Until very recently, Natalie was too chickenshit to call herself a writer...mostly because she was too chickenshit to actually write anything. This year, however, marked a milestone birthday for her, and in lieu of freaking the f out, she found herself scouring the worldwide web for writing contests she might enter. As all well-adjusted women do on the eve of their thirtieth birthdays. This contest was the first one that caught her eye, and this essay was the first one she wrote. After that, her essay Younger Selves placed top three in Kaleidoscope WoJo’s writing competition. She is currently taking classes via WOW! with Chelsey Clammer (whom she can’t recommend enough). Natalie received her BFA in Theatre from Cal State Fullerton and resides in Los Angeles. She’s tremendously grateful to the editors, judges and all the women at WOW! for acknowledging her work and her decision to finally make her voice heard.
If you haven't done so already, check out Natalie's moving story Morning After Text... and then return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: Congratulations Natalie! Thank you for writing this essay - what is the take-away you'd like readers to gain from Morning After Text ?
Natalie: I think I would like for readers to take away or gain whatever it is that they happen to take away or gain (or not!). In other words, I'll humbly let my essay speak for itself and speak to those readers that it's going to speak to--which won't be everyone, I'm sure! I will say that I turned 30 this year, and I wrote the piece mostly for myself and the girl I was in my teens and throughout my twenties (and still sometimes am). If it happens to speak to anyone else out there who's every felt ignored, abandoned or rejected, then I'm really so honored.
WOW: Fair enough - I always tell people there's something awesome with age - you start caring less and less about what others think. As someone who is over 40, let me tell you, it gets even better! I love your message!
Where do you write? What does your space look like?
Natalie: Right now my writing space is my bed--and a twin bed at that! I'd love to have a full-fledged magical writing space--or even just a desk!--someday very soon. I love the idea of creating a sacred space, but I also believe that anywhere we create is a sacred space. The place becomes sacred by the very act of you creating in that space. Having now written more than a couple essays on my bed, I think we can probably write anywhere. I think that for a very long time, I used the fact that I didn't have "a place to write" as an excuse to...well, not write. But now that I've started taking classes and writing consistently, I know I can write with the space I have. I can make it work. And now that I've actually started writing, I'm motivated to make that desk/sacred writing space a reality. But it's nice to know that I don't need it to succeed.
WOW: That's funny you bring that up - and one of the reasons I actually ask that question is because of my dream to someday have a beautiful sacred writing space...hasn't happened for me yet either!
What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for the remainder of 2019 and beyond?
Natalie: My goal is to keep writing. I used to write when I was much younger but rarely--if ever--shared what I wrote with more than a family member or two. I never would've dreamed of sharing publicly--on the internet or otherwise. Now that I've started doing it, I don't want to stop! I want to keep writing, and I want to keep sharing. I'm currently taking classes via WOW! (with Chelsey Clammer who's an awesome writer and teacher!), and I plan to continue. I plan to enter more contests with WOW! and am going to start submitting my essays to journals. Eventually I'd love to complete a book of essays, a novel and a play :)
WOW: I'm sure we will be hearing more from you and I'm so happy to hear you agree that Chelsey is awesome!
Do you have advice for your younger self when it comes to making decisions, believing in yourself, and/or writing? What would your current self say to the younger you?
Natalie: As it pertains to writing, the advice I would give to my younger self would be to "just do it." That goes for so many things in life, I guess. But particularly with writing--I wish I would've started writing and sharing much more consistently much earlier in life. I believe in divine timing, so I'm at peace with the fact that I've only just now started to even dabble in publicly sharing my writing (in fact Morning After Text was the first piece of writing I'd ever shared online!), but...to any other young writers out there--or writers of any age really!--I would definitely say "just do it." Just write something and share it. And then keep doing that. I still have a lot to learn about writing, and I still have a long way to go as far as sharing my work, but I understand now that for my whole life, I was waiting to be "perfect" or "good enough" or "ready" or "impressive," and I also understand now that that day is never going to come where I feel all or even any of those things. It's always going to be at least a little scary, but so much of writing is meant to be shared with others. It feels so good!
WOW: Thank you again Natalie - and I have a feeling this is not good-bye, just so long until the next set of contest winners are announced! Congratulations and see you soon!!
Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!
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