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creativity

Wonder: Writers, be kind to yourselves

“Thomas Mann was a prodigy of production. He wrote a page a day. He was one of the most prolific literary writers who ever lived.” ~ Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

I started reading Annie Dillard’s book The Writing Life by accident. I was reminded of it on Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being. She was interviewing Elizabeth Gilbert, who referred to the book as one of her forms of inspiration and guidance. I went to Amazon and hit “Buy with 1-click” by accident. It was a very happy accident because it gave me exactly the message I needed, the one I need just about 6 times a day: Christa, it’s all going to get done.

Emerson Page, the protagonist in my book, has taken a long time to tell me her story. We’re at about a year and a half into our adventure. She hides. She changes her mind. She only tells me her history in drips and drabs, because she is just learning all of it herself. Writing happens in a flood only once in a very great while. Even if you’re insanely talented or extremely lucky (or a combination of the two), writing is a lot like life. A page is a day, to be written and lived only one at a time. And that’s if you’re doing this full-time.

So now I’m closing in on making all my edits. I’m 80% of the way there. I’ll finish those out in the next couple of weeks. Then I’ll give it a read through in one sitting to correct grammar, spelling, and replace a word here or there. Then it’s on to writing query letters to contacts I’ve made over this nearly two-year journey and we’ll see what happens to me and Emerson. Maybe one agent out of 1,000 will send me back less than a form rejection note. Maybe a small press will show some interest. Maybe it’ll be deafening silence. As a writer, you’ve got to hope and work for the best and completely detach yourself from any idea of recognition or return.

I wrote Emerson’s story because I wanted to know it. I sat with her, and the many other characters surrounding her, for so many hours that I’ve lost count. She is never far from my mind, wherever I am, whoever I’m with, whatever I’m doing. She pops up, whispers something I can barely hear, and I follow her to listen, watch, learn, and get it all down. One word, one page, one day at a time.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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