The Craft: Audrey Williams on authenticity, diversity in the blogging world, and berets
Hello on this beautiful, chilly Thursday! Welcome to The Craft, Novella’s monthly series where we talk to women like you and do our favorite thing: geek out about writing. We spoke with Audrey Williams, writer, editor, and blogger at Lulu Linden, about her experience as a blogger and what authenticity means to her.
Interviewed by Sandy Sanchez
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18
The Craft: Audrey Williams
What’s the inspiration behind the name of your blog?
Well, I’m also a drag queen in my head and there’s this little joke for coming up with your drag queen name which is the name of your first pet plus the first street you lived on. When I did it, I felt like it had a special ring to it — Lulu Linden — and I decided to run with it as my brand. Which is sort of a joke in and of itself. I just didn’t want to take myself too seriously and it really stuck. People think my name is actually Lulu.
You’re a fashion and beauty editor at Bustle by day, and a writer and blogger by night. What’s it like balancing these two jobs?
Luckily, I love doing both of them, so it makes it easier to push myself to do both even if I’m burned out, which has yet to happen – amen! I will say blogging has taken a bit more of a backseat as I make room for the other things in my life. I’ve been doing it since 2014, so that’s the one thing that’s evolving as I do more professional and creative writing. I also don’t see blogging as a job, which helps. I know for many it is, and it’s certainly helped pay a few bills, but for me it’s a form of connecting with people and working through thoughts that I feel other people relate to. That’s what keeps me doing it even as I take on other roles.
Do you have an object you keep by your side to inspire you while writing?
Probably just my books. I always have one on me, and if I’m writing at home they’re all over. I like to have them there as reminders that writing is possible. Like, “Hey Audrey, look, you can write because, hey, other people have written, too.” I try to remember my favorite passages and how they make me feel because my hope is to capture a bit of magic that makes people feel or think about things they weren’t otherwise thinking about.
Where do you like to write?
Home if I don’t get distracted by chores or my dog. The train since there’s no running away there and all you have are your thoughts. And a good, warm, quiet cafe where the people working don’t give a shit about you stealing their complimentary WiFi for hours on end. It has to feel homey so I’m comfortable but also don’t have the distractions of being at home.
You’ve done a lot of amazing partnerships with brands like Tobi, Warby Parker, and Scentbird. How do you stay true to your authentic self when deciding what partners to collaborate with?
I try not to see blogging as a job or see myself as a legit “influencer”, but instead as another tool to connect with people. That makes it easier. When brands reach out to me, I always think “would I want to hear about this if I weren’t the person pushing it?” If yes, I do it. If no, I don’t. And when I say connecting, it sounds so intimate — and I share on my blog that way too — but it can also be as simple as realizing that people are as curious about a deep conditioner or earrings as I am, so why not talk to them about it? Like “hey girl, these earrings are hella cute and cheap. They made me feel good to wear, so maybe they might make you feel good, too.”
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into blogging?
Have something to say. Blogging can seem self-serving as a very “look at all my stuff, isn’t it neat?” way, but if that’s all you have to contribute, reconsider. I started blogging in 2014 because I thought that within my peer group I didn’t see anyone saying what I wanted to hear, or sharing in a way I could relate to. I saw people outside of my world — skinny, privileged, well-to-do, older and with more resources, primarily white — doing it and I thought, “where is this for me?” Now it’s different. People like me have found their platforms and that makes me so happy to see! But now that means you also have to figure out how to contribute something different than them. Otherwise, you’re just adding noise to the conversation. I’ve evolved because of this, but also because of life experiences. Now I get really intimate when I share, and I think that’s also because I’ve embraced being a writer and not a blogger. My real life is on my blog, not just the well-styled “lifestyle” moments.
Fall is here! What’s your go-to fall outfit and activity?
Honestly, I’m still bitter about summer being over. I’m from the south. I need my warmth! I don’t even know what people do with fall. I want to trick myself into enjoying it by doing all the cliché things — apple picking and pumpkin patching and so on. I know it can be enjoyable but I just have to figure out how. As far as fall looks go, I just throw sweaters and blazers on everything. Basic outfits can be transformed by good layering. Vintage jeans, a tee, and a fly blazer. Oh, and a beret! That’s fall’s redeemer: I pull out my berets.