Mackenzie Jervis

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1. What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember. In Elementary School my friends and I would sit huddled together thinking up stories about heroic girls and then reenact them. We loved the idea of creating a world of our own and escaping the monotony of a small town.

Books like Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia continued to be an escape from my boring life and I longed to create fictional words of my own. I wanted to be able to create a world that not only I, but also someone else would get lost in. That goal continues today.

2. What is your genre or writing style and has it changed over time?

My main genre is fiction. When I was younger I would write novels and I was adamant that that was all I could or would write. While I still write novels, and love them above any other form, I’ve grown to write nonfiction essays, travel articles, and a wide variety of editorial content. This transition has made me look at writing, especially writing fiction, in a completely different light. It’s broadened my outlook on the written word, and in the end made me a better writer by not being so closed-minded.

3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?

Going to school for writing has definitely helped me the most. Getting my MFA in creative writing from Spalding University has helped launch my career. I was able to hone my craft, meet with so many amazing writers to motivate and push me to be better, and create opportunities for my future.

4. How would you describe your writing practice?

My writing practice is a mix of strict structure and sporadic. As an editor, freelance writer, and, newly, the founder of a start-up, I need to have a structure in order to get anything done. But I build plenty of time in the schedule for reflection or writing that comes more from within. I make sure not to put too much stress on how much I’m writing every day, especially for a novel, because those daily deadlines can soon feel overwhelming and counterproductive to creativity.

Instead of focusing on numbers, I focus on the acts. If I’m actively engaging in my novel (or article or post), thinking, researching, writing, that’s a positive. The only time I feel I’ve lost is when I completely skip things I need to do and do not even try. It’s surprising how focusing on “doing” instead of “getting it done” has increased the amount of work I do.

5. What are you writing now?

Right now I’m working on a novel. It’s a speculative fiction piece set in the near future, dealing with an America that has continued down a dangerous path that we presently seem to be set on. I’m also writing for my website A Wandering Scribbler, as well as for the Spalding MFA Alumni Magazine.

6. Where can someone find out more about your work?

You can find me at my website mackenziejervis.com, my blog awanderingscribbler.com, or Facebook MackenziedJervis, and Instagram, awanderingscribbler.