BIW Member Interview
Lori Robinett lives in Missouri with her husband and daughter. She works full-time as a paralegal, and is the editor of “the Gavel,” a publication of the Mid-Missouri Paralegal Association. She writes under the name Elle Robb, and maintains a website and blog.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Lori Robinett: When I was about eleven or twelve, I discovered that writing was as much of an escape as reading. I read books (the Black Stallion series were my favorites) and dreamed of exotic places and beautiful horses, and began drawing pictures (like floor plans, I am not artistic!) of where I wanted to live. Most were big, sprawling horse ranches. I began to write stories to go along with those drawings.
I always enjoyed writing stories, but didn’t really think I wanted to be a writer. That changed in 2003. My best friend from high school lost her fight with cancer. It suddenly hit me that tomorrow is a promise, and I realized that I wanted to be a writer. My husband bought me a laptop for Christmas that year, I subscribed to Writers Digest, I joined BIW… and I became a Writer.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
Lori Robinett: 1) Writing requires scheduling. Schedule time for writing, or life will always get in the way. If you sit down to write, the dryer will buzz, the kids will need help with homework and the dog will need to go out. That’s life. But you can’t let life keep you from going back to your writing. It helps to do something like BIW, so that you have time calendared every month for writing.
2) Writing is hard work. Your writing muscle is just like any other muscle. You have to condition it, and you have to work out, or it goes “flabby.” It requires you to sit down on a regular basis and write, whether you are inspired or not.
3) Finishing a story is one of the most satisfying things you will ever experience. I’ve done a lot of things that have made me happy and left me feeling satisfied, but I can’t think of anything that comes close to the feeling I get when I write the last words of a novel. During the last page of the first novel I wrote, tears were streaming down my face. It was such an emotional experience, and I felt as if I was on top of the world.
Moe: What are you working on now?
Lori Robinett: I am editing a novel I wrote in 2006, and am in the beginning stages of a novel that was inspired by the Anna Nicole press coverage. I also have a suspense novel that is polished that I’m submitting to agents, which is getting some interest, so hopefully it will be published soon.
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?
Lori Robinett: On Writing by Stephen King. It is an absolute must-read for every writer, regardless of whether or not they like him as a novelist. It is a combination memoir/writing book. It inspired me like no other book I’ve ever read.
Moe: What is your favorite writing website?
Lori Robinett: Writer’s Digest. I rarely sit down and read the print version, but I enjoy reading the articles online, because I can do that over my lunch hour. It keeps me in touch with the industry, and is practical.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Lori Robinett: Take it seriously. This means put it on your family calendar in big letters and in your Day Planner (if you work outside the home). If a friend invites you out for dinner that week, take a rain check for the following week. Have a writing space that is separate from the family space and go there at a certain time. Shut the door. Wear a hat. Drink coffee from your BIW mug. Do whatever you need to do to make it clear to your family that you take this seriously. After all, if you don’t take it seriously, how do you expect them to?