Take Five with Laurie Garrison
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Take Five with Laurie Garrison

Laurie Garrison, PhD, is Founder and Director of Women Writers School. Described as eccentric, eclectic, challenging Laurie doesn’t play by the rules; she makes her own. When she was a lecturer, she used to joke about how she didn’t want another academic job; she wanted to start her own university. Women Writers School is just that (nearly). So she is currently in her dream job, helping women writers to create theirs too. She can certainly help you pursue and promote your creative work, whether it is a side gig or your full-time career.  

She has written ‘Women Writers in the Twenty-First Century’, a short guide to online innovations for women writers takes a hard look at traditional publishing’s bias against women writers and argues that the online world can help redress the imbalance. Online teaching and training can be tailored to to suit the needs of women writers; online marketing techniques naturally lend themselves to developing specialist communities of women writers; and a variety of new publishing options provide alternatives to traditional publishing.

Practising what she preaches, Laurie will soon open up registration for her latest intake on the online course, ‘Online Self-Promotion (That Won’t Make You Feel Slimy)'. This is an essential for any woman writer wanting to be in control of marketing, helping you develop a network of other writers and get your writing in front of audiences you might not normally reach.  Also sign up for her free webinars and look out on Twitter for her monthly #women_writers hour long Twitter chat (follow @lauriebg_)

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
One single thing??? It’s too hard to stick to one. These are the highlights: seeing my students’ satisfaction and excitement when their marketing efforts start to take off. Seeing my students supporting each other and helping each other out whether it’s through giving each other advice or sharing each other’s blog and social media posts.This is the ethos behind my business: that women writers should be helping other women writers out. We are the underdogs after all. I also really like seeing my course content looking really beautiful and professional on my website (I do most of my own design). And then, of course, since I’m my own boss, there’s the freedom to drop everything and go surfing once in a while (within reason).

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
My current hero is Hilary Mantel. I have only read the Cromwell novels, but, wow, they're enough to place her at the top of my heroes list. I love the depth of research and her strategy of interrogating moral dilemmas is so enjoyably unsettling. I want to do something with equal psychological depth in my current writing about William Morris trekking around Iceland. He was on a much needed break from being the third wheel in Jane Morris’ affair with Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
If the 41 year old me could have a word with the 25 year old me, she would say: by all means, do a PhD, but don’t pursue a full time career as an academic because you will have to sacrifice so much of your personality it will never be worth it.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
Go surfing (or do some equally exhausting form of exercise), get a good night’s sleep and try again the next day.

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
Converse All Stars. We have so much history.

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