Like so many of the people on our team, writing came naturally to Tawni and she continues to work on it daily, no matter the medium. All we hope to do is channel and share her writing skill with the clients and publishers who need it. So without further ado, here’s Tawni!
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. My mom has given me my “baby box” with all my report cards and things I wrote in my youth. Most of the stories were about a young girl having adventures with her magical animal friends, which is still hilariously, humiliatingly accurate if you know me. (I love animals. The first thing I would do upon winning the lottery would be to buy land and open a no-kill animal shelter.) The report cards say things like: “Tawni daydreams in class too much.” Because I did.
My enjoyment of other people’s writing got me started writing, as I was one of those constantly-reading kids who lived for the weekly trip to the library for fresh books. To this day, I am never without a stack of library books next to my bed, and I keep a Kindle loaded with books in my purse at all times. I am obsessed with anything fiction, and any genre of fiction works for me, as long as I can lose myself in the story and like the main character. I’m not a book snob in any way; if it’s fiction, I’ll give it a try.
What in your background/daily life/interests helps to inform your writing and make you good at what you do?
Well, my insecurities and neuroses rarely allow me to feel good at what I do, but I think that’s a pretty typical writer thing, right? (“Right?” she insecurely and neurotically asked again.)
As far as how my background might help: I have been on my own in the world financially since I was 16, so I’ve worked nearly every job under the sun, which has given me an interesting life perspective. And I quit college one semester away from an English degree because the rock band in which I was playing guitar got a major label record deal. So maybe “most of an English degree” helps? I also read freakishly fast, which facilitates the “skimming the Internet for information and research” department.
My daily life involves the care of a really smart, hyperactive 7-year-old boy, so my writing time is kind of a “get while the gettin’s good” sort of thing. Once he’s home from school, the writing shop is closed for business, because I didn’t get one of those easy, low-maintenance kids; I got the one who never stops moving that you have to watch constantly in case he breaks a bone or blows something up. I’d like to say something philosophical about that, like how he’s teaching me about patience, love, and blah, blah, blah, but what I’ll probably do instead is go wash down another Xanax with a cup of coffee.
What do you consider your writing specialty (blog topics, other media, other types of content– anything you write)?
I am one of those health-nerds who starts every day with a kale, spinach and flaxseed protein shake, lifts weights at the gym, does cardio, yoga, believes in the power of vegetables, and all that other hippie-dippie stuff my friends with type 2 diabetes like to mock me about, so I really enjoy writing for the health and fitness clients.
I grew up on a farm, have a large backyard garden, and do all my own landscaping, so I also like writing about plants and gardening.
As a homeowner, I like the home improvement-type client articles, too. Example: I found myself recently researching the importance of adding guttering to my home both for an article andbecause my husband and I were considering having it added to our house. I totally convinced myself. We had guttering installed. See? Effective article. Haha.
I’m also working on two books, because as I mentioned above, fiction is my One True Love. But I hate to tell people I’m “working on books” because over half of the population claims to be “working on a book” at some point or another, and makes me feel like a self-loathing-filled douchebag to say it out loud. So I apologize for telling you that.
What do you do to get your creative juices flowing?
In the same way that hearing an amazing song makes me want to grab my guitar and write an equally amazing song, reading something by a great writer motivates me, inspires me creatively, and makes me want to try harder to write well.
Also: Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
What do you think makes a really good article (a specific example would be great)?
When people ask me what kind of music I like, I answer, “Good music,” because I appreciate anything well-done and heartfelt, and I feel the same way about writing. If it comes from the heart, no matter what your form of art, I will at the very least respect what you do, even if it’s not my style. Just mean what you say, whatever you decide to say. Nobody likes a phony.
What I think makes a really good article is pretty much the opposite of how I tend to write. I know. It sucks, right? Let me explain: My typical writer modus operandi is to write 800 words for a 500+ word assignment… and then remove 200 words of unnecessary adjectives and redundancies. I often spend more time “editing down” an article than I spent originally writing the darned thing. So what I admire most in an article is the ability to relay information in a concise manner. Because I dream of being a succinct writer someday. She babbled.
A specific example of a good article would be anything written by my friend and highly-published Content BLVD writer, Chris Wallace. 28 articles published in a week? Holy crap. I give up. That dude’s a writing machine.
What do you like about writing for Content BLVD?
The best thing about writing for Content BLVD is that I get to do something I normally do out of curiosity—research different and interesting topics and products on the Internet—and then get paid to write about them, which is something I enjoy doing. It’s a total win-win.
I’m also a psychiatrist-diagnosed agoraphobic, with generalized anxiety and panic disorder, which sounds like I crouch nervously behind different furniture in my house all day wearing a tinfoil hat while hoarding cats, but really just means that I’m nervous and shy around strangers, and in crowds, and am completely socially awkward. Honestly, if it weren’t for alcohol, I wouldn’t have a husband or child right now. (Thank you, alcohol.)
In short: If I go out in public, I spend most of my interpersonal interactions thinking to myself, “WHY did you just say that? Why are you so WEIRD? Please stop talking. You’re scaring them. Stop talking now. You’re making it worse. OH MY GOD, YOU SHOULD NOT TALK TO ANYONE EVER.”
So a writing job from home is an absolutely perfect fit for me. I’m much better in print.