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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being a drifting creative

CREATIVE MIND

(Image courtesy of Yasmeanie on Deviantart Picture)

Calling all creatives, this post is for YOU.

I’ve only recently begun to call myself that term as a noun instead of an adjective. Me. Sarah. A “creative.” I like it, because when I quit drawing and painting back in high school, it started the small crisis of what do I call myself now? I knew I was a writer, but I didn’t feel like I could own the term “artist” anymore.

Now, I know that I’m all three. I’m an artist, a writer, and an all-around creative. It fits, because it covers all my bases, leaves room for growth (what if I want to start repurposing furniture? Start an Etsy shop of my knitting and cross-stitching? Start making literal book art out of book pages? Paint again!?)… and it also sounds rather mysterious.

“Hi Sarah, how would you describe yourself?”

“I’m a quirky, twenty-something creative with a passion for all things literary.”

It’s helped.

The only problem? I’m going through the crisis again.

But really, it’s one I’ve gone through many a time, as I’m sure every other artist/creative/writer/designer, etc has in his/her life. Especially before we hit 30. Where one moment you’re dead sure you’re going to be that next famous watercolor painter (me), but then you get a bad grade in Drawing 1 and you high tail it out of there in favor of acting. (Pretty close to me). You move onto something else. You identify yourself with a new project, a new passion.

I’ve had so many ideas that turn into interests, interests that turn into passions, and passions that turn in artwork and actions that actually end up falling through and leaving me discouraged. Right now I’m finding myself faced with this blog. Do I love blogging? Yes. Do I have what it takes to maintain it? I’m finding out rather quickly. But I don’t want to give it up, 1) because this is what I decided to do for a time, a solid amount of time, and because I’m way too tired of changing my mind, or giving up on something simply because I wasn’t passionate enough or good enough as the next person. How many people can say that about opportunities, jobs, even careers?

I’m trying to tell myself it’s not that I’m broken, and it’s not that I can never make up my mind. I’m sure of many things, like my love of books, my talent in writing and editing, and my passion for creativity and art and loving people. But I’m 23 and I still haven’t found my niche, the way those passions take action and root and turn into something permanent, concrete, or long-term.

I’m tired of drifting. But maybe this is just part of the process.

Do any of you 20-somethings feel this way? Creatives? What helped you narrow down your interests or passions and start focusing on that one thing that makes you you?


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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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you don’t need to achieve everything before 25

With my recent birthday – 23 – the age where I could no longer deny my post-college age and lifestyle, I have been thinking a lot about the way I function through my age. We 20-somethings deal with so much social pressure to be the best we can be right now without realizing the age we actually are.

Now, I agree with being your best (you should always be your best), but maybe we should define what “best” means for you. Maybe that means being the best at the age and place you are – excelling at your current job, building your experience, and meeting people.

For me, it means doing a little something towards my future every day, even if that just means going to work to earn my paycheck. Recently I’ve been getting down over not blogging every day, not working on my poetry/creative work, not “doing” anything to make myself the 20-something I want to be soon, career-wise.

What is this sense of urgency that drives me to feel this way? I don’t need to achieve everything before I’m 25 (or 27, or 30)!

I find myself becoming self-conscious when I see someone’s resume with tons of internship experience, or a literary agent’s assistant with all of his or her credentials, or a published article written by someone who has so many more. I think I want to be like them! Why am I not there yet!? 

But when I think about my actual life, I remember that I’m only newly-23. They probably are not, and if they are, good for them!

I’m only one year out of college – a year spent getting to know the special needs and health care community, a year spent getting to understand their behaviors, thoughts, and actions, a year spent figuring out what direction I want to go besides to be an advocate for them, and a year spent forming my marriage to my husband (don’t laugh at me, but since I’ve always treated marriage as the beginning and not the “end life goal,” I act like it’s no big deal that I got married. It is. And I shouldn’t take it – or the fact that it took a lot of work/time/energy to get here – for granted).

We are told the lie that we have to be achieving things now to be getting to where we want. But the fact is that these things take time. 

Have you made a LinkedIn profile? Edited your resume on InDesign? Written cover letter after cover letter, editing and making sure that everything looks perfect? Given yourself a well-earned episode of Friends after submitting your application, resume, and cover letter because you just spent all your energy on that one job application?

Well, I have. And even if you get that dreaded rejection email/phone call, know that your time was still well spent.

You don’t need to write a novel, publish a million articles or poems or creative work, or land a starter position at your dream company before you turn 25 (or 30). If you’re a 20-something like me, relax and keep at it. If I do achieve things in the next 2 years, I hope it’s something I can be proud of rather than something rushed or that caused anxiety, too much stress, or made me forget my other priorities in life.

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(Credit: Buzzfeed. Quote: New Girl)

What other priorities? Exploring my fabulous city, spending time with my husband and close friends, reading great books, trying the best food at recommended restaurants, and keeping up with pop culture, world news, and the best new music.

I’m learning how to be content with 23, with slowly working my way up in the world while also enjoying my life. Are you?

Can you relate to wanting to “do all the things” before you reach a certain age? What are your priorities that you don’t want to let achieving your career overshadow? 


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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!)