Life in general. I write so many articles, and I get the freedom to talk about literally anything I want to talk about, so it’s all about just making small observations in daily life and working on how to take that fraction of an idea and turn it into something that is relatable, and something that other people would want to read. I talk about food, about work, about friends, about the metro — everything.
– You have just written a book called I’m Only Here For the WiFi. Can you give us a little clue as to what this is about?
It’s a guide for starting your life post-school, finding a job and an apartment and adult friends and all of that kind of thing. It touches on a huge variety of subjects, but all in a very (what I believe to be) humorous way. I wrote it for my sister, who is now almost 18, as the book that I would want her to read when she was just setting out in the world — it answers as many questions as I am qualified to answer, I think. It is as practical as I could make it with my experience, but is still (I think) a lot of fun.
– You also wrote a book last year with the amusing title Take Your Earrings Out Before You Fight and Other Things I Learned in Public School. How hard is it to start and finish a complete book?
Well that was just a small ebook I did for Thought Catalog’s ebook imprint, only about a chapter’s length, so it wasn’t very long. My book-book, I’m Only Here For The WiFi
, is a full-length print book, so that took quite a bit longer to complete. I would say, beginning to end, the process took about a year, and it involved quite a bit of tedious revision and reading things aloud and changing small points. The actual writing aspect of a book is relatively small compared to all of the work that actually goes into publishing, and making something as perfectly presentable as possible. And that’s the real challenge, I think — putting something that is wild and unrefined and natural into flowing chapters, and beginnings and endings, and transitions. That is the work, in many ways, of the editor, but it is also something authors need to learn how to do, and it’s a much more technical, difficult aspect of the writing process.
– You have already accomplished a lot for a young twenty-something. Is there any advice you can pass on to anyone wanting to find the time and inspiration to be a writer?
In this market, with the talent influx of the internet and the economy the way it is, you have to fight for it. You have to take the small jobs, or the bylines, and let it stack up into something bigger. You have to be persistent, and follow up, and build your own personal networks and brand as much as possible. The important thing is to define a voice for yourself (which will often involve not turning your nose up at any kind of work, and seeing where you can reach a new audience at every turn), so that people will know who you are and why they should follow your work. Once you have established your voice, and an audience of your own, then you can count on the work a little bit more. But getting that ball rolling down the hill is very, very hard work, so be prepared to shill yourself like you would any other product. Don’t be afraid of getting rejected, just be afraid of completely missing your chances because you were afraid to try.