I want to thank Christy for answering my questions (and letting me in on what students are up to these days!). You can read more about Christy at her website.
What kinds of writing do you do? What kinds of writing do you wish you did more of?
I mostly write for magazines. I’ve written about everything from the history of a local shipyard for a freelance client’s book, to how to select wedding photographers for a local bridal magazine, to a community-run farm for a quarterly food publication. I’d like to write more creative work, such as short stories. I’d love to do some travel writing as well.
You run the blog Slow Southern Style. What was the first blog post you ever wrote about?
My first blog post back in September 2009 was about men’s fashion, specifically how men can dress preppy and not look like a carbon copy of every other guy doing it.
You mention on your blog that you just recently decided to go back to school to earn an English degree. Why go back now? What’s it been like? Are the kids as weird to you as they are to me?
First off, I weighed the pros and cons of going back to school for years. I worried if I was smart enough to finish. I was concerned with how my decision would affect my husband and me financially: how would I juggle schoolwork, my freelance writing gigs, and find time to be a decent wife? My husband has been 100% supportive of me through the entire process, which has helped immensely.
The impetus for going back to school was my boss. At the time I went back, I had worked for a popular clothing store for 8 years. She worked for the company for 15 years, didn’t have a college degree, and showed no interest in moving up with the company. I didn’t want to be stuck working in retail for the rest of my life with no options; I didn’t want to become complacent in my career and just be okay with working the same job for decades. I know being a writer isn’t the soundest job decision, but I’ve always wanted to be a writer since the second grade, so I had to allow myself to pursue my passion.
My experience going back to college has been great. At first I felt out of place in the classroom, but that was just my own sensitivities about being an older student. I find my younger classmates often appreciate my perspective—that is, if they even find out my age at all. It’s not uncommon for people to think that I’m 8-10 years younger than I actually am. I’m not saying that to brag. I get “You do not look like you’re in your 30s” from people all the time. I attend the University of New Orleans, which has a sizable non-traditional student population, so there are often a few students around the same age as me.
What was your least favorite class at any point in your education? Why?
Well, it’s going to be math! I have one lingering math requirement that I’m going to knock out this summer. I honestly have no idea how I’m going to pass it; I haven’t taken a math class since 2000.
In what ways has academia shaped your writing?
I came aboard as Editor-in-Chief of Driftwood, the student-run newspaper, this semester. I have to write and edit in strict AP journalistic style. This has really helped tighten up my sentences and make every word count. My writing workshop classes have given me valuable feedback and have made me get out of my own head more.
In what ways has life outside of academia shaped your writing?
My concentration is creative non-fiction writing. If I had kept on the straight and narrow path and graduated in my early 20s, I wouldn’t have my life experiences to pull from and put into my stories. I also look at writing as both an art and a skill. My work as a freelance writer has helped me diversify. I also know not to take criticism of my writing personally. My workshop classmates are critiquing my work, not me. I wasn’t able to separate myself from my work when I was younger.