The best part of this work has been watching other writers blossom.

Send me an email:
lisa [at] lisacooperellison.com

Before choosing to work as a freelance writer and editor, I spent eleven years in the helping professions—first as a special education teacher and then as a mental health therapist. While working in those fields, I developed strong active listening skills that helped clients revise their personal narratives and connect with their creativity. During that time, I wrote in the evenings, attended graduate-level MFA courses in fiction, and opted for professional assignments that furthered my growth as a writer.

In 2014, I took the plunge and started working on a memoir and wrote freelance articles and personal essay for magazines and journals. I also started facilitating mindfulness-based writing groups and providing developmental editing for writers. Eventually this led to my work as a writing coach.

John Irving writes, “Half my life is an act of revision.” For many people that period of revision feels like a lonely road. That’s why I firmly believe in the power of creative support. For me, the best part of being an editor, coach, and facilitator has been watching other writers blossom.

Publications

• “Remembering Molly” published in The Rumpus on October 31, 2015 Link: http://therumpus.net/2015/10/the-saturday-rumpus-essay-remembering-molly/
• “My brother had mental health issues and committed an awful crime. But I love him” published in The Guardian on September 14, 2015. Link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/14/my-brother-mental-health-issues-committed-awful-i-love-him
• “Mavericks, Makers, and Innovators” published in the August 2015 issue of Charlottesville Family
• “Under My Skin” published in the April 2015 issue of Gravel Literary Journal. Link: http://www.gravelmag.com/lisa-ellison.html
• “Farm to Table: Ten Tips for Joining a CSA” co-written with Beth N. Davis and published in the 2015-2016 Healthy Living Directory

Current Writing Projects and Classes

In the Land of Flood and Slaughter is a 75,000-word coming of age memoir about the events that led me to carry my belongings in trash bags across a divided highway during the summer before my senior year—this time determined I was leaving home for good. On a microcosmic level it’s about my life in two opposing households—one with parents who let my twin brothers and I run wild and one with my grandmother who never let us outdoors. On a macrocosmic level, it’s a story about the loss that engulfed Elmira, New York, a town in northern Appalachia devastated by Hurricane Agnes and the subsequent recession that left behind a world where the only opportunities left were in the prison.

• Essays about grief and loss, the function of memory, and what it means to be a “good girl.”

Upcoming classes: Writing from Your Bones, Writing for Health, and Writing with an Open Heart

Recent Editing Projects

Developmental edits for a books on leadership, memoir, and personal essays.
• Manuscript evaluations in fiction and self-help
• Developmental and copy editing for a behavioral health program policies and procedures manual at the Charlottesville Free Clinic
• Co-editor for the Central Valley Counselors Association (CVCA) newsletter (2009 – 2012)
• Updated and improved the 5-county 2010 Comprehensive Directory of Mental Health Services, published by James Madison University, and created an online version of this publication to increase access and improve use

Education & Professional Development

• Writer House: Year-long MFA Courses in Memoir (2015 & 2016)
• 2015 & 2016 Creative Nonfiction Conference
• 2015 Virgnia Quarterly Review Conference: partial tuition scholarship, selected reader
• James Madison University: Ed.S Clinical Mental Health Counseling
• Spalding University: M.A.T. Learning and Behavior Disorders
• University of Louisville: B.A. English Literature and Creative Writing, summa cum laude

I’ve had the privilege of studying under the following writers: Lee Gutkind, Paul Griner, Jeffrey Skinner, Dinty Moore, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, and Sharron Harrigan.

Professional Organizations

Awards & Accolades

• Honorable Mention in the Cville Weekly Fiction Contest
• WriterHouse Scholar and selected reader at the 2015 Virginia Quarterly Review Conference
• Helen Mercedes Rosebury Creative Writing Award