We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda Ruggeri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success to me is being able to do the work I love on an everyday basis and earn an income from it. It took me a long time to realize (and believe) that I could do the work I love (editing, writing, reading) and get paid for it. Even though I believed in myself and my skills, I came from the traditional Latinx upbringing that work is work, and your probably not going to love it, but it pays the bills. Walking away from that paradigm, and understanding that it was ok to do what I was passionate about was a huge leap of faith. It was clear to me that I could be successful, but that a bachelor’s degree alone wasn’t going to cut it. I knew I was going to have to further my own education, find my niche (nonfiction editing), network, and put myself out there in order to succeed. It’s been a great life learning experience.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m a nonfiction editor, but I specialize in memoir and writer coaching. My strength is helping writers dig deep to truly get to the story they’re trying to tell. I feel that what sets me apart from other nonfiction editors is that I’m very patient and empathetic and have the ability to listen to a writer, hear what they’re trying to say, and guide them on how to put those stories on the page in a way that is clear, concise and that reaches their target readers. I have a degree in communications and fine arts and worked part-time and full-time all through college because it was important to me to have a foot in the working world and be financially independent. That’s where my real education came from. It was never easy, in fact, it was quite exhausting, but it was fun and I learned so much along the way about people, about pain, about professionalism and also, about the importance of managing my finances early on. When I decided to become a freelance editor, I took courses (I still do), got a certification, joined editorial associations, and above all, volunteered my time to these organizations so I could be among people who were better than me. I wanted to learn from them. Although I’m an extrovert, I thrive on introspection. My story is that I’ve always looked at my life, and who and where I wanted to be, and made the necessary changes to get there. I’m not a slacker, I’m an “act-now” type of person. I’ve asked the hard questions, I’ve acknowledged my weaknesses, I’ve done therapy when I needed to, and made work and educational choices that would get me to where I wanted to be. And even though today I’m there, and I am “present” in the life that I’ve built for myself, I know there is always room to grow.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a fan of uncrowded places, nature, and birdwatching whenever possible. My list of places to visit would be: The LA County Arboretum, Huntington Gardens, South Coast Botanical Garden, the Korean Friendship Bell, and Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Palos Verdes (you can bring a picnic to most of them). For meals, and if I’m in the area, I like to stop for lunch at Angel City Brewery (DTLA) or Locale 90 in Redondo Beach. For dinner I love going to Inn at the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon and Primo in Torrance. Visiting the local breweries in Torrance and tasting their latest creations, with friends, is always a relaxing and fun treat.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My dad deserves the biggest shout out. He began taking me to the library when I was 6, and encouraged me to always be reading something. He introduced me to Rimbaud, Verlaine, E.A. Poe, Jules Verne, Shackleton-all in Spanish. He would always tell me I could achieve anything I set my mind to, as long as I had an education. I think because he never had the chance to get an education (other than through reading books) he wanted to make sure my sister and I did have one. To this day, we continue to share and discuss books and he’s one of my biggest supporters.