Telling My Story: Interview with Lauren Archuletta
Freelance writer Lauren Archuletta writes for several print magazines and online sites, including Twenty Something Living, Spark Notes, and idobi Radio, and she handles the communications for a Boulder nonprofit. This November, she’s branching out from journalism into fiction with her first serious effort at NaNoWriMo. In this interview, we discussed her journalism career, her inspiration, and all the sexy things about writing.
Kristy Lin Billuni: Let’s start with your established writing career.
Lauren Archuletta: My writing for magazines in Colorado, like Westword, Boulder Weekly and Rooster Magazine, tends to focus on the arts, the music industry, and a lot—I mean a lot—of beards.
KLB: Sounds like you publish pretty regularly.
LA: I do. Normally, I work on quick deadlines and pitches because I am a freelancer. I average anywhere from 3-7 stories a week for online and print publications, and I tend to spend a lot of time in interviews.
KLB: That’s good training for the fast pace of NaNoWriMo. How is it different?
LA: This is my first time having to think of myself more as a "writer" than a journalist and my first time really trying to sit down and complete NaNoWriMo. I've dabbled off and on in the past, but this is the first time that I've planned a few things out. Writing for NaNoWriMo is proving to be similar to when I write for any other publication.
KLB: How so?
LA: I'm incapable of sitting down at, say, 10AM in my home office just because I have time to write. I very much have to write when the moment feels right, and normally I can handle that within a deadline, but that may mean 2AM with a pot of tea. NaNoWriMo, however, is training me to set some time aside, so even if I'm not writing, I'm actively thinking about the project.
KLB: Where do you go to write?
LA: If I feel the urge to write during the day, I'm usually at my favorite Vietnamese cafe in Denver, because it's a spot where I feel most creative. A lot of people in the arts industry or other creative fields work around that area, so it's helpful to take a break and enjoy an Americano with a painter, a graphic artist, and a welding artist to discuss what projects we have going on. I firmly believe that if you want something, you have to put it out to the world, so saying it out loud with people truly helps my process.
KLB: Yes! That’s one of the best things about NaNoWriMo, actually—the cameraderie. Have you connected with the NaNoWriMo community much?
LA: Since this is my first time doing NaNoWriMo, I'm depending mostly on my network on Twitter and the advice of personal colleagues that have gone through the process. I'm excited for what this will do for me creatively, though!
KLB: Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project.
LA: Right now, the work I'm producing for NaNoWriMo is shaping to be a novel, but I'm aware it will take far longer than the month of November. This is the first time I'm really telling my story and talking about the experiences I went through with self harm as a teenager. Overall the work is telling a fictional story of a teenage girl through my personal, real experiences and pieces of early 2000s pop punk.
KLB: I love when fiction gets at the big themes in our lives. It sounds like you’re telling a very personal story.
LA: When I was a teenager, the only books about self harm almost encouraged young people to do it, sort of sending the message that, "Even adults go through things like this, so it's okay for you to, as well." I feel like, at 24 years old, I still have relevant experience to tell this story from a perspective that speaks to young people.
KLB: Any other inspirations?
LA: This NaNoWriMo project is heavily influenced by music. More than anything, though, my writing is influenced by experiences I had as a teenage "fangurl" combined with the professional success I've had at such a young age in the communications industry.
KLB: Let’s talk about sex.
LA: There are certain things that make me feel at my utmost sexiest: a great shade of lipstick, a man's hands in my hair, and being creative.
KLB: Say more about the creativity piece. How is writing sexy?
LA: Writing makes me feel creative, and when I'm especially proud of a piece or the direction it's taking, I feel sexy and take ownership of it.
KLB: I totally agree. Owning our creative output is hot. And what about NaNoWriMo?
LA: What I'm finding about NaNoWriMo is that it's forcing me out of my comfort zone, and it's exciting and sexy in new and different ways. In general, writing and sex share the parallel of catharsis. An orgasm and finishing a story both create this truly emotional purge that is overwhelming and exhausting and incredible all at once.
I love to talk to writers--and especially WriMos this time of year--about the messy, juicy, sexy process of creativity. To meet more writers in social media, follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Yearning to jump into the writer’s life yourself? My free ebook, Arouse Your Writer Self, will get you going. Want more? Private sessions with me are more affordable than you think, and the first one’s free.