Member Interview: Cristen S. Iris

Cristen Iris

Cristen Iris

Name: Cristen S. Iris

Book Title: My working title is Momentum

Coming: Fall of 2016 to www.cristeniris.com 

What is your book about?

Momentum is about what people might expect: how to take advantage of career momentum. It’s also about how to recognize when pushes are coming and positioning yourself so that you receive maximum benefit from the energy headed your way—whether that energy is negative or positive. 

What inspired you to write your book?

Part of my inspiration for writing Momentum is practical. I believe editors owe it to their clients to experience every aspect of the publishing experience. I am a published writer and am now authoring a book. I believe the experience will help me serve my clients better.

The other thing that inspires me is other people, and I want to inspire them. We’ve all been told we can’t do something. We’ve all seen how the actions and prejudices of others can thwart our ambitions. I want to demonstrate how we can use those negative experiences to do big things for ourselves and others.

Can you describe your writing process?

As a professional editor, I’ve learned to step back and let manuscripts “breathe.” I’m always surprised by the ideas and solutions that come to me when I don’t push too hard for them. Ideas and solutions usually come when I’m outside moving my body. I always carry a pen and notebook or my phone. I scribble notes or record my thoughts in a voice or video recording. The quality of my writing and editing is directly related to the quality of my time out-of-doors. The movement of my body and mind and the synergy they produce have a strong influence on the content of my book. 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today?

I grew up in a home with no television but hundreds of books. We played outside and we read. And I started writing my first novel when I was eight. It was derivative at best, plagiarized at worst. I had the good sense to recognize those things early on and abandoned that project. An editor was born.

Can you describe a typical day in your life?

On weekdays, I get up at 4:30 in the morning, write, edit, and answer emails.

At 6:30 I start getting ready for my day job.

I leave my house at 8:00 a.m. Except on days when it rains or snows, I ride my bike to get my blood and mind pumping.

I work from 8:30-5:00. During my lunch hour I write, make calls or meet with clients, and check in with my social media accounts.

I ride home after work, eat and watch Jeopardy with my husband (getting far too many literature category questions wrong), and then I work some more from 6:30-8:30.

I’m usually in bed by 9:30.

It’s absolutely worth it. I love what I do. 

What do you most enjoy about what you do?

Freedom. As a writer and a business owner, I am limited only by my imagination and resourcefulness. To be free, to be creative, and to be interactive with creative people is my favorite thing about what I do. 

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?

People always inspire me. After all, people write books; books do not exist nor can they inspire without the depth of the people who write them.

Many people and many of their books have inspired me, but there are three quotes from two of my former professors that I’ve applied to every aspect of my writing, editing, and business:

“What’s your point?”

“Who cares?”

“Think out about it.”

The first two were said by an English professor, Cheryl Hendrichs. I appreciate how pointed her questions are. They’ve served me well as both a writer and an editor. She has remained a mentor and become my friend.

And Dr. Plew, my academic advisor and professor in the Anthropology department at my alma mater, always challenged me to think critically. It wasn’t just about answering the question posed, it was about thinking about the questions after the initial question and to formulate ways of finding the answers to those. I apply that critical thinking to my writing, editing, and most of all to my business strategy.

I also have an excellent role model and mentor in Maryanna Young. Her intelligence; experience in life, general business, and publishing; warmth; and her ability to pull out the best in people inspires me to be my best and to help others be their best. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?

Most people don’t know that I used to bracket race my Corvette and autocross several times a year. I’ve driven over 100 mph in the quarter mile, and few things make me smile like swerving through a slalom course. 

What’s next for you?

Publishing a book later this year is a big next step in my journey. I’m adding services such as book marketing, too. 2016 is going to be a year of tremendous Momentum.



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