#mActivityPeople interview series focuses on the mindful lives and health
routines of mActivity’s inspiring community. Submit your own on Instagram—post
your mindful mActivity (tag us
@mactivitynh!) and include the hashtag
#mActivityPeople for a chance to be featured on our blog.
would rather have a latte and croissant than workout. Even as she
ascends in her career as the author of two New York Times bestsellers and her
, is said by
to be one of the top 27 books
to read in 2018, sitting down to write is often met with reluctance.
Amy faces conflict like so many of us who set
goals and then feel otherwise about doing them. During our conversation, she
revealed how she has learned to show up for her work and her health, even when
uninspired. “The older I get, the more strongly I feel that you cannot just
sort of go about everyday life distracting yourself and hoping inspiration will
strike. That is not inspiration’s job. Your job is to make yourself as
available as possible to inspiration,” she said.
Maybe you will meet this wise
mActivity member at her favorite class, Natalie’s Standing Flow.
Maybe her commitment to showing up to write will help you show up
yourself, your loved ones, at the gym, for your art, profession, whatever it is
that helps you live well.
When did writing become your full-time job?
I began writing in my mid-thirties. When I was starting out I kept my
day job, which I strongly encourage people to do, until I started getting
published. My first collection of short stories was published in my forties. Today
I'm a fiction writer. My latest book is historical fiction and titled
. It’s about Eleanor
Roosevelt’s love affair with journalist
Lorena Hickok. I have written a children's book and collection of
essays, but primarily fiction. I go back and forth between short stories and
Who inspired you to write?
I read widely as a child, so I don't know that I felt particularly
inspired by any one writer. I always had this sense, though, that to be in a
library was to enter the universe; I loved that by reading I could live inside the
lives of other characters. I don’t think it is uncommon if you love to read and
you love language to at least contemplate the possibility of writing.
Do you have any habits or routines that help you stay inspired?
Staying inspired is a tricky business; writing was never just a
creative dream. You gotta show up every day and you’ve got to hustle. Some days
the muse shows up. Some days the muse is elsewhere. My job is to be at my desk,
whether or not she shows up or not. My dad was a journalist, so I knew writing
as an everyday business that involved showing up and typing away from 9 to 5 p.m.
during the week.
I learned that when you're not inspired, you
better bang out 500 words anyway. If it’s really not coming, maybe I will edit
something else that I'm working on. Maybe I will take notes for another
project. Whatever it is that I end up doing, I have to be in the field, doing
the work, whether I feel happy doing it that day or not.
I love seeing how people’s lives grow from discipline, inspiration and faith.
Well, as Mother Theresa said on a different subject, “faith without
work has no point.” I try to have faith in myself. You have good days and bad
days, but I do believe that showing up every day intentionally is better than
showing up randomly.
What keeps you “showing up” for exercise?
There is a point in life, probably sometime in your forties if you're
paying attention, or in your fifties if you weren't paying attention, that you
have an obligation to what you care about. You cannot just rely on good luck
and good genes to help you hold onto it. This is what motivated me to always do
I'll usually drag myself to the gym, however
reluctantly, two to three times per week to do Pilates and a little circuit on
the machines. It doesn't have to be a big deal or flashy, you don't need to
impress anybody with it, but yes, you have to show up just as you as you do for
your work. Most days I would rather have a latte and a croissant, but I also
really like being able to walk and move comfortably in the world, and it's very
gratifying to be able to balance on my knees on a ball, like a trained seal in
Why did you choose mActivity?
I like the atmosphere. I like the fact that it's chill and people are
pleasant, and by that I don’t see large guys flinging their weights to the
ground, acting as if they are gladiators in the incredibly high stakes universe
of lifting weights. I appreciate not having to encounter that. I love Natalie's
standing flow class. I think she's extraordinary. I like that there are old
people there. The trainers all seem to have a really great attitude and sort of
radiate a certain amount of positive energy. Plus, I'm happy with any place
that I can get a decent cup of coffee.
Amy will be giving a reading from her latest
deftly explores what might have been in this novel about the real romance
between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok. . . . It’s a sensuous,
captivating account of a forbidden affair between two women, one of them viewed
by all the world as a saint.”—People