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Recent Clarion graduate balances creative writing passions

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Todd Daniel Crawford is a recent Clarion University graduate who is pursuing a career in creative writing, trying to become a published author someday. He works a day job and from his own publishing house supporting his friends’ work to stay engaged through his process.

Watch the full video interview!

Wolves Watching: What is your position in terms of writing, editing or publishing?

Todd Daniel Crawford: My position at the Ivory Tower right now: I basically am the Ivory Tower as of right now. I created it. [Crawford created the Ivory Tower Publishing House as a non-profit to help get his peers’ writing acknowledged by a wider audience.] I started Ivory Tower because most people I knew that talked about writing don’t submit their work to publishers because they are afraid of rejection or they don’t write books because they don’t have the incentive or the confidence to do so. I guess I really wanted to start something to encourage people to write.

WW: How has it been juggling so much in the creative realm through the years?

TDC: [Until recently this year, Crawford has also been a co-founder and creative mind making content on his YouTube channel titled Renaissance Men. His past work includes sketches, movie reviews and social commentary videos.] It’s really not different to me how I see it. One thing I’ve realized is I don’t think you approach something as an audience member as you would as a creator. I’m trying to be my own audience when I create something. I think art’s just kind of art in a certain way. I think if you look at it there’s a lot of common threads. It doesn’t mean Steven Spielberg could be a great painter or something, but there are different connections you can make between it. For me, it’s always been very natural in that sense. A book I wrote probably could be a movie or a movie I do could be a book, but I try to separate that. One of my favorite authors, Clive Barker – he used to do both. And he always said he would have to make a movie because his books were too cinematic and weren’t literary enough, so he would make a movie: get all that blockbuster sensibility out of his system, and then he’d write a book that was very fantastical. And I think that’s how I’ve always worked.

WW: How does it feel to publish your friend’s work?

TCD: [Trey Knarr recently had his book published by Ivory Tower.] It was really weird. I think it really benefited me as a writer, and I think it’s more rewarding than putting out your own book I think because you’re kind of in it with someone else. When someone else releases a book, it’s great. It’s more rewarding in the sense that it’s like giving a friend a great birthday present as opposed to getting a great birthday present.

WW: Why did you start writing personally?

TCD: Oh, god… (laughs), the truthful answer is because I wanted to kill myself, and I think it was the only thing I really latched onto. That’s when I seriously started writing.

WW: What specifically are your most recent projects?

TCD: I’m writing three books right now. The first one was pretty much a conventional young adult kind of book. Most young adult books – they kind of give kids a very strange and almost unhealthy view of relationships. It starts at the beginning of the relationship; it’s star-crossed, and it’s gonna last until one or both of the people involved dies, sometimes both. It’s not always real life; it’s almost never real life if you ask me. I wanted to do a book about how it’s okay to break up, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing or something to fear. It’s about a power couple that dated all through college, and the first chapter, they break up. And the rest of the book is a year in their lives after. It’s not really a romantic book so much as it’s a book about just growing up. That one’s going really well.

WW: What has been your favorite part of sharing your own work or the work of others?

TDC: One of the coolest things I had was this person I went to college with – I never really knew what she thought of me. I thought she thought I was kind of a dork because I am probably a pretentious dork. And she told me one day when we were talking, she mentioned something from [Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic, one of Crawford’s published works on Tumblr]. I was like, “How do you know about that?” Because I don’t know who reads that stuff. And she said, “Oh, I read that every time you put it up.” I’ve had that a few times.

WW: On all fronts, what does the future have in store for you?

TCD: I’m going to start writing 2,000 words per day. It’s the minimum I’m going to set for myself. I’m going to start editing a book for publication I finished two years ago. I also want to write about three books within the next year. So basically, if I submit a book to a publisher every year they reject a book, eventually they’re just going to be like: “Jesus Christ, this guy produces so many crappy books that we’re just gonna have to accept them because he’s wasted so much of our time.”