Featured Writer on Wellness: Lisa Kirazian

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on June 25, 2015 • views: 2107

In Pink 3Being sedentary for so long [is the biggest physical challenge of being a writer].

Not getting enough exercise. And posture/eyesight—it’s so easy for me to forget re-adjusting them every so often.

I’m in the process of trying to lose weight that I gained the last several years. So the “sedentary” life of writing is a direct challenge to that  goal. I’m taking the challenge to heart this year. My theme word for 2015 is SHED.  Not only weight, but items and relationships, files, habits—anything that’s no longer truly needed in my life, so I can create more time for what matters most. And I assume that can only help my writing as well.

I also think that the intensely analytical nature of the work itself can be draining—enough so that we have to get up, get out, breathe, and do something brainless and fun each day to erase the Etch-a-Sketch and get a clean slate.

Finally, I think Virginia’s Woolf famous exploration of women finding a space to write—and truly making it one’s own—is a physical challenge for writers.

Lisa's work space: "Very little decor and no piles, so I'm not distracted."

Lisa’s work space: “Very little decor and no piles, so I’m not distracted.”

We have to be honest about our personalities and habits to make sure we create the most effective and empowering environment for ourselves.

You Work at a Computer All Day, Don’t You?

If I stay up late or get up early for writing purposes, I have to make sure that I don’t eat or snack more as a result. I have to drink more water to stay hydrated and alert—and to counteract the amount of caffeine I consume!

I’m also trying to park farther away from destinations to build more walking into my regular schedule when I’m not writing.

Also, I try to get a massage every so often—nothing fancy, but a decent 30-60 minutes at least a few times a year to work out the kinks and knots that build up over time. Whenever I get a massage by a therapist whom I’ve never met, it doesn’t take them long to assess me—they touch my neck and shoulders and say, “You work at a computer all day, don’t you?”

Finally, I do have 2-3 spots (in the house and outside of the house) that are my “writing places,” so that I always know that when I’m there, I’m serious, I’m ready, I’m on it. I’m writing and doing nothing else.

When You Write About People You Know

I think I feel most strongly the self-burden of whether or not I’m being fully honest, or as bold as I should be in my work. And I worry too much about what others might think about what I write, especially those stories that are thinly veiled autobiographical, or biographical about those in my inner circle.

How have I coped? Lots of prayer—and freewrites. Freewrites where the ground rules are that there are no boundaries, no editing, no worry about what people will think. I write assuming no one will see it—but force myself to use it later.

And if I do end up writing something that involves someone who might be offended, I try to talk about it with them and share my reasons for writing it and assure them that there are also fictionalized elements, etc. It’s not exactly them.

Sometimes Saying “No” Brings More Peace

I’ve been propositioned in a variety of unethical ways by writers and producers in the past that I had to walk away from, which was disheartening—and also hard because it meant walking away from some opportunities.

But saying “no” brought far more peace.

Also, on a bad day, I may get into a funk, focusing on who has gotten farther than I have on the path of success. Or I might lose heart when a project very similar to mine has found the production, publication or audience I have sought.

And I’ve had some really disappointing rejections that many don’t even know BUT…the joys of writing and of experiencing the success and impact I’ve had so far have surpassed those difficulties and have been deeply satisfying—so that’s what I remind myself whenever there are tough days.

The One Thing That Has Kept You On Your Path

I believe God put me on this earth to encourage people through writing, speaking and relationships.

So in keeping with that, I find over and over that there are stories I just have to tell—they take hold of me and don’t let go. I’m compelled to express them somehow because they inspire me and I believe they will encourage others.

Advice for a Young Writer: Write Regularly

Never give up: write regularly, whether that means every day, every week, once a month, or one intense weekend per year. Just make it part of your routine, the fabric of your calendar.

The saying “Do What You Love” does not have a timetable or salary level—they’re just saying to do it, and that can look different for different folks. For me, it involves completing one work of writing per year as a general rule, to keep sharp. I write a regular blog to keep the creative muscle active.

My advice to get around “the difficulty” of never giving up is to not always do it in the same way—a room of one’s own is great, but so is an annual writing retreat in nature, or a power day-long retreat in a favorite local café every two months; or a group retreat with other writers once a quarter.

Try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, every November—a fun challenge!) Just mix it up; keep it fun.

* * *

Lisa Kirazian is a writer of plays, screenplays, articles and a novel series. Her scripts have been produced and published nationwide and she directs for stage and screen. Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Performing Arts Magazine, NPR/KPBS Radio, and the San Siego Union Tribute. She blogs weekly about writing and creativity.

Lisa is a graduate of Stanford University. She lives in her native San Diego with her husband and two daughters. She serves on several boards and is a popular speaker. Lisa is currently at work on a new play and her next book.

For more information on Lisa and her work, please see her website, blog, and Amazon author page, or connect with her on Twitter.


BravuraBravura: “BRAVURA” is the first installment in The Music We Made series, a trilogy of novels about the Driscoll family of musicians through three generations.

In “BRAVURA,” siblings Kate and Neil Driscoll reach The Royal School of Music in 1959 London to escape a troubled family past and give everything to reach the world stage.

The book follows Kate and Neil and their circle of friends and loves, from the 1960s to the early 1990s.

Available at Amazon.

Appassionato 2Appassionato: The second installment in The Music We Made series, Appassionato begins as Neil’s daughter, composer/conductor Jenny Driscoll, navigates her own professional journey—and her relationships inside and outside of the music world.

The book follows her life and career from the 1990s to the present day. Coming soon in 2015!

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Comments (3)

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  1. Chere Hagopian says:

    Thank you, Lisa! Great advice for young (and old) writers. Good for you for sticking with your ethics when the going got tough. No one ever regrets doing that!

  2. Thank you for the pleasure of the interview, Colleen – and for all you do for your fellow writers! Cheers.