Ask Me Anything: How Do You Know When Your Story Is “Finished?” with Lisa Cooper Ellison

Writing Your Resilience Episode 24: How Do you Know When Your Story is “Finished?”, photo on the left of the host Lisa Cooper Ellison a middle-aged white woman with silver curly hair wearing a blue dress, and on the left guest Katie Rouse, a young white woman wearing glasses and a white dress with her auburn hair in a braid

About How Do You Know When Your Story Is “Finished?” Ask Me Anything with Lisa Cooper Ellison

In this episode, you’ll meet Katie Rouse, a poet, memoirist, and former student in my Camp Structure course. During this episode, we explore the signals that your story is “finished” and ready to marinate. As you listen to our interview, here are some questions to consider: How do you know it’s time to let a manuscript rest? Do you resist doing it? What fears do you face? What have you done to cope with them? If you’ve let your manuscript rest, what tells you it’s time to pick it back up?



Transcript for How Do You Know When Your Story Is “Finished?” Ask Me Anything with Lisa Cooper Ellison

Katie Rouse is a marketing manager, poet, and freelance writer who explores faith, doubt, and deconstruction. I met Katie in 2023, while she was taking my Camp Structure course. At the time, she was working to find the right structure for her memoir about deconstructing her faith while serving as a missionary in India. During our class, I watched her work come alive as I got to know more about her and her story. She’s published pieces in Missive Mag, Hyssop+ Laurel and the Unmooring. To learn more about Katie, and to subscribe to her newsletter, please see the show notes.

Katie has just finished her structure draft. During this season-ending Ask Me Anything episode, we explore what it looks like to let a manuscript rest so your ideas can marinate before working on late-stage revisions. Before we get to our conversation, I have a few questions for you. How do you know it’s time to let a manuscript rest? Do you resist doing so? What fears do you face? What have you done to cope with them? If you’ve let your manuscript rest, what tells you it’s time to pick it back up? I hope you’ll ponder these questions as you listen along. Now let’s get to my interview with Katie Rouse.  

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Show Notes for How Do You Know When Your Story Is “Finished?” Ask Me Anything with Lisa Cooper Ellison

Welcome to the last episode of Season 2! This second season has been amazing, and I am so grateful for all of the featured guests and all of you listeners. Just as I did last season, I decided to sit behind the microphone and open myself up to answering questions.

In this episode, you’ll meet Katie Rouse, a poet, memoirist, and former student in my Camp Structure course. During this episode, we explore the signals that your story is “finished” and ready to marinate. As you listen to our interview, here are some questions to consider: How do you know it’s time to let a manuscript rest? Do you resist doing it? What fears do you face? What have you done to cope with them? If you’ve let your manuscript rest, what tells you it’s time to pick it back up?

Katie’s Bio: Katie Rouse is a marketing manager, poet, and freelance writer who writes about faith, doubt, and deconstruction. She  loves sending out weekly poems to email subscribers, as well as longer monthly letters. Her work has been published in Missive Mag, hyssop + laurel, and The Unmooring. She published her first book of poetry, Psalms of Deconstruction, in Fall 2021, and is working on her first memoir, which will recount her journey of deconstructing her faith while serving as a missionary in India.

Resources Mentioned During This Episode

Episode Highlights

  • 1:15 Finding the “Good Enough” Completion Point
  • 4:55 Completing Your Work
  • 6:15 The Three Types of Rest
  • 10:15 Signals It’s Time to Return to Your Work
  • 12:36 Common Fears Writers Have Around Rest

Connect with Katie

Connect with your host, Lisa:

Sign up for Psychology of Character Development for Memoirists: https://janefriedman.com/the-psychology-of-character-development-for-memoirists-with-lisa-cooper-ellison/


Produced by Espresso Podcast Production: https://www.espressopodcastproduction.com



About Your Host

Lisa Cooper Ellison is an author, speaker, trauma-informed writing coach, and host of the Writing Your Resilience podcast. She works and writes at the intersection of storytelling and healing, and combines her personal experiences with suicide loss and CPTSD with her clinical training to help writers turn tough experiences into art. Her essays and stories have appeared on Risk! and in The New York TimesHuffPostHippocampus Literary Magazine, and Kenyon Review Online, among others


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