Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world?
As a child, I always felt things deeply, but had a tough time expressing them out loud. Writing was my outlet. And I always saw my emotions reflected in the pages of books. Today, writing feels more important than ever, as the world has become so divided. I believe that every voice matters, but sometimes we can't hear each other over the din of that division. So writing can be a way for people to connect with one another and share similar or differing viewpoints, with the safe space to really hear each other.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block?
There's a cure for that? 😉 I find it helpful to read something in a completely different genre than the book I'm writing. I also find it helpful to be open to working on a different project than the one I had intended to work on that day. Sometimes I will get really quiet and literally ask my manuscripts in progress, okay, which one wants to be worked on today? And generally it's not the one I'd planned on, but it's always the right one.
What is your favorite time to write? I used to be an early bird and get most of my writing done in the wee hours of the morning. But then I became a night owl. And now I'd say my most productive hours are mid-morning and early afternoon. So for me, paying attention to those changing rhythms, and honoring them, is what helps my productivity. Trying to stick to a set time just seems to set me up for frustration!
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers I love Anne Lamott's writing advice in her book Bird by Bird. There are so many gems in there, including when she quotes E.L. Doctorow as saying that writing is like getting behind the wheel of a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but that's okay. You don't have to see your destination. You only have to see a few feet in front of you, because you can make the whole trip that way. I think of that whenever I'm having a tough time seeing the big picture of my story. I just go by what I can see a few feet in front of me, and eventually I arrive.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? I write for kids and my books feature strong women finding their voices and creating change. So what excites me the most is being able to have an impact on children by encouraging them to clarify what matters to them, and then find ways to express that out into the world.
Elisa Boxer's A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story, illustrated by Laura Freeman, is out now with Crown Books for Young Readers.