About Elisabeth Stitt:
After years of babysitting and being a camp counselor, Elisabeth Stitt taught mostly Language Arts for 25 years. Most of those years were with 7th graders, but at some point in her teaching she taught every grade except 11th in some capacity or another including German, social studies, multi-cultural education, ELD, adolescent skills and character education. She also worked as the Outreach Teacher (a position akin to being school counselor) before leaving education to start her business as a parenting coach.
Elisabeth started Joyful Parenting Coaching because she noticed the increasing trends for parents to be anxious and overwhelmed. Her mission is to provide that place to which parents can turn to gain the concrete skills they need to be effective–and joyful at the same time. There are a broad range of parenting philosophies, techniques and approaches that are effective. Elisabeth advocates her core principals of clarity, connection and consistency, but how those get implemented needs to be tailored to each individual family. Find Elisabeth’s blogs, workshops, webinars and one-on-one coaching services on her website.
Elisabeth’s book, Parenting as a Second Language: A Guide for Joyfully Navigating the Trials, Triumphs and Tribulations of Parenthood, reflects her many years of teaching. Her conversational style and the many exercises in the book reflect her years of connecting to her students in the classroom.
What inspires you to write?
Having an impact on people is the reason I write. I want parents to feel supported and that they are not alone. I share a lot of my own my own parenting stories–not to embarrass myself–but to show that we’ve all been there. The hardest thing about parenting is that you feel like you only get one shot with each kid. But actually, you get a new shot every day. Every day you wake up with a new chance to be the parent you want to be. I write to help people be that parent.
Tell us about your writing process.
A lot of my blogs and my book chapters came from workshops I have developed. For teachers, lesson planning always starts with What do I want my students to know or be able to do in the end? Then you back plan: What is the first piece of what I want them to know or be able to do? The second piece? The third? So, I start there. Then to flesh it out, I ask myself where did I learn the lesson I want to teach? That’s where the stories and anecdotes come from.
As for the actual writing, I set aside Tuesdays to write the book. I told myself I couldn’t get up until I had written 1000 words. Most Tuesdays I wrote more than 1000 words, but having the clear expectation of 1000 words disciplined me to sit and focus and get started for the day. Once I was 300-400 hundred words in, I was usually on a roll.
The overall structure for the book came from my publisher/editor Valerie Alexander who created the “…As a Second Language” series. It was her idea to model the series after foreign language text books. That’s how we came to the verbs of parenting, the nouns of parenting, etc.
What advice would you give other writers?
Non-fiction writing really isn’t different than the first research report you wrote in the fourth grade. The process of gathering information, organizing it roughly, going back and gathering more information, reorganizing it, writing it section by section, and then finally going back and rereading, editing, rewriting for balance and tone, deciding what needs to be cut and what needs fleshing out. And editing some more. All that is pretty similar. I, at least, find it very comforting to just focus on one chunk at a time. One internal voice might say, Who are you to write a book?! Another internal voice will wheedle, Just write this one section. My advice is listen to the voice that says just do this much—just write 1000 words, just write a short essay on X, just write up your notes on Y. After a while, all the little pieces gain momentum of their own.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I would have never ever have written a book on my own. My editor, Valerie Alexander, asked me to write it. She made it seem like a perfectly reasonable thing to do! Because her previous books already had a structure, I tested out the idea of writing the book by copying some of her chapters, only applying them to parenting. Although my first try didn’t get used in the end, it got me going, and Valerie’s confidence made me buckle down and keep going.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
If only the adults in my house read books printed on paper, I might despair that printed books are on their way to disappearing completely, but my children read books, actual books. My mother-in-law is the only one in the house who uses a Kindle, and her preference is based mostly on being able to adjust the size of print and not having to be sitting in good light.
I would never have written Parenting as a Second Language if Valerie hadn’t asked me and, I suspect, Valerie (who always has multiple projects on her plate) would probably not have taken the effort to find a publisher. And wouldn’t that be too bad? The “…As a Second Language” series has an important perspective to offer readers.
In that way, I do think that the internet is a great equalizer when it comes to being able to get your word out there. I access short ebooks all the time to learn new information or to hear someone’s story. It really makes consumers the gatekeepers of what is read rather than publishers. Yes, that does mean there is a lot of crap out there, but works that have real value, that are truly useful to people or resonate greatly with them, get posted and shared at a rate they never would otherwise.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: parenting
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.