21 Sep Writer Success Story: Alissa Perrucci
We are excited to share a success story of one of our published authors!
Alissa Perrucci, Author Profile
4+ Years Writing, Author of: Decision Assessment and Counseling in Abortion Care: Philosophy and Practice, Shut Up & Write! author, SF Bay Area Chapter
Tell us about your writing project.
I wrote a textbook for abortion counseling – shocking perhaps, but it’s a guide that helps anyone who may be in the position of working with women who are facing one of the most challenging decisions of their life. It’s a niche demographic, not just abortion clinics, but doctors, nurses, social workers, health educators, anyone that may need some guidance or work with women making pregnancy decisions.
I worked as an abortion counselor in the 90’s, and I didn’t know then how it would change my life. I found my calling. I wanted to be in service to women. There was one book at the time, to help people in my position, people who were talking with women about their pregnancy decisions. And I knew back then I wanted to write a book about it. And 15 years later, I did.
How long did it take to write?
I spent about two years to suss out the structure and the framework. I would journal about conversations with patients to try and distill what had been said. I did workshops and bounced off ideas with people, and over time refined the process, the essence of the conversations.
Then it was another two years of writing and editing before I was done.
How did Shut Up & Write! help?
It was the necessary jump-start. It gave me the courage to do it, I needed the company of other writers. When you’re stuck, writing is hard, it’s difficult, lonely and isolating, and when you’re not sure what you’re thinking, you have to find a way to get through it. I came to sessions and wrote by hand, to figure out what I wanted to say. Then, because I didn’t have a laptop, once I had the momentum, I wrote at home.
What are you working on now?
I’m giving lectures and public speaking about abortion counseling. I’m also working on shorter pieces that can live on various blogs; I’m (trying) to adapt to the fact that there is more technology out there now!
Any advice to writers out there?
Practice, practice, practice. Get feedback. Practice again.
In the media, everyone talks about what makes an expert. Andre Agassi said “I’m a good tennis player because I just practiced my ass off.” And psychologist K. Anders Ericsson reminds us that being an expert means practice plus feedback.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Alissa!
Catherine Ellsworth is currently working on a science-fiction novel and runs a monthly critique group in the Bay Area.When not writing and reading, she eavesdrops on commuter conversations, monitors the development of AI, and fantasizes about living on other planets.