The battle proved long but victorious.
She Writes Press came up with a challenge for writers at the end of April and I thought, ‘why not.’ This seemed to be an easy way to post on social media and see what other people experienced in their writing life.
Scanning my feed on Instagram is quick because I don’t follow a bunch of people, after weeding out those men who post 101 selfie pics. Some guys use Instagram and FaceBook like online dating sites. Not interested.
But back to the topic and the 31-Day Challenge:
The questions lent themselves to introspection, figuring out how to show an answer, and exposing some of the more challenging parts of the writing life.
Here are a few of my Instagram responses.
Share the reason you write:
Growing up, I didn’t read any books with Latina characters who reflected my experiences until I was in college. Those books were few and far between, written mostly by men.
So when I began recording my words (about ten years ago), I found myself writing about loss, abandonment, and other challenges encountered by women and girls to amplify their strength and resilience. In doing so, I increased my own.
Share a photo of your writing space:
My grand-kitty Heidi Ho lets me know when she thinks I’m staying too long at my laptop. She has a routine: jump on my chair, leap to my desk, and if I’m still typing she wedges herself behind my computer where she glares and meows until I shut it and pay attention to her; which means taking her outside in the garden to stalk lizards.
She helps me balance my writing day.
What is the first/worse job you’ve ever had:
My first job and my worse job involve strawberries. I grew up in and live in the strawberry capital of the nation. Mom made us work in the strawberry fields, para que sepas (so you’ll know). We had accompanied her on weekends to pick walnuts before but picking strawberries at age 11 or 12 was harder. Walnut trees had shade. The strawberry fields went on forever, the heat blasting your back, the hot dirt. I lasted two days.
My worse job was working in the strawberry packing house on the graveyard shift the summer before college. I was not well treated by older women. As far as they were concerned, I took a job away from a mother, but that was the only decent paying two-month job I could find at seventeen.
I sorted strawberries on a conveyor belt while standing for eight hours. The cold water running through the belt splashed with each rotten or damaged strawberry I flicked into the dirty reservoir. The best fruit went to Japan, and the rest were sorted by better, good, average, and jam.
Overhead fluorescent lights beamed down, making the warehouse seem otherworldly at three in the morning. Strawberry and dirt odors lingered on my body the entire day and in my sleep.
Women writers who inspire you:
There are so many, so I listed the ones who authored the books I buy/borrow. Usually, I have three or more books written by the same author.
Share one line from your own writing:
She was sober enough to remember that liquor and men were a bad combination, but drunk enough to think she could drive.
I’m glad I took the challenge, and in the process, I found out more about my own writing life and what informs my writing.
Finding several like-minded people, who run the spectrum of age, life experience, and writing backgrounds, was a plus and illustrated how the ‘social’ in social media work.
Over on the right hand column I list my Instagram and Twitter account links if you’d like to visit my sites or follow me so I can follow you.
Thanks for reading.
3 thoughts on “How an Instagram Challenge Improved My Writing Life”
Great post, Monica. Congrats on meeting this challenge. You shared important and powerful experiences that shape you as a writer. I think I follow you on Instagram, but if not, I will.
Thank you, Michele.
Glad you took this challenge! I loved hearing more about your background and writing process.