Sometimes you meet someone who you just know is capable of doing great things.
When writer Elisa Ludwig and her husband Jesse first came to our practice as patients, this is how I felt about the two of them. As individuals, and as one of those couples who understand that at least some of their strength comes from a healthy dose of "It's us against the world", I knew that they would be increasingly successful over time. They have that spark...
Writers do so many things. Pieces for magazines and online publications. Copyrighting. Editing and other technical services. In some ways, writing fiction that gets published and widely read is perhaps the most difficult goal to accomplish. And Elisa has done just that. I'll link to her two new works at the end. First, let's hear her thoughts on the creative process and the importance of persistence. (I've bolded that part since I love it so much!)
My first novel for teens, Pretty Crooked, will be published this March by HarperCollins.
Can that really be true? I can hardly believe it. This dream has been some 15 years in the making.
Even when I got my contract with the official letterhead in fall 2010, the words “debut author” were still an extremely abstract, distant idea. As the months have passed, it’s become incrementally more normal, and my life has evolved to include this new definition.
As my book went to print, there were plenty of tasks involved—edits, copy edits, first pass pages, writing acknowledgements, getting an author photo. I started networking with other authors online. I began attending more events to meet authors, librarians, booksellers and readers. At the same time, I was working on the sequel to Pretty Crooked, going through drafts with my wonderful editor. Some of these activities were fun. Some of them were scary. But all of them had an exciting new sheen. Writing was now my job. It was, in teen speak, for realz.
Through all of this I’ve found that my actual writing process changed in some ways. There was more expectation. I knew people were waiting for my books to be finished (as opposed to me writing them in a vacuum). I had a deadline. I now had a particular person, my wonderful editor, in my head, guiding me.
When writing fiction became my job, and not just something I did, sighing heavily, in cafes on the weekends, I had to be much more disciplined. I had to break my work into chunks, so I could fit it into my normal workday (glamorous though publishing may be, I still need to keep my day job for the time being). I couldn’t really afford to mope around in fits of despair, waiting for creative inspiration. I had to produce.
It all sounds very dry and unromantic. But the funny thing is, I think my writing has improved exponentially as a result. The more I showed up, the more inspired I felt. The more I wrote, the more ideas came: Solutions to my characters’ problems, plot twists, better dialogue. The angst fell away and sitting in front of my computer became a lot more fun.
I’m not saying that you have to be published to enjoy writing—that’s patently ridiculous. But I do think if you can find a way to treat it as work—this is what you do every day, no matter what, because it’s your job—then you will learn to write more efficiently and that creates a positive feedback loop. More writing = more inspiration = happy writer.
So proud of my friend and patient! ;}