041: Badasses Share Their Personal Story with Sophfronia Scott

If you are lucky, every so often you will meet someone who inspires you to do your best work and pulls out your highest potential. For me, that is our guest this week, writer, essayist, and coach Sophfronia Scott.   Sophfronia coached me through my first book, The Politics of Promotion, along with my upcoming book, Not Done Yet. She joins me this week for a conversation on overcoming the challenges of becoming a writer, and how sharing our personal story can light the way for others to connect with us and tap into their own emotions.    What You Will Hear in This Episode:   Sophfronia is an award-winning journalist and began her career writing for Time where her cover story “Twentysomething” broke ground by looking in-depth at Gen X. Sophfronia holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College. She discusses how it wasn’t about the degree per se, but what the degree provides in terms of a community, connections, and support from fellow writers. She was recently named the director of an MFA in Creative Writing program. She wants her students to understand that their voice matters, and what they have to say is worth something. To be a writer, you have to have the discipline to write! However, as much as it is up to you to do the work, having great mentors and coaches also is a great help. Sophfronia grew up in Ohio with a steelworker father and stay at home mother, along with a large family with seven kids. Writing poetry and reading were her escape initially, and something inside of her said if she committed to writing five pages a week, good things would happen, which they definitely did. Writing can help us not only process our own emotions but help others connect with how they are feeling and know that we all go through common experiences in life. Grief can sometimes feel like it’s going to swallow us whole, but it can also propel us to do great things. For Sophfronia, two big events that helped her realize life is short and she needed to get into action was the trauma around 9/11 and her sister passing away. Even just keeping a journal and trying to stay consistent with journaling can be a very profound way to get the muscle memory around writing stronger.   Quotes: “I wrote five pages a week and my life changed.” — Sophfronia “It’s not just the degree, it’s what the degree can do for you.”  — Sophfronia “If you tell your story well enough, it hits a note. This alchemy happens where people are no longer reading your story, they are reading themselves in the story.” — Sophfronia   Mentioned: Sophfronia Sophfronia’s Publications Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander The Artist's Way More info on #publishingpaidme from NPR

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