The Craft: Beth Ward, Atlanta-Based Writer & Digital Storyteller
Welcome to the second feature of The Craft, Novella's monthly series where we converse with women (like you!) and highlight the thoughtful, analytical, and creative methods behind the work we do. Read on to find out more about Beth, a well-read freelance writerfrom Atlanta whose OOO really encompasses our year-round goals.
Want to be featured? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your Craft.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22
What is your name and what do you do:
My name is Beth Ward, and I'm a corporate-world dropout/freelance writer and digitalstoryteller based in Atlanta. My work's appeared in/on Atlas Obscura, Atlanta magazine, Creative Nonfiction, NPR, the Bitter Southerner, and Diversity in Action. Stories soon-to-come in BUST and Gastro Obscura (the new Atlas Obscura's food vertical).
Take us through 24 hours of your day in four sentences.
My day typically starts out with an obscene amount of coffee, followed by some breakfast and my morning writing pages (courtesy of Julia Cameron's The Artist Way). After that, I'll tackle emails, chat with editors, get my daily calendar organized -- administrative stuff that I can do in my PJs.
Some days I'll have to head out for article interviews -- just recently, I visited a female maximum security prison to learn about beekeeping! -- but usually I'm posted up at the library, a coffee shop or a bar doing the actual work of writing a story, essay, or article. If I'm lucky, my days will end with a glass of wine, some House Hunters International and food that I didn't order from Door Dash.
Tell us one or two ways you practice self-care amid the workflow, whether your outlet is creative, therapeutic, or methodical.
Taking the time at the end of the day to read a physical book or magazine and maybe take a bath is really helpful when I'm stressed, exhausted or overwhelmed. I spend a lot of my time staring at a screen, so putting my phone down and reading something on a page is one of my favorite ways to decompress.
I'm also starting to learn that saying no when I'm overworked is a wonderful, effective, empowering way to practice self-care.
What do you to sharpen your craft or hone your skills?
I learned how to write by writing, and by reading. I read anything I can get my hands on -- magazines, essays, novels, poetry, the newspaper. It helps me to bust through writer's block. Reading also teaches me how sentences should sound, how they should feel.
I also surround myself with people who are better at what I do than I am. Writers and creators that excel at their craft are an endless source of inspiration and motivation to be better.
You’re taking off for the vacation/staycation of your dreams: what does your Out of Office message say?
Thank you for your email. Chances are I'm either reading a novel half-drunk on rosé in Saint-Tropez or frolicking through lavender fields in Provence like this woman.
She's definitely not checking her messages at the moment, and neither am I. But I look forward to getting in touch with you upon my reluctant return.
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