I have always loved to write. I thrived in Honors English Classes in high school, writing short stories and poetry and was on the editorial team of the school newspaper. I went on to major in Journalism in college and spent some time in the CNN newsroom before moving to NYC to work in television programming and production. Eventually, I ended up working in publishing where my writing skills really came into play. But it wasn’t until I started blogging that I truly captured my journalistic spirit, returning to my roots in writing. From travel to culture to writing about causes I care about, I have reconnected with an important part of me.
A few weeks ago, writer and friend and Caren Osten Gerszberg asked me to participate in a “Blog Hop,” in which writers share their views on the writing life. You can read her thoughts and learn of her inspiring work here. Below are my answers to the four questions that are hopping from blog to blog. I will be passing the torch to two wonderful writers—Jennifer Lang and Irene Lane—who will post their own responses to the four questions next week on their respective blogs.
1. What am I working on/writing? I consider myself a culture writer, focusing on travel, the arts and advocacy. I always have several writing deadlines going on at once. On the arts side, this past week I turned in an article to BlogHer called “Two Fiery Shows About Friendship Women Should Be Watching Now” about Doll & Em and Broad City, two shows that have had me riveted the last few months. I also reviewed two Broadway plays, Bullets Over Broadway and The Realistic Joneses. I’ve written for Bitch Flicks and Women and Hollywood, two sites that I’m always proud to contribute work to. Advocacy wise, I attended the Women in the World conference at Lincoln Center last week as part of press and plan to write about it over on The Broad Side. Travel wise, I am traveling to both Philadelphia and the Caribbean in the next week and will be recording my experiences over at This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Go Girlfriend and Family Vacation Critic. I’m also producing a play right now, the 3rd annual Listen to Your Mother, coming to Symphony Space in May. I didn’t write the show, this is just a plug! I want to also mention that I’m in grad school, so I’m writing a lot of papers these days and my brain is off in a very different, extremely stimulating but also fried direction.
2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre? That’s a tough question, and I suppose I have to agree with Caren in her post that kicked off this blog hop: my interests are what guide my work and writing. I am one of those people who literally needs to write about what means the most to me in life and what I feel passionate about. On my blog, I don’t deviate from my tag line, “For moms not ready to give up sushi for hot dogs” and my writing stays focused on what motivates me. Along those lines are culture, advocacy and travel. I get a zillion badly pitches daily – mostly mom products and other products you would never see reviewed on my blogs or any of the sites I write for. I want to stay true to who I am.
3. Why do I write what I do? I have worked in media-related jobs since I graduated from college. I started my career in cable at MTV and Lifetime and moved into publishing later on. It wasn’t until I moved into publishing as the marketing lead for Frommer’s Travel Guides that I learned that I could be passionate about my work, and the reason was none other than the fact that I love to travel. I have lived in Israel and England, and my family has traveled to very exotic destinations. You should really see my children’s passports, it’s quite unbelievable! I live to travel, and I also live to go to the theater. I’ve produced a few plays in NYC over the last few years, and it was blogging and reviewing plays that really reignited my love for theater. As a film/TV/music/TV/art connoisseur, cultural writing is what fits, as well as the travel piece. Basically I do what I do out of passion and pure pleasure.
4. How does my writing process work: I’m a note taker. I carry around a small notebook and record notes everywhere I go. When I see a play, I jot down notes. When I am out reviewing a travel destination, my notebook is out. If I’m interviewing someone, I use the voice-recording app on my iPhone. Quite often, there are thoughts buzzing in my brain, and I have to bring them together with my written notes to create a good story. I do take longer to write for sites other than my own, and I go over and over and over what I’m writing before submitting it to an editor, particularly longer pieces that I write for custom publications. When I am writing for my own blogs, I tend to take less time and publish too quickly, which is something that I need to work on. Now, learn a bit about my fellow Blog Hop writers…
Consumer travel journalist, Ellen Barone, has been creating and curatingintriguing, trustworthy and engaging travel inspiration and advice since 1998. With her signature blend of narrative and service journalism, editorial photography and digital technology, Ellen is a notable example of a photojournalist fusing blogging, multimedia storytelling and social media to engage with a diverse and active following. Discover authentic experiences, travel advice, vacation tips, travel tech reviews, gear recommendations, ideas and inspiration for your next adventure in Ellen’s popular travel blogs published at TravelUpdatesbyEllenBarone.com.
Mostly American, a little French and kind of Israeli, Jennifer Lang has spent decades jumping between continents. The question that has plagued her most is which way is home? For the past 10 years, she’s thrived on one constant: wherever she lives, she writes. Once upon a time, she was a magazine writer for Alternative Medicine, Parenting, Yoga for Natural Solutions, Yoga Journal and more. Until she decided to focus on writing her own stories as well as teaching Creative Non-Fiction writing classes. Her essays have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, the South Loop Review as well as on ducts.org, among others. In 2011, she and her family relocated–once again–from White Plains, New York to Raanana, Israel, where she continues to write and teach and push the boundaries. Connect with her through her blog, opentoisrael, her attempt to see the good in a place she never dreamed of calling home.
Irene Lane has written and spoken extensively about sustainable travel and how families can choose vacations that support communities socially, economically and environmentally. She is frequent contributor for the Huffington Post and her blog articles and short pieces also have been published in Green Living Magazine, The PlanetD, Your Life is a Trip and LadyAdventureramong others. In addition to being the founder of Greenloons, which provides sustainable travel tips and information as well as a carefully curated collection of green travel experiences for families, Irene is the only sustainable travel consultant in the United States who can certify a green destination under the internationally-accredited Biosphere certification.
A freelance writer, blogger, editor and frequent contributor to The New York Times, as well as many national magazines and websites, Caren Osten Gerszberg blogs for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today. She also blogs about travel for Embark, a blog focusing on family and adventure travel. She is the co-editor of “Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up” (Seal Press), and the blog of the same name. For two years, she wrote a bi-weekly column, Mom U, for the New York Times education blog, “The Choice,” about the parents’ perspective of the college admissions process.
Judith Fein is an award-winning international travel journalist who lives to leave. She resided for more than ten years in Europe and North Africa and has a passion for adventures that are exotic, authentic, quirky, historic and immersed in local culture. She has written travel articles for more than 90 magazines, newspapers and internet sites, including The L.A. Times, National Geographic Traveler, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Sierra, the Utne Reader, Hemispheres (United Airlines), Travel Age West Magazine (for travel agents), Robb Report, Art and Antiques, Intermezzo, Continental, The Denver Post, New Mexico Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, Executive Traveler, Dreamscapes, TravelandLeisure.com, Just For Canadian Doctors, Hadassah Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Organic Spa, Native Peoples, Islands, MSN/UK, AAA Traveler, The Christian Science Monitor, ConsumerTraveler.com.