When a writer you know hits publication of national distribution with a household name like "Chicken Soup for the Soul," you can't help but make a big deal out of it.Julie Luek may have just snagged her first major step into the big leagues and we're all very proud of her. A past contributor to the Rock, she has always had elegance about her writing. It comes as no surprise that she wowed the editors for this anthology.
CIR: What is your essay about?JL: The theme of the Chicken Soup book was The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide. I wrote a story titled, First Feed The Heart, about a time I forgot (yes forgot) my son at school when he was only in Kindergarten. I was so busy trying to balance work, home, and being a parent, somehow he got lost in that shuffle. Fortunately, all ended well, but it was a good lesson in slowing down and taking care of myself, one I hoped to share with other moms.
Writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul was a bit different than other kind of writing I’ve done. When I write for a magazine, I am usually writing to inform or educate in an easy-to-read, hopefully entertaining format. Chicken Soup requires a more personal and pithy approach, wrapping up with some kind of heart-felt encouragement or happy ending. It was fun to try and find out if I could capture the editor’s attention.
CIR: You've always been very encouraging to me and so many other writers. Do you find your support rewarding in ways that you couldn't have expected? The reason I ask is: you are an inspiration to me in that regard, even though I fail too often to lend such encouragement. Time is my enemy and then there's the self absorption thing...JL: As with my friendship with you, I feel so privileged to know encouraging and supportive writers ahead of me on the journey who are willing to share with me their experiences with the writing and sometimes very frustrating publishing processes. I love the connections and hanging out with people who “get” me. I’m glad I can be encouraging, but would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that I gain far more writer friends like you than I give.
CIR: You're a runner and a bit of a Zen master to my understanding. Does this help with the patience necessary to write?JL: This question makes me laugh. I’m a jogger, a very slow, oh-my-gosh-when-will-this-three-miles-be-over, jogger. And you know more than almost anyone how I over-analyze everything, so I’m not even sure I can claim the Zen title either.
Maybe because I have written so many magazine articles, I actually like the structure and formula of writing shorter pieces with a definite reader-awareness intention. I also enjoy long amounts of time alone in complete silence and digging into my own thought and feeling awareness. Where I struggle is with the larger, more ambiguous projects that other writers seem to thrive on.CIR: What's your next project?
JL: Speaking of larger, ambiguous projects… I have a nonfiction book idea but getting it from idea to fruition is killing me. How do you authors do it? I have rewritten the introduction and first chapter at least three times. I diligently avoid working on it by tinkering on my blogs or online platform building (yeah, OK, too much time on Facebook and Pinterest).I also have a workshop gig, on the subject of platform building actually, to prepare for the upcoming Writing In The Rockies conference in Gunnison at Western State Colorado University.
CIR: Thanks, Julie! We'll be keeping an eye out for your name on the bestsellers lists!JL: Thanks Dave and CIR for your continued support and friendship and letting me blab about what I’m doing.
Interview conducted by Gusto Dave