SARAH ALLEN: Writer and owner of the blog "From Sarah, With Joy"
Your blog is called “From Sarah, With Joy”. Why? What does “joy” mean to you?
C. S. Lewis said “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (I have this quote on my blog.) I guess that’s kind of what I mean by “joy”—those experiences you have sometimes that seem too big to hold inside one person, too big for this world. Really good books and art and film and music are all things that I think bring that feeling, and writing is my way of being part of it. So that’s what I blog about, along with other things that bring me joy.
What is your blogging philosophy? (Or, why blog? Why not a private journal?)
There are three main reasons I blog. The first is that writing a blog helps me work out my own thoughts about writing and the other things I write about. Second, I have communicated with some amazing people, and their comments have been invaluable. Blogging is a way of being part of a community. Lastly, even though I have not published a book yet, I am working on it every day and once I get to that point my blog will be a very useful tool for marketing and book promotion. A slightly more mercenary reason, but there you have it.
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in October of 2009.
How long have you been writing? When and why did you start?
I think I have been writing and telling stories in some form or another for pretty much my entire life. I know I have been reading voraciously for my entire life, and that, I think, is nearly as important. But it was really in seventh grade, when I took my first creative writing class, that I realized not only how much I enjoyed writing, but how fulfilled and wonderful it made me feel. I remember when I was fourteen we were having dinner in my Grandma’s backyard, and for the first time I thought, I could do this for a living; this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Outside of your blog, what do you tend to write about? Are there major themes in your work, and why do you think this is?
The main genre in which I write is adult mainstream (though I have and will experiment in other genres). I like to write about the issues and problems of everyday life, which a lot of times means romantic troubles, though what I write would probably not qualify as “romance” per se. Some of my favorite writers are Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Also I tend to write about lonely middle-aged men. I’m really not sure why.
Favorite authors and/or books?
This is such an impossible question, but I’ll try. I am one of those sadly indiscriminate readers who kind of soaks in everything I read. However, there are a few writers who have changed my life. Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Their stories are the kinds of stories I crave. George Elliot, Norman Maclean and Wallace Stegner, who write impossibly gorgeous, stunning, breath-taking sentences. C. S. Lewis, of course. Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, Connie Willis, and Stephen King. I adore J. K. Rowling, but who doesn’t. Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Hugo, Dickens, Hemingway. Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Chaim Potok, Leslie Marmon Silko, Thomas King, Zora Neal Hurston, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Tim O’Brien, Stephen Crane, Neil Simon, Lois Lowry, Sharon Creech, Gary Schmidt, Kaye Gibbons, Harper Lee, J. D. Salinger, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, Don and Audrey Wood…ok, ok, I’ll stop.
Janet Reid, Literary Agent. Pimp My Novel. Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Mashable. Also, What about ME? (a blog all about Michael Emerson), but that’s just because I’m a total nerd.
Your blog is primarily about creative writing. What made you choose this topic? If you deviate from the main topic, when have you done so and why?
I picked creative writing because that is pretty much my life, and I don’t know if there’s anything else I could or would even want to write about. I sometimes do deviate from that topic, but that mostly happens when there is something I particularly want to write about (for example movie reviews or if something awesome happens to me) or when there is a some kind of world or national event that must be addressed (holidays, the riots in Cairo).
How often do you post? Do you have a schedule (and do you stick to it)?
This has actually changed recently. In the past I posted consistently, but sparsely. Now I post daily, including weekends, and I do stick to that for the most part.
How personal is your blog: how much do you choose to reveal about yourself, and why do you reveal those things?
Interesting question. I guess it is semi-personal. I don’t often talk about my personal life. However, it is hard to write about writing without getting personal, at least emotionally and mentally. I try to be very honest about my own writing, my process, struggles, etc.
How does being a woman inform (or not inform) your blog posts?
Another interesting question. This is something I have to think about carefully before I answer. I think as a society we have, hopefully, mostly gotten past the feminine repression thing. I think we women can, for the most part, claim the same rights as men. However, I also get sort of bugged when women use their femininity as a handi-cap, if that makes sense, when they claim certain privileges or rights just because they have two x chromosomes. In a perfect world, success is based on hard work and talent, not gender.
How do other aspects of your identity (race, nationality, sexuality, age, socio-economic class, etc.) inform your writing and blogging?
Everyone’s source material and writing themes come from who they are as a person. I am a young, white, middle-class politically conservative American woman, so my story ideas and themes come from that paradigm. Of course, the beauty of writing is that you can use your identity as a starting point for exploring and understanding other people and ideas.
How does your blog relate to other aspects of your life (career, family, friends, romance, ect.)? Does it relate to these things?
One aspect of writing is the actual writing. This is the more glamorous part. However, there is another, more mundane aspect to a writing career. I’ve heard it said that one must treat their writing career like a business, and though many people don’t like thinking that way and want to leave all that stuff up to someone else, I think every writer should do as much as they can. My blog is me trying to take care of some of the business of writing.
What are your hopes for your blog? Your hopes for your writing, and yourself?
Ha :) Well, I hope for my blog to get as wide a readership as it can get. I hope to help as many people as I can. I hope to use my blog to promote future books and things. I hope for my books to reach and connect with as many people as possible.
Check Out Sarah’s Blog Here:
From Sarah, With Joy