Lize Spit debuted in 2016 with her book The Melting, which became a big success. “There was a moment in my life, that language became a kind of friend to me.” In this video, Lize talks about the struggle, the pressure for a next book, financial issues and the balance between her work and private life.
Writing was a dream
“Writing was always my dream: not being an author, but writing. There was a moment in my life, that language became a kind of friend to me. As a child, I had a defence mechanism when I'd a bad day, I would go bed at night, thinking: 'It wasn't a good day, but at least there's a story in it'. I used to read a lot and I think that it did shape me in some way. It was clear that I wanted to write, but I was too shy to start the training, because it meant having to be on stage and I was really scared of being on stage. Then I went to Brussels to the film school to start a writing course. That script-writing course shaped me and also my style. It took me many years to really create something with my writing. It hasn't been easy. I've had to struggle for years and I didn't make any money then."
“You've got to be professional and think about the choices you make. It took me longer to find a publisher for my book than it actually took me to write the book. I wanted to negotiate a contract, to see which publisher could give me an advance that would allow me to write.
I'm actually proud to meet with my accountant to see how my year has been. I really feel like an entrepreneur when I'm in a taxi somewhere abroad, being driven to my hotel from the airport or the train station. Then I think: 'Wow, how did I end up here?'. It did take me some time to figure out for things like 'How much should I charge for a lecture?'. And then all of a sudden, there was this financial aspect, while I'm just passionate about this. For years I was very conscious of the fact that I was working a job that wasn't straightforward. At the health service or any other public service, they don't even have a box to to tick with my profession."
Separate work from private life
“It's really difficult for me to separate my professional from private life, because it's so entwined. The problem is that I never know where to draw the line. On a bad day, when I haven't got more than 1,000 words at 5 p.m., I think I should continue working at home. But on a good day, when I have written 3,000 words at 5 p.m., I think I should continue, or I might lose track of things. I have this voice in my head, this boss, telling me: 'Come, you need to work.'"
Pressure for a new book
“I'm working on a new book now. The pressure I feel, as an author, is comparable to having an animal you need to take care of. If I haven't cared for it for a day, I'm afraid it will have died when I return to the office. That's how it feels.
Recently, I invested the revenue from my last book in a flat. That's a kind of insurance for me. Whatever happens, at least I'll have this. It gives me peace of mind. Besides that, it's as if I have to fill shoes that are too big for me, as if someone put out a pair of large shoes, and I'm not sure whether I'm capable of filing them.”
This video has been realised in collaboration with video production company Sputnik.