Question, answer session with author Lee Woodruff

Troubled times have struck author and “CBS This Morning” contributor Lee Woodruff’s family more than once. Together, the Woodruffs have dealt with the loss of an unborn child, the diagnosis that their daughter was deaf, and a husband who suffered from a traumatic brain injury while reporting in Iraq.

Woodruff visited Guilford‘s campus on Wed., Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium to discuss her debut novel, “Those We Love Most,” and inspire young writers at Guilford.

 

Q: At what point does the process of writing — including bizarre subjects — become worth it?

A: That question will differ a little bit for everyone else. If you had a trust fund and could write whatever you want, that would be awesome, but you might be unmotivated.

Sometimes you need “just pay the bills” jobs. As long as I could feed my passion and do the things I wanted to do, I would find ways to enjoy it anyway. There’s even an artful way to write about the appeal of kitty litter.

 

Q: For anyone with friends going through tough trials, what do you think would be the best approach to help them?

A: Find out what they need done and just do it. Don’t ask what they need.  Be there without being intrusive, and try to empathize, not sympathize.

Q: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you through the troubles with your family?

A: Don’t go day-to-day. Go hour-by-hour on the worst days.

 

Q: How have these struggles shaped your faith? 

A: It’s made me believe in the fact that miracles do happen, although they aren’t always the things cloaked in white and with angels. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes.

 

Q: What are your goals for the rest of your career and family life?

A: Stay healthy. Try to live in the moment as much as I can. Laugh a lot.

 

Q: What advice do you have for young writers at Guilford?

A: Write as often as you can. Write about anything; simply the act of writing is practice.  Keep a journal when the spirit moves you, but don’t keep on if it’s just something you feel you ”should” do. Read as much as you can — reading only helps strengthen your writing — and own a hard copy of a thesaurus, and when you are bored, open it up and find new words, and let the words inspire you. Always set your work down and pick it up again and keep editing, tightening and revising.  But then when you feel like it’s close to done, be done with it.