In a candid and insightful conversation, author Laurie Steed shared his experiences and wisdom on the writer's journey. From dealing with reader reviews to the balance between writing and life, here are several key takeaways every writer should consider.
📚 Laurie Steed, author of "Love Dad," talks about his book's publication day and the experience of buying a copy from a bookstore.
🧐 Both Laurie and Jo (host) discuss imposter syndrome and the realization that getting published doesn't solve all their problems.
💡 Laurie emphasizes the value of doing the work as a writer and the importance of being in a state of flow.
📝 Laurie shares how he unexpectedly shifted from working on a short story collection to writing "Love Dad" during a writing residency at Veruna.
🤔 The conversation touches on the idea that creative journeys are filled with challenges and learning experiences.
Embarking on the path of a writer is a journey filled with highs, lows, and countless learning opportunities. Laurie Steed, acclaimed author of "Love Dad," and Jo, a fellow writer and host, recently engaged in a conversation that encapsulated the essence of this journey. Their exchange, marked by vulnerability and wisdom, offers valuable insights for writers at every stage of their creative odyssey.
1. Embrace Your Identity as a Writer
Laurie encourages writers to celebrate the act of writing and completing a book as a significant accomplishment in itself. The book is the gift, and everything else is a bonus.
"As writers, we often get caught up in external factors like recognition, success, and achieving perfection. However, it's essential to remember that the act of writing and completing a book is a significant accomplishment in itself. The book is the gift, and everything else, while important, is a bonus. It's a lesson I've learned over time and one I try to share with fellow writers."
2. Acknowledging The Impossibility of Our Goals
Recognize that writers often set high expectations for themselves, and even when milestones are achieved, there's constant pressure to push forward.
"It's a common struggle among writers. We often set high expectations for ourselves, and even when we achieve a significant milestone, like getting published, there's this constant pressure to keep pushing forward. It can be both motivating and overwhelming."
3. The Creative Process and Perfectionism
Compassion and self-compassion are essential. It's not just about achieving perfection; it's about kindness and enoughness.
Writing is a journey, and it's not always about achieving perfection: "Compassion is massive, self-compassion... what got me to success in literature was a hard ass... what was going to get me back to loving and enjoying what I did was the exact opposite, kindness, compassion, enoughness."
4. Dealing with Impostor Syndrome
Actively engage in your writing to combat imposter syndrome, and seek support from a community of writers who understand your journey.
"Imposter syndrome is a common challenge in the creative world. What I've learned is that even the most accomplished writers often wrestle with it. The key is to focus on doing the work. When you're actively engaged in your writing, it becomes a reminder that you are enough, imperfections and all. Also, it's essential to connect with a supportive community of writers who understand the journey and can offer encouragement during those moments of doubt."
5. The Art of Facing Critics
Let go of the need for universal approval. Understand that not everyone will appreciate your work, and that's okay.
Authors need to learn the art of letting go: "Someone gave you a one-star, and they're not even your enemy, they're not even your friend, they're just some person who read your book and came across it... It's really Zen to go, 'Oh my God, I could do something I think is beautiful, and someone will go, that sucks,' and you're like, 'Oh, I guess it sucks to them.'"
"We're always our hardest critic... we've got to be able to look at ourselves and go, 'You did really well then, you worked really hard at this, and I'm really proud of you.'"
6. The Power of Perspective
Gain diverse perspectives, both in writing and in life, to enhance storytelling and break free from limiting rating systems.
"The notion of like good, great, poor, all of that, it's lacking imagination... I'd remove the star rating system, and I would also make everyone themselves... everyone's just them, and then that kind of ties into this idea that if you have something to say, here's hoping it's quite insightful or profound."
7. Freedom to Write
Laurie's transformative experience at Veruna highlights the liberating power of writing without constraints, focusing on word count goals, and immersing oneself in the creative process.
"During those two weeks at Veruna, I gave myself the freedom to write without any constraints. I set a daily word count goal and committed to hitting it without fail, which was about 6,750 words a day. I immersed myself in writing, with only occasional breaks to walk in nature and listen to music. I didn't edit as I went; I focused on getting the words out. It was a liberating and transformative experience to be able to write with such intensity and freedom."
8. What Makes Writing Is Different?
Unlike other professions, writing is an integral part of a writer's identity, always present and evolving.
In other spaces, there is a "compartmentalization that doesn't happen with writing. It's like even if you write in a different place you still carry that around with you all the time and you're processing it all the time ... I think the best writers ... at some point just lose them, the egoy them that's in the room."
9. Authenticity and Vulnerability
Laurie's commitment to authenticity, sincerity, and vulnerability in his writing underscores the importance of genuine storytelling.
"With Love, Dad, I made a deal with my creativity coach that whatever I wrote was going to be authentic, have sincerity and vulnerability. Once those three things were in place it was impossible to write a book that was self-aggrandizing or entitled or anything because I had to be vulnerable. I had to be authentic. I had to be sincere."
10. What Makes You A Writer?
Being a writer is a journey of self-discovery and pride in one's work. It's a calling that goes beyond external recognition.
"There are two sides to it in that doing great work gives one pride as a writer and the rewards in that space are so huge that you almost can't explain to someone else why you do it."
"I encourage writers to be kind to themselves when they're not literally putting words on the page because it doesn't matter because they are writers... a story is evolving even as they're sitting there."
"It's bigger than that, it's bigger than books, it's life, it's what we're meant to be here to do."
In the world of writing, the journey is just as important as the destination. Laurie Steed's insights, in his own words, offer valuable guidance to writers navigating the twists and turns of their own creative paths. Embrace your identity, handle criticism gracefully, and remember that writing is not just a job—it's a calling.
Find out more about Laurie Steed: https://www.lauriesteed.com
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