What Are You Writing?: Emily Mack

Today’s guest post is by Emily Mack! Emily is a junior English Education major and Creative Writing minor here at BSU. Although “What Are You Writing?” is no longer a regular feature on this blog, I still allow guests posts! If you are interested in doing one, shoot me an email!

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So tell me about your writing style. Which genres do you prefer to write in and why?

I used to think of myself mostly as a fiction writer, but realized last year that most of my fiction was just thinly veiled non-fiction. My boring, too-perfect characters and their experiences were just projections of who I was, or who I wanted to be. I found my home in creative non-fiction about a year ago and haven’t looked back. I love reflecting on the world, my own life, my own mind. Every time I put pen to paper, I feel like I’m going on a treasure hunt to dig deep into the complexity and beauty of the everyday. My style tends to have lots of repetition of images and words, close, rich details, and long, winding sentences. In workshop, my friends told me my work is like having the narrator hold you hand through a story, and that it has a rich, pastoral quality.

Has any of your work been published yet? When are you hoping to get published?

This summer I interned with the Indiana Writers Center youth outreach Building a Rainbow Project. In addition to getting to work with great kids and teens, one of my pieces was in the book we published with them. Other than that, I have not officially been published yet. I’ve won a few contests, but haven’t seriously pursued publication. I also keep a blog where I share my musings on education, books and writing, Christianity, friendships, and disability advocacy, although I’m not very consistent about updating it. (Read more about Emily’s experience with the Indiana Writers Center here!)

What does writing do for you? What do you get out of it? 

Writing is the only way I know to make sense of the world. It commands me to slow down, to be observant, to take a deep breath and process thoughts and experiences. It’s my megaphone for thoughts, feelings, and ideas I can’t say out loud. Words are where I find my center. Every time I write, I find out more about myself and my skills. Since being at Ball State, writing has brought me a sweet community. There are several of us creative writing majors or minors who became close through CNF classes. When you’re writing about yourself, you get to know each other on a deep level very quickly! This  group knows how to play but we are also shaped by each other’s lives and art as we breathe beautiful, painful, personal essays.

What projects are you working on right now? 

I have a few plates in the air, but there’s one I’m particularly excited about. I’m expanding a piece I wrote last semester for a class about the representation of people with disabilities in Young Adult Literature. Now, under the guidance of two of my favorite professors, I’m taking a step away from the books and exploring the disconnect between what pre-service teachers need to be prepared for a diverse classroom and what they actually learn. This piece will braid together my ample experience with people with disabilities with reflection on my training thus far at Ball State. It’s still in the early stages but I’m extremely excited to see where it goes!

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