I’m celebrating the rise of writers through a series of fabulous interviews. No longer will we write in isolation when we have the power of the internet to bring awareness to who we are, what we do and why we do it. Let’s get acquainted…
What do you do:
Creative Writing Coach and Advocate
Why do you do it?
Everyone should feel empowered to write the stories that matter to them. Writing as an industry is still pervaded by the notion that there is an objective “right” and “wrong” way to do it, or that some forms are more “valid’ than other forms. For too many aspiring writers, the world of writing is shrouded in mystery. It’s difficult to understand and even more difficult to break into. Negativity seeps in from every angle, discouraging new writers from putting their work out there, and sometimes from even starting in the first place. For many writers, writing is a part of their whole being, and it shouldn’t be something held high on an “ivory tower” where only the select few can attain it. I coach writing and advocate for writers of all levels because I believe that storytelling is the one thing that can pull people together rather than tear them apart.
What has been your biggest breakthrough?
Love is all that matters. That might sound cringe-worthy to some, but I think that’s just the residual resistance many of us have been taught from a very young age. Everything that divides us is a construct; it’s not in our nature to want to put others down in order to rise up. We learned that. So for me, unlearning the concept of “being better” for doing x, y, and z, and instead simply embracing the differences in other people has been the most freeing experience. It has allowed me to openly support all writers on my platforms, and that just feels really good.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I still struggle with the comparison game from time to time. Doubt creeps in when I least expect it. There are times when I’m coaching someone through their own impostor syndrome while I myself am battling it silently. Although I’ve had several breakthroughs and re-writing of limiting beliefs, keeping my head above doubt is still a challenge, especially when I’m faced with individuals who still cling to old ideals and “othering” as a way to lift themselves higher on the totem pole. Writing is very personal, and for some people, it’s the main identifier they use when describing themselves. That comes with a lot of strong emotion. Breaking down barriers to ease anxieties and enable learning isn’t always easy. Not everyone is so willing to let go of the “this is the right/wrong way” dichotomy.
What is your favourite book and why?
This answer changes all the time, and I suppose it should! Currently my favorite book is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert is such an eloquent, yet candid writer. Her memoir dives into so many emotions, so many internal conflicts, so much joy, and so much discovery. It’s a book I find myself thinking about all the time, not just for the inspiring story, but for the captivating writing.
Oh my, just three? Let’s see:
1. Write what you want to write, not what other people tell you to write. There will always be someone saying you should write this, or try writing that, and it could be for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes this is well-meaning, but if it steers you in a direction that is no longer enjoyable for you, you’re allowed to disregard what others say and pursue your writing your own way.
2. Practice self-love daily. Okay, so this might not be specific to writers only, but I think writers in particular have a difficult time being kind to themselves, especially when they don’t reach specified goals. Don’t punish yourself for not reaching a word count, not finishing a scene, or for making mistakes. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend in a similar circumstance. Be your own best advocate.
3. Just write. Don’t wait for perfect circumstances or opportunities. The best time to write is right now. Inspiration can be elusive. Don’t let it hold the key to your writing. Seek out your own muses. Put words on the page, even if it’s not what you originally planned on writing. Just write.
Where can readers connect with you?
Images by Natalie Brenner Photography.