Interview with Jessica Keenan Smith
How did you become a writer?
I had considered writing a book since I was diagnosed with epilepsy at around age 12. However I really began writing and editing after I had my daughter. Twitter and Wordpress had just launched, and I wanted to share resources on epilepsy in way that was globally accessible. So I started https://livingwellwithepilepsy.com. I just had no idea my work would take off in the way it has.
What inspires you to write?
Hearing the experiences of other people with epilepsy. Though my seizures have been controlled for more than 20 years, I am still energized to take on a new topic whenever I hear or read someone’s personal experience with epilepsy.
What are your current/future projects?
I am working a book that is part Humans of New York and part Chicken Soup of the Soul. The book showcases the breadth and depth of the epilepsy community around the world both through images and personal stories.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
I do like to sit in my office, shut the door and light a few candles, but that is not possible very often. So, I write when I can and where I can. That can mean writing at night, on weekends, on the couch, in my bed. I’ll be honest it rarely feels like work. But when it does feel like work that’s when I break out the candles.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Be patient. Keep learning. Each step forward is contributing to the journey. I know that sounds terrible. But if you had told me in my twenties that I would be leading two different organizations simultaneously, both in the neurology space without an advanced degree, I would have said you are crazy.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If you had told me at any point in this journey how long it would take to make this dream a reality I might have given up. But that would have been a shame. Because every time I have tried to move this dream forward, I have learned something. Just keep trying – I swear something will come of it.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?