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Advice from Eloisa James: Throw Your Heart into It

By on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 in Eloisa James | 2 comments

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I had the great (and a little bit scary) honor of introducing Eloisa James yesterday at a library in Cleveland. How did that come about?! You might say it was accidental networking. One of the many perks of being active in your own RWA chapter!

Anyway, Eloisa was on tour promoting her new book Once Upon a Tower, one of her reimagined fairy tale books that she described as a cross between Romeo and Juliet and Rapunzel. It sounds fabulous!

She said something in her chat last night that really stuck with me as a writer struggling to become an author. Here is is (below the pic of me and my NEORWA friends with Eloisa last night):

Northeast Ohio RWA (NEORWA) friends and me (second from left) with NYT Bestselling author
 Eloisa James.

Someone asked her how she does it all–she is a tenured Shakespeare professor, the NYT Bestselling author many times over of historical romances, as well as a wife and mom. Part of her answer was this:  I learned from watching how men did it. 

What does that mean exactly? She described how in graduate school, the women in her program would worry over their papers, constantly revising, perfecting, getting them just right. The men…just did the work and got it turned in. And they succeeded academically and promotion-wise by keeping the quantity of work in mind as well as the quality. Women seemed to strive for perfection, being afraid to turn it in until it was perfect.

She also said this very interesting quote about the many different tasks and chores that make up a woman’s life:  “Whatever you’re doing, throw your heart into it.” She said she often knows she is writing crap but she just keeps going–she can fix it but she has the sense of moving ahead. The story gets told and the job gets done. Moral:  Quit striving for absolute perfection.

This resonates deeply with me. It showcases the differences between my husband and me. I don’t know if it’s a gender difference but it is true in my house. But it’s great advice–Whatever you’re doing, throw your heart into it, get your story told, get your work done. Only finished books get published!

Mountain in West Virginia (my photo).