Write Now With Rachel Lippincott

Today's Write Now interview features Rachel Lippincott, author of FIVE FEET APART, SHE GETS THE GIRL, and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND PITTSBURGH.

Write Now With Rachel Lippincott
Photo courtesy of Rachel Lippincott

Who are you?

I’m Rachael Lippincott, a young adult author who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What do you write?

I mostly write contemporary romance stories in the YA space. My first four books, Five Feet Apart, All This Time, The Lucky List, and She Gets the Girl, all fit that bill pretty cleanly, but my most recent, Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh, has got a bit of time travel and historical fiction sprinkled into it. Maybe because of this most recent foray, I don’t think there are any words or themes I actively try to avoid. I just write about what excites me. What is floating around in my head, the open page is a place to express it and wrestle with it. I think it’s always been like that!

I started writing in 3rd grade. I had a teacher that would give me writing prompts as extra work to do during recess and at home. The classics, like: “a door opens and a man walks inside, what happens next?!” I think I pretty much just used it as a chance to write Magic Treehouse fanfiction. But, either way, I knew pretty quickly that I loved writing, and I knew that I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

And my 3rd grade self was on to something. I love what I do. It’s a real dream come true that I get to sit down and write and live in stories for a living. The fact that I get to write sapphic romances, the kind of books I would have wanted to read in high school. I feel incredibly fortunate.

Where do you write?

I typically write at a desk tucked into the corner of my bedroom, on a desktop computer, on Google Docs after Word betrayed me one early morning in college and deleted a huge chunk of an essay it had not saved. I used to have a home office, but my adorable 1-year-old sleeps in there now. I feel like I don’t need anything too fancy or particular to write, especially because now I don’t have the luxury of time. I like a cup of tea, maybe a pair of headphones in, even though I can’t listen to music while writing, and a snack to either dunk in the tea or crunch on once it’s done.

When do you write?

Lately, a lot of my writing has been away from the desk. As noted, having a kid, I don’t have that much time to get the work done, so when I do, it has to be as efficient as possible. No more scrolling through social media and staring blankly at the screen.

I’ll come up with scenes driving in the car, putting her down for a nap while sipping my morning coffee and trying to gain consciousness. Then, I do all my writing at night after she goes to sleep, pouring all I’ve come up with throughout the day onto the page. My time limit is bedtime, and instead of a word count goal, it’s usually a chapter. I am a big outliner, so it helps that I have some idea of what I need to get done that day long before I sit down at the desk.

Why do you write?

I write because it’s what I love to do. It’s how I make sense of the world, how I exist, stories floating through my head as I daydream my way through the day.

Lately, I am so excited and motivated by the sapphic stories I get to tell, like I’m filling this gap I had in my own childhood. I’m motivated by the readers that are excited to see these stories on shelves. Seeing young LGBTQ+ people eager to pick up my books is the greatest motivator.

At her launch event this past spring for her book Forget Me Not, my wife was talking about how she writes to entertain, and that really spoke to me for Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh. I really wanted people, specifically gay people, to just be able to sit down and escape into the pages of my book, and to have a damn good, entertaining time, doing it.

How do you overcome writer's block?

Always away from the computer and away from the page. I’ll listen to music, go on walks, stew on it throughout the day, talk to my wife. Rarely is the solution found for me by sitting at the desk.

Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?

Going on hikes, hanging out with my wife and baby, eating dinner with family, watching movies and TV shows. Living life, and consuming more content, is the best way to feel inspires.

My thanks to Rachel Lippincott for today's interview.