Sunday, May 24, 2020
Interview with Sara Wright Covington, Runner Up in the WOW! Q2 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest
After a ten year career in advertising sales, sales management, and sales training, Sara “retired” and began working from home as a writer and columnist for North Alabama lifestyle magazine No’Ala and No’Ala Huntsville. Her column “Cryin’ Out Loud,” about her messy-at-times journey through motherhood can be read on her website www.sarawrightcovington.com. She frequently creates web and blog content for small businesses and is a regular freelance writer for Alabama Magazine and the Huntsville Business Journal. Sara has been a contributor for NPR’s Sundial Writer’s Corner and her creative nonfiction essay entitled Breathe was selected for honorable mention for the Q3 Women on Writing Creative Nonfiction Contest. She has an undergraduate degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Alabama. In her free time, she wrangles 3 little girls, cooks amazing meals right from a box for her unsuspecting husband, and frequents thrift stores when she should be doing laundry.
Read Sara's relatable essay here, and then return for an interview with the author.
----------Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: As a mom who has lost several female friends as our children grew older and drifted apart as friends, “Damages” hit home. How did you first get the idea to write about this experience and how did it evolve as it went through the revision process?
Sara: Gosh, this was actually a tough one to write. Honestly it was more of a journal entry I never really expected to see the light of day. I kept picking it up and putting it back down for months. And it definitely evolved, which is why I think I needed to keep putting it back down. I wanted to get to a neutral place where I could write it without playing the victim or placing blame. Some of the comments I’ve gotten from people who have read it have been that they wanted more information about what happened exactly, but I intentionally kept it vague and put all of the details of the friendship fissure aside (fissure is a new word I’ve stolen from Chelsea Clammer) and just tell a story about my emptiness over losing this person. Also my therapist suggested that ;)
WOW: Knowing you’re the mom of three young girls (I loved your blog post “Girls, Girls, Girls (and 9 Observations I've Made From Raising 3), I have to ask about time management. Do you have a set schedule that you utilize to work on creative and freelance work? How do you carve out time to write?
Sara: Sooooo much estrogen in my house. And I literally began laughing out loud when I saw time management that question. I’m terrible at time management. I’m super disorganized, so this whole quarantine for Corona Virus has really rocked my world because of the home schooling. I’m ashamed to admit that my creative process looks a lot like my laptop staying open on the kitchen table all day and me running over to jot notes down in between feeding kids, breaking up fights, and screaming lots of empty threats.
WOW: We do what we have to do! You are not alone. Knowing your love of words, who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Sara: Daphne du Maurier is probably the first author I fell in love with. I remember my mother reading Rebecca to me when I was 10 or 11, and it’s still one of my favorite books of all time. The whole Gothic novel genre just really sticks in my soul.
I’m from the South, so Rick Bragg and Pat Conroy are kind of deities down here too. As far as an author’s voice I most identify with, I love reading Erma Bombeck. She was a pioneer of motherhood humor.
WOW: I agree with all of the above! As part of your freelance writing business, you create content for a number of businesses and nonprofits. What are some things you’ve learned about content creation since you started, and what advice would you give to other writers looking to add similar offerings to their own businesses?
Sara: The main thing I’ve picked up is that every business owner’s voice is different. I worked in sales for a very long time, and when you have a journalistic background, you develop pretty good skills for asking questions. Anytime you are helping someone establish a voice for their company or product, it’s important to ask enough questions to determine who they are, who their target audience is, and what their longterm goals are. Sometimes things have to be done in phases. (just like any relationship).
WOW: Yes, interviews are so important when getting to know a client or an interview subject. You mention on your blog that you love to frequent thrift stores. Do you have any stories of some amazing finds you’ve stumbled across?
Sara: My favorite find of all time is a cognac-colored leather trench coat. I think it’s probably from the 70s, but it’s classic. I’ve also found some black Jimmy Choo pumps, a first edition of Gone With the Wind (on a discount table), a Givenchy scarf, and too many pieces of art to count!
WOW: Those all sound like pretty fantastic finds. Thank you for taking time out to answer our questions, and we look forward to reading more of your work!