Episode 13: Finding Your Voice with Memoirist + Essayist Patia Braithwaite
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Patia Braithwaite is a memorist + essayist based in Harlem, NYC currently working on her book based on dating around the world on Tinder. In this conversation Patia shares her tips on getting featured as a writer on the inter-webs and her process for coming up with her pitches. She talks about how to keep the creativity flowing and how writing from life has been key to her success. She ponders the challenges of being women of color occupying space as creatives and entrepreneurs and shares that T-Boz is her TLC archetype. It was an insightful and fun conversation filled with tid bits for anyone who needs to write as part of their work or life, as well as anyone looking to get started.
- Does writing flow for anyone? Patia says even as a professional writer, “writing and reading is like breathing… the thought process is organic, the urge is organic, but the craft is work.”
- She says being creative about where or how she writes – recently going to central park because she feels relaxed in nature – is key to keep the words and ideas flowing. Where do the words flow most easily? Depends on the time and mood.
- Patia shares her thoughts that, “being a professional writer can taint the passion so finding ways to go back to that space is important.” As is, “being flexible for the process.”
- In sharing her advice on how to get articles or become a featured writer on a news site or blog Patia says, “take a chance, email an editor and follow up! That is the lesson of my life! If you don’t hear back it doesn’t mean your idea is crappy. It means editors are busy.”
- What are the logistics? Full length pieces or concepts? She emails an editor with a concept.
- How does she come with the ideas for her concepts? Life. Whatever is going on in Patia’s life influences what she writes.
- In Patia’s word, “People want realness – write what is real.”
- “I trust the writing. If I am authentic in the writing it will show up in the writing. The challenge is that once it’s out there your nuanced experiences can be flattened by some guy, some troll.”
- In launching her blog Men, Myself and God - when she started, she wasn’t calling herself a writer. She was going through a hard time, not trusting herself and used the platform to help
- As a child Patia loved playing with magnetic refrigerator letter tiles and make up stories. She always loved storytelling and used storytelling as a way to entertain herself as a shy girl with a stutter.
- Jes also shares how her art was a theme throughout her childhood.
- Patia gives us the scoop on the novel she is writing about dating on Tinder around the world which appeared to her as an idea for a book after coming home and sharing funny dating stories with her brother and sister in law she was staying with for two months in Brazil. Things to look forward to in the read:
- She went on a ‘Tinder Honeymoon’ - a 3 day date in Brazil
- The guy who FB stalked her after she swiped left and ended up being crazy cool!
- How her tastes changed and she expanded her horizons after dating onTinder abroad. She ditched the “list” and met some awesome people.
- Black Sheep is going to help launch the book with a book launch party in the new year!
- We chat about online dating – Nicole never has never done it, Jes did it 2x one time sucked the other she made a lifelong friend.
- Writing is very powerful. Thinking through an idea is powerful. Can be very vulnerable.
- Call for writers - any writers in the Black Sheep Podcast community – share with us who is telling our stories, you or someone whose content you love? Share with us @liveblacksheep so we can feature them
- Patia poses a great question– “ Do you think being a woman of color in occupying space, giving yourself the right to tell your story, to be creative poses an added challenge?” The answer, yes and we had a rich conversation exploring why.
- We talked about being a black woman pitching her book and how that does or does not affect her process or her writing. Her book is not just a book about a woman traveling and dating abroad. She is a black woman traveling abroad. So even if it is not a book about identity, when it is written by a black woman, it is embedded in there.
- Knowing your audience is key when pitching for blogs and news sites but when writing a book Patia writes as if she was talking to her best friend to keep herself real.
- Our Black Sheep News! Nicole is pregnant and as she had a rough August with morning sickness and fatigue as such our Sunday dispatch - Living Black Sheep stopped but she will resume writing in part because she feels better but also due to the inspiration from this interview. Sign up @ www.livingblacksheep.com
Want to connect with Patia?
- Twitter: @pdotbrathw8
- Visit her @ www.MenMyselfandGod.com
- Email her with any questions!
- Some of her recent work: