.
What authors have you most recently enjoyed? Have they impacted how you write and what you write about?
I grew up loving Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch. Then I moved on to Tolkien and Hemingway. Then I discovered Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Those writers opened my eyes to what is possible with literature. These days I am constantly inspired by the writing of my peers who I read online. Any experienced writers of flash fiction right now that I read just push me to keep getting better and better at my craft of writing.
How has the WGA supported and enhanced your writing career goals?
I think the WGA is here to support writers with programs that can help them in their careers. They have also maintained a strong community of writers and as a member of that community I always feel supported and l personally feel that the WGA is a way for other writers to support each other as well by contributing to the Writers’ Guild. As an employee of the WGA I’m excited to create new programming and events that our members are excited about so I can keep building on that community. The stronger we are the more we will be able to help our fellow writers.
As I talked to Norman I became inquisitive about the process of becoming a better writer. In my first year as a university student, the importance of writing and communicating became very apparent to me! Writing has never been something that has come naturally to me so I thought I would ask Norman for some advice. I was comforted when he said, “It isn’t necessarily true that writers who are good at writing poetry or fiction are also good communicators in more practical situations. I think if you want to become a better writer you need to focus on plain speaking and direct speaking”. Norman’s down-to-earth answer about the reality of authorship surprised me, I thought that being direct and plain would lose a reader’s attention. Driven the misperception that I needed to be different, my past writings have failed to be clear, drowning in jumbled thoughts and fancy words (that I hardly knew the meaning of). I am encouraged now to be clear and simple when practicing writing! To help a writer improve, Norman recommended Stephen King’s book On Writing. Norman expresses that “It’s a book that writers of all levels should read at least once”. Perhaps this will be my winter break read!