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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my inspiration

Image

Some people get their inspiration, their spark, from nature, some from photography, some from food, or feelings, or stories, or people, or other art. 

I think I get it from all of those things, too. But the biggest source of inspiration for my writing are words. Words like the short poems I read on Tumblr quite often: unpublished, raw, real words. I don’t go to book stores to be inspired, I go to bookstores to drink in published works. But when I want to write myself, I read what is unedited, rough, and dripping with recent emotion. 

Here is an example of what I read and what makes me want to type and scribble until my fingers turn navy blue. 

“i could live with a life of
adjusting your collar,
ironing down shirts
and our future.
i could live with a life of
kissing the top of your head
while you bandage my scraped knee.
i will love you at 2 am
over sandwiches and
silliness,
sitting cross-legged on the
kitchen floor.
i could live a life with you 
of not only dancing in
the rain,
kissing in the rain,
but sharing together the
unspeakable joy
of standing in the midst
of a storm and
each other,
getting drenched, and
laughing out loud
with each other and
God.
and so, we will help
each other hang up the
laundry
which muffles what
our hearts want to say, and
when we don’t feel like
dancing, we will look
at each other and leave
that up to our eyes.
when your heart hurts 
because it’s been a long
day and you can’t help
but wonder why you can
bandage people up but
sometimes they never
heal,
i will sit on the floor with
you and hold your hand
and tell you that you
are the strongest person
i know.
and when there is no joy
in the storm
and the rain never seems
to stop, and it soaks
our shoes and makes 
us utterly miserable,
like coming down with
a cold in june,
please understand that i am
equally miserable without
your company.
this is what i have to offer you.
i hope you can live with the
weight of my words
and the girl along with them. 
i hope you can love me,
not just now,
but when i am old, 
and only my soul
is beautiful.”
 


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thoughts about my career life

Today, I am doing Writing for Magazines homework, which, at this moment, entails finding a magazine that accepts freelance writers that I could submit a piece to.

My last project was a zombies and spirituality article I wrote for relevantmagazine.com (which is still in the drafting process, though I plan to share it with you soon!). For round two, I’m having troubles. The travel bug in me has turned into somewhat of a zombie itself, whispering “italyyyyyyy. ITALYYYYYYYY” in my brain until I just can’t take it anymore: I have to stalk my study abroad school’s photos to see what they’re all up to. 

Then I start getting sentimental, I think of ideas for my personal essay I’m writing for senior project about my experience, I get on Tumblr, turn on the Candlepark Stars… and I’m gone. 

This time, I stopped myself. I googled freelance writing magazines and have been perusing the travel writing guidelines and submission possibilities ever since. Then the idea occurred to me. Haven’t I been born and raised in Minnesota? Can’t I write something fresh and new about my very own homeland? 

Pushing away the doubts and lies of “oh you’re too young. You haven’t really experienced Minnesota or city life at all, how could you write a piece and expect to get accepted when you haven’t even kept up on these magazines,” etc etc and blah blah blah, I decided to see what’s out there.

#boom 

And then I start to get dreamy again. 

http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media/Blogs/Minnesota-Journeys/Meet-the-Bloggers/

I mean, look at these people. They’re living in their amazing hometown city and they get to explore and write about it for a living (well, I assume). And then they get to travel elsewhere too. 

Is it too late (or, rather, too soon) for me to dream? Can’t this just be me one day? 

And yet, I soon think about other factors: my introvertism and how I’m not sure city life would really be the thing for me (we’ll see what happens when I start living next to noisy neighbors in an apartment complex), or how what I really really want to just write for a ministry of some kind and get to work by forming relationships with people and serving them, or how… or how… 

Excuses. 

Who knows what’s going to happen. Maybe one day I will write a mind-blowing article about some awesome thing to do in St. Paul. Or maybe I’ll write a homeschooling article (now there’s where my experience comes in. Ha. That could be interesting) or a piece on “going up north” and all those things we Minnesotans do (don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. You betcha). 

Finding something fresh and new that hasn’t been written before is so, so challenging. But I can’t let that stop me from engaging in what I am experiencing and writing it all down. The fear of rejection can be a harmful anchor, and I refuse to let that prevent me from trying to succeed at something I love. 

This degree will be worth it. Prepare to see my fruit. Image

(photo courtesy of http://srephoto.deviantart.com/art/Minneapolis-Skyline-165237664)