Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults, teens and children. Before becoming a writer, she was an independent bookseller, a freelance editor, a book reviewer, a sort-of librarian and a window washer. Find out more at: www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL
- Lauren, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
I think there can be only one answer to that question – of course I’ve always wanted to help today’s youth! That said, to be successful as a writer, your first goal must be to entertain. Because if your books aren’t entertaining, readers won’t be around to see when you say something brilliant that might help them out in life.
- Can you walk us through how you first got started in your career path?
That would take a whole book to answer! Short version: For 20 years, from the time I was 12, I dreamed of being a writer. But it wasn’t until 1994 that I found the courage to walk away from a good day job to take a chance on myself. And then it was nearly eight more years, during which I wrote many books and held down as many as four part-time jobs at once, before I sold a novel. I began with adult novels and only later expanded into writing for teens and children too.
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to choose a career in the arts without hitting the occasional crisis of confidence. But at the end of the day, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will? My best way of coping with the bumps is by remembering the advice I frequently give out to other writers: “Always remember, the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.”
- I’m wondering if you can help us understand what you attribute your success to.
I can do it in one word: resilience. And, adding a few more words to that, it’s very difficult to succeed as a writer if you wilt every time someone criticizes you or says no to you. A writer’s life is filled with hearing the word no. So you have to learn how to take it, learn how to judge the useful criticism from the bad, and just keeping rolling along.
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
People to listen to them. I think, too often, adults have specific messages they want kids to receive. But the truth is, when you care about someone, it should always be, “I want what’s best for you,” not “I want what’s best for you in relation to me.”
- Lauren, what would you tell a teen who was struggling?
It gets better. It may have become a cliché but it’s so true. There have been times in my life when I was the flavor of the month and times when I was more like the gunk on the bottom of people’s shoes. But the world keeps turning, the wheel of fortune keeps spinning, and just because things are looking down for you right now, it by no means will always be the case.
- What else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
I hope to be able to keep writing for as long as I have the mental ability. I have more stories to tell and I hope people keep wanting to hear them.
- Can you please share with all of us something else that I should have asked you?
How about “What can I make you for dinner?” I’m always wishing someone would ask me that. Writing as much as I do, I’m afraid cooking and cleaning tend to fall by the wayside. The microwave is my friend and, as long as nothing is actively crawling, the house is clean enough!
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
There’s a contact link at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com – thanks for having me!
Thanks for your time Lauren and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!
Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.
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