Friday, August 5, 2011

Laurie Halse Anderson: The Nuts and Bolts of Crafting a Creative Life

Laurie Halse Anderson is an award-winning author of many books for children.

You've got to love an author who starts her session with: So everyone’s screwed for time and not feeling very creative, huh? I feel your pain.

Laurie notes: I’m an author because of SCBWI. I’m an author because the authors I listened to at SCBWI told me the truth and I’m a grown up. (She could handle it.)

"Welcome to Laurie Beth’s Boot Camp."

On September 7, 1992 she had her moment when she took her child to the bus stop. On that day, instead of going to the Pancake House, she went and wrote in her journal, “I give myself 5 years to get published.” Notes she should have given herself ten years. (Although it did take her only 4 years.)

The Myths that Hurt Us
1. If you get published you'll be free from financial pressure.
2. Being published will solve all the painful personal conflicts in your life.
3. Full time authors who make a living writing their books belong to a club run by Jon Sciezska. 

Attitudes You Want to Grow in Your Soul
  • 24 hours in a day is more than enough.
  • The universe wants you to be creative.
  • Change equals discomfort. Discomfort won't kill you.
  • You have the intelligence to reclaim your lost time, but are you brave enough?
  • You have more control over how you spend your precious time and energy than you care to admit.


  1. Laurie Halse Anderson is an author I respect and admire, and I hope to be even a smidgen like her someday. Her first two points under "Myths" are so important for aspiring writers to hear, especially considering the realities of the publishing world. It's important for writers to ask themselves this: Why do I write? What is important to me about writing? What do I hope to accomplish through publishing my work? To often, my students who want to be writers say they want to be rich and famous, and/or that they want their version of a story to be the "official" one. That leaves me asking "What about the writing? What about the product itself and what's best for it?"

    Also, all the points under "Attitudes" are important for creative types to hear. If there's one thing I constantly reinforce with my students, it's that we as individual have the control over how our time and energy is spent. I do think Anderson is right -- it takes bravery to reclaim our lost time because that reclaiming means we are being true to our deeper selves, and that can be scary for some people because it can lead to some tough choices.

    Thanks to Laurie Halse Anderson for speaking her truths, and to Cuppa Jolie for sharing those truths with those of us who could not be in attendance at the conference!

  2. I've heard Laurie's words of wisdom at a conference before, and what I wouldn't give to hear more. Thanks for sharing the main inspirational points with us! Now I'm off to attempt to grow those attitudes in my soul. :)

  3. Reading this book was a life-changing. Once I saw life through Melinda's eyes, I understood what it is like to have been outcast. I may not have the life experience Melinda did, but Laurie has a way with words that made me feel as if I, myself we're Melinda and that I was dealing with what she had to.