the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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the end of an era

It’s official. I’m going to semi-retire this blog. Not because I no longer desire to share the joys and woes of this 20-something life, but because my passion lies in a much more specific field, and it’s not fair to neglect this blog with the intentions of not doing so.

Whenever I prepare for an interview—whether for a paying job or an internship—I re-realize why I’m doing it and why I’m pursuing book publishing. I have SO much excitement about the literary scene and community here in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota (the “Twin Cities” for those of whom do not live or have ever been here), and books and writers themselves bring me the greatest joy. I’ve had the privilege of meeting awesome people in publishing and the joy of becoming acquaintances with writers and MAGERSliterary figures who either call the Twin Cities their home or are visiting.

So why am I telling you this? I’m not going to dissolve all my interests into only book-related things (secret time: I have lots of hobbies. I play a few video games, I knit, and I LOVE horror movies, to name a few), but I am going to start something that I’ve been meaning to return to for a while, which is creative writing (in a new way), and I really want to share my excitement about the people and experiences that I’m getting here.

AWP-signA year ago, my mentor challenged me to go to one literary event/reading a week after hearing me express how many I was finding out about and how I felt it almost too much. Suddenly, I found myself last minute at the Saturday sessions of AWP—by myself—and loving being there. And then there were more readings, and events, and then a job where that is what I do, and an internship and gwsuddenly I know people. Not only is my husband graduated and excited about art, but I have this very young community around me that I want to reach out to in new ways.

Thus, my new blog will be about that. About the amazing literary events happening right rain taxi 2013.jpghere in my hometown (and oh, yes, across the river in St. Paul too ;)). About authors, debuts, poetry slams, book festivals, collaborative readers, books in art—you name it! And hopefully also a place for discussion to start.

So farewell, the Process of Becoming. I do believe I achieved what I set out to do—become a 20-something who, despite the mishaps of post-college adulting, is proud to have discovered who she is, who she’s become.

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Sarah

P.S. I will tell you when the new blog is live!

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hello again, friend

It’s been a while.

Things have changed, rather drastically, and dare I say that I feel like a different person? I think so. It’s December, and 2015 is coming to a swift end, which, obviously, calls for reflection!

Couple things!

I’m looking into re-launching this blog/website, but I’m ready for it to be a little more focused, and little less personal, and a little less commercial (in those few and far between posts that seemed so much like random articles we read online). But I’m not sure what that means! I do know that it means I want to add a page for my freelance writing services and possibly merge my portfolio onto here, while also keeping the other site as well.

I also know that I want the book reviews to come back and the reflections on literary events series to be in full swing. I mean, I get to experience SO many every month now!

Which brings me to my career update (and the bringer of joyous news!): 

  • I took a hiatus from blogging when I was hired by an independent bookstore (and the best, IMHO) as the Events Assistant. I have been privileged to work alongside authors such as Nick Offerman and Marlon James, to name a few. I also assist with social media and general retail in the store. (YES, I get to touch books all day, new and old!)
  • I started freelancing more and am currently a company newsletter producer and designer (and writer and journalist all in one!).
  • I became a barista at an independent coffee shop and trained in Dogwood Coffee classes.
  • But the best part is that I was hired as a Marketing & Publicity Intern at the prestigious Graywolf Press in Minneapolis!

I could have written a big giant post about all my excitement, but I realized that with these 4 unexpected new opportunities, I would need to concentrate on giving my 100% to all of the above. And being at Graywolf really showed me that all my 8 months of planning, researching, networking, and prepping to break my way into the publishing industry had paid off and helped me step into the glorious book publishing world.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Now as the internship draws to a close, I turn to the new year with more hope than I have ever had for my future career — no matter the timing, I know I can succeed (without moving to New York!).

So I will be brainstorming and deciding what this blog is really going to be. It was a journey to get to where I’m at now, but it’s also an opportunity to grow and share even more of what this creative world holds.

Cheers to change, hope, and reinventing creativity.

 

 

 

 


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the recent adventures of this 20-something

I know, I know. I’ve been MIA from this blog for the past month or so. I think about it a lot, but I’ve been going through the expected mid-blog crisis (which falls about a few months in) of the usual insecurities. Are my posts interesting? Do I write/market/pick topics for the right audience? Will anyone read these? Is this the most important thing I could be doing? Hasn’t someone said this before? 

All good questions, but not all helpful for motivational purposes. Either way, no I have not abandoned you. I’ve come to realize that a blog is a life too, and it needs time to develop, grow, and become the blog it needs to be. As well as the blog’s author/writer. No pun intended.

As an update, the recent adventures of this 20-something include:

1. Unexpectedly going to the last day of AWP ’15 (Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference) in my homie Minneapolis in the beginning of April and experiencing all sorts of grand bookish knowledge, overwhelming book fair booths, important people meandering around me, and furiously scribbling all words of advice and inspiration in my notebook. Unfortunately it did not involve lots of laughing with sophisticated writer friends or copious amounts of free drinks, but it did include pleasant meet-ups, awesome poetry, and much grown-up-edness. It was truly an epic meant for a blog post by itself. (It might be outdated, but I’m still going to write one. It was just so rad)

2. Publishing internship applications, application-denying emails, and general anxiety over my aging body and the fleeting number of open entry-level positions in the Twin Cities area (in the beginning? like, 12. right now? zero). I know I know, I need to relax, it was only my first round of trying.

3. Discovering that, in the meantime and possibly forever in addition to some kind of career in publishing, my dream job is STILL to work in a bookstore shelving, recommending, and selling books. I cannot tell you ENOUGH how much my nose wants to smell that new and old paper smells all day and err’y day. I don’t care a lick how it pays, I will probably be in the depths of despair forever if I don’t work in one at some point in my life. The journey begins.

GilbertBlythe-copy4. Being in the depths of despair over the passing of beloved Johnathan Crombie, AKA Gilbert Blythe, my actor-represented first literary crush. I actually watched Part 2 of the Sequel the night before I found out the news, and it was SO. SAD. I mean, AGH.

5. My new goal of going to two literary events in the Twin Cities every month. My mentor challenged me to one a week, but with all my interactions at work most days, ain’t no introvert got time for that! I plan on posting a photo and short post for each one I go to. (and no, AWP doesn’t count! Although I went to that after the challenge begun at the end of March)

6. Being so so so so excited for my husband to graduate on Saturday! We have big plans for teamed-up creativity for when he finally has the time, and I’m starting to look forward to that more than I ever expected. Stay tuned!


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book reviews have moved!

Since I was bogging down this 20-somethings blog with book reviews, I decided to become an official book blogger and make a book-reviewing blog. Especially since I am trying to debut in the publishing world and get as organized as possible, I thought this would be better for everyone.

Check it out at The Bookcase Wall.

I will still be posting book-ish posts like what I’m reading or maybe short summaries of recommended books. But this way you don’t need to read reviews of books that aren’t so great (: And now I can focus more on getting the articles and humor posts that you guys want out there.

my reading challengeOh, and this picture pretty much sums of why I need to have a book-reviewing blog. My goal for 2015 was just 35 books and I’m already halfway! I had no idea I was going to be so crazy about reading this year. Maybe its because of this Minnesota cold 😉

Thanks for bearing with me!


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“the process of becoming”

be who you are

(image via Pinterest)

You may be wondering what my blog’s name means. When I first starting thinking about starting up this blog again, I had to decide why I wanted to do it, who it was going to be for, and what the purpose of it will be.

I already knew I that I enjoy reading articles on websites like RelevantThought Catalog, and Gen Twenty, a few online communities that write for my generation. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into why these articles circulate so much. We find them funny, encouraging, and identifiable because we relate to them so well.

It was then that I knew I had to write to twenty-somethings like me. Graduating high school and embarking into the big unknown is a scary thing, whether one goes to college, finds a job right away, or spends forever trying to decide what they want to do. We’re faced with singleness, relationships, friendships, opportunities, rejections, networking, and plain figuring out what it means to be a “grown up.”

Frankly, that’s a LOT to relate to, a lot to experience, and a lot to write about. When I was super ambitious my first year of college and told my professors I wanted to graduate in two years, one told me I needed to get outside campus and experience more life before I would really know what I wanted to do. Before I knew what I wanted to write about. I needed to travel, to experience loss, to realize what the world has and doesn’t have to offer. (He was right! I want to write memoir and autobiographical creative writing, which can’t really happen at 22, haha).

I may be in my early twenties, but I feel like I’ve experienced so much already while still realizing I have a long way to go. I am still becoming an adult. No, actually I am just growing older. And hopefully wiser. “Becoming” is also is an adjective meaning “attractive appearance,” or “suitable” (Dictionary.com). “Become,” for me, means “to grow.”

I hope that this process of growing and becoming more of who I am can be beautiful and also humorous in its own way, and that it is also encouraging to everyone else going through this journey.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e.cummings


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YA-fic lovers, look forward to September

My friend and former Admissions Counselor at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Jackie Lea Sommers, has her debuting YA novel, Truest, coming out next September!

And it is finally available for pre-order.

Let me tell you, I am beyond excited.

Not only is Jackie probably 25% of the reason I ended up at UNW (through emails where we connected via love of Anne of Green Gables and, of course, writing), but I have had the privilege of following her amazing blog since… well, a long time. In fact, here is a shameless plug for reading her blog on writing, OCD, and all-around encouragement for creatives! (: I also was able to listen to her read excerpts of Truest at UNW last year, and it was drool-worthy amazing. 

Now, I realize I haven’t had this blog for very long, so you wouldn’t know how much of a sucker I am for contemporary Young Adult fiction. But take one look at my Goodreads lists and you’ll know 😉 I find the genre fascinating and inspiring. Maybe I relate so much because I am not so removed from adolescence myself, or because fiction for adults can contain so much sexual content that I used to shy away from. Or maybe it’s because I never went to high school (homeschooled! But more on that another day). I love YA books’ pace and how fast they move. Nothing beats a rainy day inside devouring 70% of a novel, for me.

Anyway, Jackie is an awesome human being, and I know her novel is going to be one of my top books of 2015! I will be eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail. Here’s her blog post on pre-ordering Truest! (And a synopsis!) 


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remembering, and coming back to… where?

Whoa. Hey. I’m back.

But the question I ask myself is… where, exactly? This blog name is temporary, this post will only be seen by few before even I forget about it, my apartment lease is only for 12 months, I won’t even be a STUDENT anymore come mid-December… oh my gosh, nothing is permanent.

Nothing is permanent.

I will graduate, have to find a new job and a new apartment, write stuff (?), maybe change my marital status, do ministry, expand my family, live in other countries, make a difference….? Such lofty dreams for a 21 year old who feels as fragile as papyrus.

Nothing is permanent except Christ and His glory. That I can take faith in. He promises He won’t change, and He is just – yesterday, tomorrow, today.

Yet I rarely take real and true (as in … tangible, that prevents me from stressing) comfort in the promises of the Bible these days. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I am undergoing so much change, and my limbs are flailing out towards a grip in the midst of foaming rapids, or because I just feel… dry these days, but I’ve been facing a lot of lies. And I really need something to hold on to. My faith is still there, even if I still forget, still worry if my next paycheck will cut it, still worry about the rubble of student loans awaiting me in a few months, still doubt myself to the point of tears on random nights where I should instead be rejoicing.

Life is hard. It’s more than we can handle.

I watched footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers today, in remembrance of September 11th, 2001.

My nine-year-old self slept in that day, until right around 9 am. Shortly after finding breakfast, I walked to the downstairs of our small Minnesota-suburb home to start on my schoolwork for that day (this was shortly after my parents started homeschooling me).  I picked up a grammar book (Dad taught grammar and English in the morning before switching with my mom and going to work) just as my dad ran down the stairs and flipped on the TV in front of the couch. And for two hours we did nothing but stare at the screen.

I don’t really remember what emotions were going through my head. I wish I could find my journal entry (I was an avid writer even back then), but I can only see the screen. Falling debris. Ebony smoke rippling into the sky. Ash everywhere. People running. I didn’t understand…

Years later, I can’t remember exactly, the Christian radio station my mom listened to constantly in the car played an audio drama of one man’s phone call to his wife and children from one of the top floors of one of the towers. Mom cried. I cried. I think it wasn’t until then that I felt like I was in the shoes of those who were impacted. I had felt affected before, but that moment stands out in my mind more. I pray for those who lost family members and friends, and I still feel like I’m nine and I’m watching it for the first time. I shocks me every time.

I just finished the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which made me want to start writing fiction again.

Slowly but surely I am realizing who I am and why and how experiences shape me into this person. But I am also learning about who I want to be. I don’t want to be someone who casually shrugs off what’s happening in this world, but I also can’t be the other extreme of crying over the little things (not spilled milk, but like… similar things. I am such a girl).

Anywho, my heart is heavy today as I write this, for more than the reasons listed, but I have this strange hope I haven’t felt in a long time… like God is answering my prayer to get me out of this desert and make me into a sturdy book instead of a fragile thin sheet. I will wait on Him for as long as it takes… which means my whole life.

This is worth it.

More later. My thoughts are a little scattered right now. But hey… I’m back. To here, at least.