Erica Ferencik is the author of the best selling thrillers The River at Night and Into the Jungle. She is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Salon and The Boston Globe, as well as on NPR.
Erica talks about her 30 year journey to overnight success. The artist’s journey is a marathon, not a sprint. She says: “But the other thing that’s super important is how much do you love it. Does it make you happy, whatever it is you are doing, do you love it enough to continue doing it no matter what.”
Rather than focusing on success and failure, Erica explains the importance of setting goals and taking the small steps necessary to achieve those goals.
Erica says: “I’ve always been a renaissance person, pretty unemployable.” She describes her journey from painter, dancer, stand-up comedian, even doing construction to finding her bliss as a novelist for the past 30 years.
Why don’t people follow their passion, their bliss? One of the biggest reasons is fear.
For Erica, “I believe writing a book is an act of generosity, it’s an act of love.” Even though her writing wasn’t perfect in the beginning, she persisted and kept going.
Erica talks about the challenges of staying true to one’s creative vision while achieving success in the marketplace: “You are trying to find the intersection between the Muse, what you love to do and how you love to it creatively and the Marketplace. You are trying to understand where those two circles intersect.”
She explains that “For 30 years, I wrote books that did not meet at that intersection between my muse and the marketplace, they were somehow askew, they didn’t quite fit.” And this led her to her 1st best seller The River at Night.
One of Erica’s healing practices is taking a walk in the woods every day. Nature has been her anchor for the past 20 years.
Erica shares some of the lessons she’s learned over the past 30 years of writing: “Just looking at some writing I did 25 years ago, I remember being angry at myself because it didn’t sell.” She says you are a different artist at each stage of the journey and you have love and forgive yourself at each stage. “I think I would have been a much healthier person if I accepted myself a little bit more for who I was then.”
And she offers these inspiring words to anyone trying to find their artist’s voice: “All art comes from your life. Feel free to live your life. Don’t lock yourself in a room for 20 hours a day, unless you want to. Take that vacation, go to that crazy party, get the experiences you need… that’s where art comes from.”
Lastly, she talks about her journey into the rainforest in South America when she was researching her book Into the Jungle: “there’s a lot to be said for taking the journey, we don’t know how long we are going to be here.” She ends with these powerful words: Don’t put off joy!
You can learn more about Erica and her books right here: https://ericaferencik.com/