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This blog was featured on 04/09/2020
An Exclusive Interview with Jacqueline Friedland
Written by
She Writes
March 2020
Written by
She Writes
March 2020

The author of That's Not a Thing (available April 14, 2020), Jacqueline Friedland, opened up about her writing routine, the moment she felt like a writer and more in this exclusive interview with She Writes. 

Share your writing routine.

I can generally be found at home in yoga pants planted in front of my computer screen. I try to safeguard certain days of the week for my writing because I find that if I don’t have at least a few uninterrupted hours at my keyboard, I can’t fully get into the zone. My third hour of writing is always, without fail, better than my first. I’ve never been one to write in coffee shops, as the people watching is way too distracting for me. At home, I’m much more focused.  

What’s the first/worst job you ever had?

My first job was working as a summer camp counselor when I was in high school. I was put in charge of a large group of six-year-old girls. I never really liked being a camper, as I wasn’t much into sports or the outdoors as a kid. Frankly, I never even liked those sticky popsicles they hand out at the end of the day. It should have come as no surprise that I enjoyed watching other campers even less. It was always hot, the kids were constantly putting their gooey hands all over me, and I was really stressed out about being responsible for so many little people. I understand that someone else would love this kind of job, but it was definitely not for me. If someone had told me then that I’d end up having four of my own children (intentionally!), I never would have believed it.

Describe your writing style in three words.

Upbeat, conversational, fun.

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

The written work that stands out to me most from my childhood is actually a menu that I created when I was six or seven years old. I was going to open up a restaurant called “That’s” with the tagline, “Now THAT’S Original.” The idea was to serve creative and unique fare. One item that I remember in particular was called “Sticks in the Mud,” which involved some unholy combination of mozzarella sticks and chocolate pudding. It’s probably good that I moved on to other career goals.

When did you start to feel like a writer?

I have secretly felt like a writer my whole life. However, I didn’t feel like I was allowed to say as much out loud until I had my first book actually slated for publication. If I heard another person say what I’ve just admitted, I would tell them that one who writes is a writer, published or not. But the truth is, I found it hard to own the title without the accomplishment to substantiate it.

Was there something about the publishing experience that surprised you?

One of the reasons I enjoy writing so much is that I’m a bit of an introvert. I never knew before I published a book how many public appearances I would end up doing. In addition to events relating to my book, I’ve been asked to speak at events and on panels about changing careers, historical issues covered in my books, and even a fundraiser for my college sorority.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Protect your time. Writing a book is a LONG process, requiring countless hours of brainstorming, researching, drafting, editing and proofreading. Other people might make demands on your time that infringe on your writing process. If you say “yes” to too many requests from others, you will never have the time you need to finish your own work or pursue your own dreams.  You have responsibilities in so many other sectors of your life, but you must approach your writing as a responsibility, as well. If you have to segregate a couple of days a week and say “I never make appointments on Tuesdays” or “I can’t carpool on Monday or Thursday evenings” those moments will become your work time and you will hopefully be especially motivated during those hours.

What do you do to help develop your craft?

I believe the best way to develop your craft is to write as much as possible. Like anything else, the more you practice, the better you get. Beyond that, regularly reading the work of other authors you admire can do wonders to help keep you motivated. I always have a book with me and take great pride and pleasure in the number of books I read. Whether I’m waiting to pick up a kid from an after-school activity, standing in a checkout line or simply riding in an elevator, I grab every second I can find to read a few more words.

Why is it important for women to share their stories?

Women have so much to say! As women, we have a vast array of experiences between us. That said, we don’t always know how to find the people whose emotions or wisdom can somehow teach us what we need to know at a particular moment. If we, as women, share our experiences through writing, we can reach so many people. Whether fiction or non-fiction, the scenarios that female authors create can teach empathy, compassion and other life lessons. While this is not unique to women writers, emotions they hit upon may speak especially to other women. We can inspire each other by way of example. If we do it right, we can all lift each other up.

What’s your favorite way to support other women writers?

My favorite way to support other women authors is to participate in fostering a vibrant author community. Whether it’s posting on social media to congratulate a fellow author on the publication of her book or attending book signings to support another author, each event builds on those before it. I have found a wide network of female authors who are so wonderfully supportive and encouraging of each other.  It just makes you want to keep paying it forward.  Each time a female author succeeds, we all succeed.

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