Izabella Lebig is an accomplished public speaker, a blogger and an Amazon published writer. She wrote her first book featuring Alex Hades, an FBI agent facing the supernatural, at the age of 10. She has released the sequel to it in early 2022.
Today, on the blog she speaks with the Emirates LitFest team and shares rare insight about her writing process and gives advice to aspiring writers.
Who is your inspiration?
A lot of the time I like to say JK Rowling or Rick Riordan are my favorite authors, and they are, because reading their stories goes far more than just to develop my writing.
I’ve spoken to different people over the years, and many more to come, and they’ve all advised the same thing - read to develop your writing. Read to expand your vocabulary. Study how they write and apply the same thing.
But JK Rowling’s and Rick Riordan’s stories are exciting, hilarious and action packed, but at the same time they have a meaningful and wholesome moral beneath them. The kind of relationship I’ve built with these stories had led me to create stories, build worlds, of my own.
Of course, as time progressed I’ve moved on. I continue to explore new concepts, new worlds, new bases of inspiration. I’d just started Divergent, I looked into books like The Yellow Brick War, One Of Us is Lying. I also tried looking into Marvel Comics - assuming I could find any.
But I’m sure a number of readers could agree when I say, the relationship you built with the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series is one of a kind. They’re not just books they’re worlds, they’re concepts that become a part of you.
What is your writing process?
I’ve definitely had lots of ideas, countless scenarios I’d built over time. But before I sit down, open up my laptop and start typing, I select a solid idea. A novel concept that I could actually plan out and develop, not just a setting that I would lose interest in over time. Once I have that, I plan.
Planning, especially while writing a book, takes longer than one would think. On top of the life I have outside of writing, there’s the long hours of research, fixating and obsessing over little details, links, connections, and the big picture of the story itself.
My parents tried their best to help me out. Early in the morning on a weekend, usually a Saturday, we go out to a specific coffee shop, sit in a specific place, and I plan. It’s not constricting in anyway, where I sit I have the open space view to gaze at, get lost in my thoughts as the story runs its course through my mind.
After planning the story, is the writing process itself. It plays out just the same. Like any other writer I have my floods of inspiration and creativity. Other days I have my droughts. I could either spend the time pouring out beautiful scenes, putting them together like pieces of a puzzle. Or, I could spend hours staring blankly at the screen, before spewing anything that I thought was relevant to the story, leaving it for me to find it the next day, with a clearer mind, so I could – hopefully – turn it into something beautiful again.
The writing process will surely be different for everyone. But I think the best way to really understand how writing works is by remembering – it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts the most.
Any advice for budding writers?
There’s only two things you need to remember.
First, writing isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. A journey will have its pits, bad weather and dead ends. When you write – like I’d shared previously - you will have your floods of inspiration and creativity. Other days you will have your droughts.
In the world we have 8 billion (and more) people. A large selection of that 8 billion have all claimed the same thing – I love writing. But the difficulties you face is a test to your passion for writing. Do you want to share your story? How badly do you want it? What are you willing to go through to do so? Pressure can either burst pipes or uncover diamonds.
Second, we’ve all been told to find inspiration. We’ve also been taught different ways to find inspiration. But if you’re going to ask other people “what do I write” you’re not going to get the answer you want.
When you look for inspiration, there’s only one thing to remember, and it’s this:
At the end of the day readers, viewers, the public all want to know what you’re made of. They want to know what’s your message. What is it that you have to share with them. If you want to paint a vivid, life-like scene, base it on the picture that you have painted. Don’t base it on what you see on someone else’s canvas.
Izabella will be one of ten Filipinos appearing in the 15th edition of the Emirates LitFest. Find out about her session and others here.