Masha, being over-busy this week, gave us a few short questions to work with, suggesting writers who read the blogalectic also feel free to answer (which you're welcome to do on your own blogs or in the comments. Do pop into the combox and link to yourself if you answer on your own blog. I'd love the chance to read it.)
These are important questions, but also the sort of thing that every writer kind of knows about themselves. It's so subconscious, of course, that it's perfectly possible to forget something in any given Q&A session, but I'll do my best.
When do you do most of your writing?
That depends on what you mean by writing. Most of my blog prep is done in mornings and on weekends. Fiction writing tends to happen in the afternoons and evenings, particularly late evenings, and I'll often work well into the night. I prefer to get deadline-driven projects, whether or not they involve writing, out of the way early in the day.
What encourages you?
Affirmation. :) But since Masha's answers suggest that she's primarily referring to things that encourage us to get writing and keep writing:
Coffee. Music that relates well to story, like Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade or Holst's Planets or various music from video games, movies, some operas and oratorios, etc. Reading a book that's so beautifully written that at the end, all I can do is think "I have to write like this, now."
What distracts you from your work?
"The Internet" sounded like a cop-out answer, or at least a Captain Obvious one, so:
Exhaustion. Disagreeable politics popping up in Facebook or Google Reader. Suspenseful books that I haven't finished reading. Wanting everything else done first.
What is your purpose in writing?
I like Masha's answer, wherein she states that she's "always trying to create and promote a culture of beauty". That's a lot less dull than my own answer, which is something like "...it's just what I do."
What authors inspire your choice of theme and direction?
This question could have a blog post all to its excellent little self. The short explanation: C.S. Lewis, for light; J.R.R. Tolkien, for subtlety and glory; J.K. Rowling, for the cardinal virtues; Orson Scott Card, for wisdom and humanity; Jane Austen, for humanity and humor; Robert Jordan, for the details.
What authors inspire you stylistically?
Again, in short: Lewis, for his combination of artistry and simplicity; Orson Scott Card, for his empathy; Jane Austen, for the wit in her every turn of phrase; G.K. Chesterton, for his sheer joy in the making of English prose. That's the first tier. The second tier includes Shannon Hale's evocative descriptions, some of Robin McKinley's otherworldly phrasing, Neil Gaiman's polished clarity, Lucy Maud Montgomery's poetic sense of place, Charlotte Brontë's liminality, and plenty of others.
Notice that I haven't suggested that I equal any of these people. But they're the proverbial stars I'm shooting for.
What is one thing you wish you could accomplish as a writer?
The same thing that my favorite books have done for me. Success, for me, comes any time someone reads my work and finds a little happiness, a little inspiration, some new growth or understanding.