Writer Lauren L. Small shares her experiences as a writer and woman of color that lead her to create the platform That Girl Can Write to empower other women of color.
1. What is your profession (related to writing or the publishing industry)? Please be as specific as possible.
Freelance Copywriter. I create copy for mediums (including and not limited to emails, blogs, and websites) to increase or enhance customer engagement. I’m also the editor and creator of That Girl Can Write, a digital platform that encourages and promotes women writers of color.
2. Why/how did you get into this profession?
A few years I began blogging as a release from my unsatisfying 9-to-5. My best friend shared that she liked my work and I should consider moving forward with it professionally. After some consideration, I enrolled in the SCAD MFA program, there I realized I could create copy and actually get paid to do it.
3. What did you hope to get out of this career as a professional and on a personal level?
Happiness. I hated my cubicle/office job. I was missing the opportunity to be creatively free. Once I realized I didn’t care about pay, I knew writing professionally and personally was what I needed.
4. What is something unique (ex: perspective, skill, personality) you bring as a writer or professional in the publishing industry?
My voice. I’m the only person in the world with this voice. One can learn everything I know and more, but they can’t imitate my experiences, my emotions, and thought processes that make up my voice.
5. What do you wish you would have known about your profession before you started working in it?
I wish I would have known it’d be hard to break into. Most often I’m interviewed by older, white men that don’t care about creativity. They are most often from the “newspaper” era and prefer to see traditional copy. I understand that it’s important to connect with the people you work with, but it usually leaves me overlooked for positions and opportunities I’m qualified for.
6. Do you feel you are compensated fairly for the work you do?
I think the previous question answers that lol
7. What are some obstacles you have faced in your profession as a woman of color?
I don’t get the respect I feel I deserve and I have a constant feeling of anxiety around trying to prove myself. Black women are taught we have to work the hardest or be the smartest person in the room and it’s exhausting.
Some people see the way I carry myself and are immediately intimidated or they expect me to have a bad attitude. It’s like people think “She can’t possibly be the person in charge.”
After viewing my resume and/or hearing my voice to actually seeing my face walk in the room there is a moment of disbelief. I’ve interviewed for a number of positions and I ace the phone interview, but once I go in for the face-to-face I know I can expect an email that someone else more “fitting” got the job.
8. What are some opportunities you have come across in your profession as a woman of color?
The opportunity for MORE. I see people like Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Mara Brock Akil, Maine Waters, and Roxane Gay stirring things up yet it’s still not common to see Black Women leading the pack. I want to see more black women leading in creativity, leading entrepreneurship, and leading in publishing. We all have some darn good stories to tell.
9. What advice would you give to women of color who want to follow your career path?
Be confident. My confidence has wavered over the years due to feeling incompetent or inadequate, or simply not good enough which has slowed down my progress.
10. Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you for this opportunity and follow That Girl Can Write on Instagram for beautiful, talented writers like myself.
Thank you Lauren for sharing your wisdom and experience with us!
You can find Lauren’s work at www.laurenlsmall.com. To learn more about and submit to That Girl Can Write, go to https://linktr.ee/thatgirlcanwrite and follow them on Instagram @thatgirlcanwrite
If you have questions or thoughts about this interview please feel free leave a comment below.
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These blogs explore my writing process and highlight my favorite writers and books.