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BroadBand the Blog: Jenny Currier

Jenny Currier

I am launching a special blog series to honor and champion other women in business. This is a companion service to a new podcast that I will be launching October 1, 2020.

My intention is to share insights of lessons learned by businesswomen and also elevate their services to the greater community. The goal is to inform and inspire other women with ideas in order to empower them to grow their own business ventures.

Jenny Currier is a freelance writer, food tour guide, and publications coordinator at Brown University.  She was a finalist for the 2019 International Association for Culinary Professions Food Writing Award.  Her work has appeared in Motif Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Sunlight Press, and Vagabond Magazine. She has made a successful career as a writer.

We met a year a so ago after I heard her interviewed on a podcast.  I was intrigued by her story as it was similar and yet so different, from my own.  We met for dinner at her favorite Greek restaurant and became friends.  I asked her to share a little insight into her life experience as a woman who pursued a career with the written word.

1.     How many years have you been a writer?

I tend to shy away from the title of “writer,” just I did ten years ago when someone introduced me as a tennis player and I thought, But I’m only an amateur! That’s how I feel about being a writer, but I started working with Motif Magazine in 2014. It was my first paid writing gig, so I guess you could say I’ve been working as a (freelance) writer for six years.

2.     Why is writing important to you?

I have two categories of writing: journaling, and everything else.

Journaling is what I would do no matter what because it’s how I navigate the world. I record my thoughts and experiences and life every day. It’s invaluable to me, but it does little for anyone else.

I write professionally because it’s one of the best ways I know how to connect with other people.  My life has been transformed through others’ memoirs; I’ve laughed out loud (in public, which is always fun) while reading great humor; I’ve escaped to distant lands through fiction and travel writing, and I desire to reach others in a similar way. If I can make someone laugh or be engaged or teach them something new through my writing, then it feels like I’ve done what I’m meant to do.

3.     If you could go back to your younger self, what kind of advice would you give yourself about your pursuit to be a writer?

Your worth as a person is not reflective of your success (or perceived success) as a writer.

4.     Who influenced you – professionally?

David Sedaris, Elizabeth Gilbert, and a blogger known as “Mimi Smartypants” have had the greatest impact on the type of writing I wish to encapsulate.

5.     What do you like to do for fun?

My ideal sabbath day involves recreational fun (hiking, tennis, etc.), being outdoors, and eating and drinking with friends. I love traveling and exploring new places, whether they be new countries or new restaurants, and I’m a sucker for all things Greek. I love learning the Greek language and practicing it whenever I can.

6.     What advice would you share with someone who is thinking about, or just beginning, a career in writing?

The best advice has already been said (“read!” “write every day!”), so I will just add: don’t stand in your own way. The most surefire way to kill your spirit is to compare yourself to others. As my friend once said, “Compare and despair.” Definitely get feedback from others—I highly recommend finding trusted readers or a writing group—but don’t be discouraged if it feels like you’re running behind everyone else. That is, I think, the experience of most writers.

7.     What surprised you the most as a professional writer?

I underestimated how challenging the publication process would be. My job at Motif came from a serendipitous encounter, so I didn’t really learn the proper protocol for pitching and submitting. I didn’t realize there was a formula I needed to follow, and I was probably too breezy with my writing pitches early on. Once a writer is “in” with a publication, or known in the writing world, things become a little easier (they’ve established a camaraderie with an editor; they’ve shown themselves to be responsible with deadlines and to submit good work), but getting a foot in the door can be tough.

8.   Any suggestions on resources: books, podcasts, online learning, blogs + tools?

Books that I’ve found motivating are Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson. Books that are practical for getting published include How to Get Published in Literary Journals by Allison K. Williams and Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum.

There are also online communities and courses you can take for a reasonable price (Grub Street out of Boston, Goat Hill Writers in RI). If you can find a webinar with Jane Freedman, sign up (I’ve done this through “The Common” website). And I think any podcast Liz Gilbert creates is encouraging and motivating, both for writers and human beings in general.

9.  Can you share a favorite quote?

I have a confession – I wanted to see what my favorite quote on Facebook was from eons ago, and this is what I had written: “Last night I dreamed of the miller’s farting apprentice. I shall never marry.” -from Catherine Called Birdy

I stick by that. However, if you’d like something more inspiring, this quote has come to mind most recently (it’s in Greek): “Fasouli, fasouli, yemizi to sakouli,” which means “Bean by bean, the bag gets full.” Or, as Anne Lamott would say, “Bird by bird.”

To get in touch with Jenny and see more of her work, you can find her here:

If you are a businesswoman who would like to be interviewed – or would like to nominate someone – on BroadBand the Blog, drop me a line at CTDCreativeConsulting (at) gmail.com.  I’d love to hear from you!

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