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Caption: Click on the video above to hear about Lisa’s experience with Writer’s Relief!
As a former lawyer, our latest featured client, Lisa Leibow, knows the importance of using time wisely. So Lisa was frustrated when she realized most of the time she spent trying to achieve her writing goals was spent on research and tracking submissions—with hardly any time left for actual writing! The verdict: Contact Writer’s Relief! Now Lisa Leibow has more time to write and has been published in Crack the Spine, Rougarou, Sand Hill Review, Sanskrit, and other literary journals.
Read on and watch the video to hear how Writer’s Relief helped Lisa spend more time writing and less time on all the busywork of tracking and market research.
In Lisa’s Own Words
Today, I have a full writing life as an author and academic. However, I’m also a recovering attorney. When I practiced law, I billed my time in six-minute increments. That took diligent time-tracking. A little over a decade ago, when I left my law practice, graduated from Johns Hopkins Writing Program, and began to teach and write full time, I was excited to leave that focus on time behind. After a while, however, I became frustrated by failing to accomplish my writing goals. I had not anticipated how many different tasks I needed to complete to keep my writing life in order! I guess old habits die hard, because I decided to track my time for a while to examine how I was spending it. The overall results showed that, outside of the time required for planning lessons and providing instructor feedback to my students, I devoted the bulk of my time to researching (submission guidelines, researching which journals are reading, names of editors), writing query letters, keeping up with Publishers Weekly, setting up accounts on Submittable, and keeping records of where I sent and who responded. And sometimes after all that, I delayed submitting the story for so long that I needed to redo the market research! What bothered me most was that I was spending the least amount of time devoted to the creative work I love—crafting my novel, short stories, and poems.
I needed to restore (or find in the first place) some balance in my writing life. I gave it a good deal of thought. Unwilling to give up teaching, family, or eating, I tried cutting down on sleep for a while. However, that was a failed experiment—everything else is harder if you don’t get enough sleep. I zeroed in on the large percentage of my time that went to researching, submitting, and tracking submissions. That business side of writing felt the most like “work” to me. That’s a gross understatement. In truth, it sucked the creative energy right out of me. Discovering I could contract out the business side of my writing to an assistant—aka Writer’s Relief—changed everything. (This may sound shallow, but having an assistant was the thing I missed most from my law practice.) Working with Writer’s Relief has made everything better. With them on my team, I have met my goal to always have work circulating. The only times I fail to meet that goal is when all stories out there have been picked up by journals before the next cycle begins!
It’s worked out so well, I’ve not only found more time to devote to my creative work but also found time to provide a platform for others to share their voices by co-founding The Scheherazade Project, an activism through storytelling arts movement. Through the project, I’m fostering a community of art lovers and storytellers from all fields: writers, dancers, visual artists, musicians, comedians, and more. I am building a platform for our voices to delight, entertain, illuminate, and heal the troubles of the world. Now all is well in my writing life.
More About Lisa
Co-founder of The Scheherazade Project, an activism through storytelling arts movement, Lisa’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Coe Review, CommuterLit, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, Evening Street Review, Five on the Fifth, Folly, Griffin, Mulberry Fork, NoVA Bards, Pisgah Review, Red Rose, Sandpiper, and other journals. She earned a master’s in writing with a concentration in fiction from Johns Hopkins University, and teaches writing at George Washington University, Northern Virginia Community College, and community centers in the DC metro area. Lisa’s novel The Plastic World of Ruthie Rosenblum (currently circulating) is a Faulkner-Wisdom Award novel finalist. She’s a two-time merit-based grant recipient and resident at the Vermont Studio Center, and the winner of Pitchapalooza DC. In addition to participating in numerous conferences, including AWP and the Writer’s Digest New York Conference, she is a member of the planning committee for the Washington Writers Conference since 2017, and holds leadership positions with both ShutUp&Write and the Johns Hopkins Writing Program Alumni Association.