Who, What, When, Where, and Why with Cassie Premo Steele
Who were you when you were younger and what advice would you give to this younger self?
I was a strange little kid. I spent a lot of time in bed reading – or if the weather was nice, in trees or by a little pond, writing. I wrote in journals that I numbered for future biographers so they would know if one were missing. This seems weird now, but I had a very clear sense that I was born to be a writer. My childhood was chaotic and books literally saved my life. Madeleine L’Engle, Judy Blume, Jane Little—I carried their novels with me through the day like talismans.
The advice I would give is this: be yourself. Do not worry when people call you strange or crazy or selfish. You have been given an incredible gift, and you will grow to use this gift to serve the world. Be patient. All your dreams are coming true.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I had an “aha” moment about ten years ago. I used to write in very difficult ways – I had been trained as an academic, so I understand and love languages and world literature, philosophy, theology, feminist theory. And I could write like that. And I worked very hard at my writing.
But one day, I wrote a poem – just a simple, little poem, I thought – and people really responded. I was shocked. It had come so easily to me! How could it be this easy?
And that’s when I learned that the easiest thing you do as a writer is what you should do. It is the gift you’ve been given, and that’s what the world needs you to write. What do you enjoy writing? What’s so simple you could do it with your eyes closed? What comes naturally to you? Do that. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I decide this every day. As I said, I was born with the sense that I was a writer. But then, many years later, I had to re-make this decision over and over again: when I decided not to go on the job market nationally so I could stay near my stepdaughter and also write; when I decided to use my savings to take some time off from teaching to write my novel, Shamrock and Lotus; when I decided to stop teaching as an adjunct so I could open my writing coaching business and also write; when I decide each morning to balance work and family and writing. It is a decision that must be made again and again and again.
BIO: Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D. is the award-winning author of twelve books and audio albums. A wise and encouraging writing coach, she works with people one-on-one in person and via phone, web and Skype to teach them easy ways of co-creating the writing life they want.
She also teaches classes and leads groups for military families through http://www.couragebeyond.org Her poetry has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, and her next book, earthjoywriting, will be released in 2015 from Ashland Creek Press.
Birthing the Mother Writer Column at Literary Mama: http://www.literarymama.com/columns/birthingthemotherwriter/
Blog Posts at Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cassie-premo-steele/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cassie-Premo-Steele/e/B001HP93N2