We have a history of being excluded, which I think makes sharing our perspectives extra important. Society is greatly enriched when marginalized groups use their voices.
For my writing, I work best in my room at my desktop computer. I keep my desk free of clutter and I always have a notebook open while I’m typing. I have an old-fashioned style letter board on my desk where I display quotes about creativity.
For my photography, I am endlessly inspired by places in New Jersey–my state is full of great spots to shoot. I find myself frequently drawn to bodies of water and returning to coastlines again and again to take pictures.
I like it to be quiet. I’m pretty good at focusing and tuning out background noise, but I’ve never liked to write with a TV on or with music playing.
I have a very vivid memory of being pretty young and sitting on the bleachers at one of my mom’s softball games with a spiral notebook. I was writing a story and using stickers to illustrate it.
Just get started.
I have a full time day job, so it isn’t always easy to carve out time for creativity, but it’s really important to me so I do it. I write, in some form, every day, even if it’s just a few paragraphs scribbled in a notebook. Each week, I always leave at least one guilt-free evening open (no going to the gym, no dinner with friends, no plans of any kind). That’s my day to park myself in a chair for a few hours and really focus on writing.
I always have my phone with me, which means I always have a camera. I often find myself pulling over to take pictures or taking small detours to visit parks and historic sites. I also love to combine photography with exercise and go on a hike or walk on the boardwalk while keeping my eye out for interesting potential pictures.
I think the reverse of this question applies to me more: how does my work affect my mental health? Writing in particular is, I think, crucial to my survival. I know that sounds dramatic but I really do need to write about the difficult things that have happened to me in order to work through them.
When I write about loss or pain or the generally hard parts of life, I really do hope that my work will someday help someone with something they’re going through.