What a pleasure it was to chat with Emily Collins who is a Creative Writer/Freelance Copywriter and Editor. I appreciated the memories the interview brought back to life and the subtle reminder of why I continue with my passion. See what I had to say below!
Welcome back to the Literary Copywriter spotlight where I feature professional writers with creative pursuits. Today I interviewed Alicia Jones, a creative writer/blogger and founder of AJ’s Diary. I sat with Alicia to learn more about her journey. Let’s hear from Alicia!
Literary Copywriter: Tell me about your writing journey. When did you first realize that a.) you are a writer, and b.) you want to make a living off of your writing?
A.J. I think I was around 12 or 13 years old when I got my first diary. Back in the day there were mobile libraries where the bus would come up to the school and the students would have about an hour to buy whatever they wanted. I recall begging my mom for money just to buy one book. When you stepped inside this mystical bus, it was a book lovers dream. Books upon books, beautiful bookmarks and little quirky boxes with locks and keys. That is when I saw my first diary. My eyes lit up, and I'm certain my heart skipped a few beats. The smell of the new pages turn after turn is something that is hard to describe. You either love it, or run towards the nearest exit. I couldn't begin to tell you how much I wrote in my diary or what I actually had to say. As much as I would love to see that old diary I would likely cringe at my thoughts back then. At that age I am sure it made absolutely no sense or perhaps it would have gone down in history as the most profound writing from a pre-teen. Either way, buying that diary on that day sparked something in me that would be everlasting. Self expression is an art and a gift, all in one. Learning how to get into that special space in your mind and convey your feelings for others to enjoy is simply magnificent. Would I love to make a living off of my writing? Most definitely. But even if I never make one single penny from my work I will always love it, forever cherish the process and appreciate the journey.
For me I truly felt like that I could claim the title of author when I wrote my first short story, 'The Scent Of A Woman'. I allowed myself to have fun creating the characters and just going with it. My readers have requested a sequel, so we shall see what happens with part two of this story. Stay tuned!
Self expression is an art and a gift, all in one. Learning how to get into that special space in your mind and convey your feelings for others to enjoy is simply magnificent. Would I love to make a living off of my writing? Most definitely. But even if I never make one single penny from my work I will always love it, forever cherish the process and appreciate the journey.
L.C. Please describe your writing career. How did you get started? Who are your ideal clients.? Do you freelance or work for an agency?, etc.
A.J. I watched a show a couple of years ago and a woman mentioned that she was working on building a website for her blog. I thought it was amazingly cool and highly adventurous to create your own website. I also thought it would be great to hire someone, however I am not wealthy, and I wanted it to be a labour of love, so I decided to do it myself. I am the queen of research, so I decided to look into the different ways of creating a website and realized it was something I could achieve in about a decade. It truly seemed impossible, but I felt it was my go-forward, so onward and upward I went. Anyone who has embarked upon this journey knows what its like to want to throw your whole entire computer out the window so you truly understand my pain. The end result is everything and then some. Are you wondering if I would do it all over again? The answer will always be yes each and every time.
AJ'S Diary was brought to life in 2018. When I launched my website I cried, I celebrated with a champagne toast, and I smiled, a lot. It was a very happy moment for me and it felt so damn good! I will never forget the moment I hit publish. My site is live??? Oh my God, my site is live! I have made changes to my site here and there but overall I am very happy with the end result. It is authentic, it will always convey peace and it has not only allowed me to grow as a writer but to get back to the thing I have loved for so very long. I am independent, not currently working for anyone, but I'm open for the possibilities. I did freelance work for an online magazine for about a year as a contributing writer which was amazing.
L.C. I love supporting writers who are also hard at work on a creative, personal project. This could be a novel, memoir, poetry collection etc. Tell me more about what you’re working on and what you hope to gain from the experience (book deal, more publications, career change, personal growth, etc.). Feel free to share how you balance work, life, and writing. It’s okay, if you’re struggling with this. It’s all part of the process!
A.J. I started writing my first book at the beginning of the year. I can't tell you what it's about because I only have about two sentences. My goal was to have it completed at the end of this year however this year has thrown me for a loop. I've learned never to rush the process, just appreciate the journey along the way. When it is done I will most likely self-publish however I would love to have a book deal. Over the past year I have met so many amazing writers and had numerous conversations about their experiences and what they have learned from years of writing. I have taken so much knowledge from those interactions and it has shown me a great deal for the next steps I will take as a writer.
My vision is clear and precise, to create great work. I often go back to the very first post I wrote, it wasn't bad however I can see my growth in so many ways. There have been moments I wanted to purge anything I deemed unworthy from my writing catalog but that would almost be the same as permanently erasing moments from my mind because they hurt too bad. Good or bad it all strengthens you for what is to come. Until my first book is completed, I am always writing and working on my next blog post. Check me out, subscribe or contact me to find out what's coming next.
The fine art of balance lies somewhere in between my 9-5, exercising, making the perfect cup of tea, an occasional cup of coffee, champagne, calling my mom 15 times a day and running after two cats. After all of that is done, I release my mind into my love of writing. I wear as many hats as I possibly can without tumbling over, but I am always careful to understand my limits. If I need to rest, I get plenty. When I am in search of my portion of peace for the day I turn on my music and dance like a maniac and hope and pray my neighbors can't see me through the blinds. It all boils down to knowing when to woosah, knowing when to boogie and knowing when to grind and get to work. Just flow with it and the rest will fall in line.
Over the past year I have met so many amazing writers and had numerous conversations about their experiences and what they have learned from years of writing. I have taken so much knowledge from those interactions and it has shown me a great deal for the next steps I will take as a writer.
L.C. Writers are needed but often undermined/unappreciated. Especially those of us with literary goals in mind! If applicable, could you speak to how you’ve faced/overcome challenges in your career? It’s okay if these challenges are ongoing (they often are). Feel free to share any words of wisdom you may have from mentors, literary heroes, etc.
A.J. The greatest challenge since I started this writing journey is getting out of my own mind. There is enough doubt in the world and what is most damaging can be your own thoughts. My own words of wisdom came after a conversation with a friend who is an author. (There are levels to writing. The one that matters the most is when you know your work is great no matter what 'they' say. ~A. Jones) Wondering what someone thinks can be draining and overwhelming. Trust in the full and complete power of your own words.
There are so many literary greats who have helped to pave my way and so many others like me. A few of my favorite authors, J.D. Salinger, Erma Bombeck, Maeve Binchy, Clive Barker, James Baldwin and so many others. Reading their works of art have inspired me to keep going.
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." -James A. Baldwin
L.C. Say someone much younger than you says, “I want to be a writer, but I’m afraid I won’t succeed.” What would you tell them?
A.J. Take that fear and put it into words. Start from within and just let your mind run free. If you don't submit to the power and magic within writing you will regret never taking that leap of faith. Maybe the first time you won't succeed and just maybe the first time you will blow them away, knock their socks off and make them say whoa! It takes courage to write your heart out, hit publish, or walk into a publishing house and ask them if they liked it enough to leave a comment or to draft up the papers for the book deal you are about to sign. What happens if they say it was horrible and you have no talent? There is not one single person who can take that power from you so pick up your crushed ego, cry in private if you need to, smile and remember that you created something all on your own and that speaks volumes.
Start from within and just let your mind run free. If you don't submit to the power and magic within writing you will regret never taking that leap of faith. Maybe the first time you won't succeed and just maybe the first time you will blow them away, knock their socks off and make them say whoa!
Connect with Alicia:
Interested in being featured in the L.C. Spotlight? I you’re a professional writer with creative pursuits, I’d love to hear from you.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman