Monday, November 21, 2011

Writer Profile: Erin Martin

We're starting a new regular feature here on the BloGG: Writer Profiles! As you can imagine, Gotham Ghostwriters knows a lot of writers, all of whom are working on exciting projects. If you're wondering what goes on in a writer's head on a typical writer's day, this series will give you some insight.  

Our inaugural profilee is longtime GG friend and writer Erin Martin, a former reporter for the Hartford Courant and deputy press secretary to U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. A graduate of Stanford University, Erin has managed political development programs in post-apartheid South Africa and Namibia. She also worked for The September 11th Fund, a World Trade Center relief organization, and for a Madison Avenue communications consultancy. She lives in New York City.

GG: What's a typical "writer's day" for you?
EM: The only certainty in my day is that first cup of coffee.  After that, it all depends. Thankfully, no two days are the same!

GG: What's the most rewarding writing project you've done?
EM: As someone whose livelihood depends on versatility in writing, I try to find something rewarding in every project. I don’t ever want to feel that I’m writing something for the paycheck, or that the final product doesn’t matter to me. Not caring about the project = poor product and bored writer.

That said, the most rewarding projects have been ones in which I felt that my writing captured the essence of a person, place, or situation. Two leaders in that category are the newly released Fit to Serve, the book I did with Jim Hormel, America’s first openly gay ambassador, and another memoir I did through Gotham, a rags-to-riches story about a Bombay woman who came to the U.S. and made a fortune in radiology.

What do you do when you're not writing?
I support my writing habit with short-term communications consulting. Interesting recent gigs included a project in Bosnia to promote intellectual property rights, and another in Kosovo to explain and drum up support for the country’s new tax system.

What's the toughest thing about being a writer?
Discipline. The tiniest of writing roadblocks can prompt my socks to yell from their drawer, demanding re-organization, or cause cookbooks to throw themselves off the shelves and open to a must-make-this-tonight recipe.

What are some great writer resources you depend on?
I used to find inspiration in hearing authors discuss their work, until one afternoon at Lincoln Center I heard a Peruvian short-story writer counseling artists to cancel their magazine and newspaper subscriptions, cut off their cable television, and shut themselves off to all outside voices. His suggestion was extreme, but the ideas of eliminating extraneous chatter and looking internally for guidance appealed to me. What that means, I guess, is that I strive to let my own voice be my number one resource. 

1 comment:

Ellen said...

"Not caring about the project = poor product and bored writer."


Great interview ... and what a fascinating career Erin has.

I'm right with her on that first cup of coffee, too!