Today I’m super excited to share with you an interview with writer, consultant, entrepreneur, and overall amazing human Alexandra Franzen. Her writing has been featured on websites like Time, Forbes, and Newsweek, and she’s been mentioned in places like The New York Times Small Business Blog, The Atlantic, and Inc.
I’ve been following her for awhile. She brings such a refreshing perspective to the online space. What I love so much about her work is that no matter what she’s writing about, you can always feel her heart. Her positivity, enthusiasm, and creative aliveness is contagious.
If you’re not following her already, head to her blog and sign up for her newsletter. She also has a book coming out, that I can’t wait for. It’s a book about how to deal with discouraging situations in your career, and how to build more resilience and keep marching towards your goals. The book has been called “uplifting and encouraging” and “your new best friend on a bad day.” It’s available for pre-order now.
Without further ado, I’ll pass the torch to Alex.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, what you do and where we can find you and your work.
Hi there, Words Electric readers! My name is Alexandra. Most people call me Alex. You can find me online at AlexandraFranzen.com.
I’m a writer based in Portland, Oregon. I’ve written a couple of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I write articles, I have a newsletter, and I teach writing classes and retreats.
Also, I work with clients. Typically, a client will hire me when they have a “big project” they want to bring into the world—like a book, podcast, class, or speech. They hire me to help organize their ideas, to write, edit, consult, to help shape their story and make it stronger. I’ve been doing this type of work for the last eight years and I totally love it!
Tell us about your book, You’re Going to Survive. What’s the message you hope everyone takes away from reading it?
I’ve gone through several chapters in my career—working in the radio industry, working as a freelance writer and consultant, and starting a restaurant along with my partner, Brandon. There have been so many exciting victories through the years, but also some really low-points—like dealing with terrible book and restaurant reviews, and getting rejected by numerous publishers, and producing events where tickets didn’t sell as well as I’d hoped. The list goes on and on.
I wrote You’re Going to Survive to remind people that no matter what you’re dealing with in your career (or your life) right now, the pain will not last forever. You’re going to get through it. You will be OK. Also, there’s always a silver lining. Sometimes, setbacks can lead to amazing breakthroughs and unexpected opportunities. Plus, you’re going to become wiser and more compassionate because of the struggles you’ve endured.
My hope is that people will keep You’re Going to Survive on their desk or bedside table and crack it open whenever they’re having a tough day. One person told me that reading You’re Going to Survive felt like having an encouraging chat with a friend, and that made me so happy, because that’s exactly what I hope this book feels like. Like a pep talk and a hug, but in the shape of a book!
Have you had to overcome any inner demons as a writer? How did you navigate through these challenges?
Oh my gosh, where should we start? Yes. So many demons.
Early in my career, I felt really obsessed with getting more “comments” and more “fans” because I felt like nobody cared about my work. I felt invisible and unimportant. It was hard to motivate myself to write because I felt like, “Nobody is even reading… so why bother?” I struggled with these feelings for a long time.
But ultimately, I decided that if my writing helps even just one person to have a slightly better day, then it’s all worth it.
This mental shift made me feel so much more purposeful with my writing. Instead of obsessing about getting 100 “likes” or “comments,” I could relax and say to myself, “If this article makes just one person smile, or exhale, or feel a little bit better, then I’ve succeeded.” Just one person. Because impacting one person’s life is still a really big deal, you know? We forget that sometimes.
What keeps you going in the face of resistance?
Coffee. Energizing music. Encouragement from friends. Pep talks from my sweetheart, Brandon. De-stressing with yoga. And then… more coffee!
To riff on your recent blog post, “What Would You Say,” if this were your last opportunity to share your heart with an audience of writers and entrepreneurs, what would you say?
We always think we’re going to have “plenty of time.”
We think, “Oh, I can write my novel next summer.” Or, “I will call my mom tomorrow.”
But life is brief, erratic, and chaotic. People die unexpectedly. Circumstances can change in a heartbeat. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.
So, please don’t wait. Whatever you want to write, say, or create… do it now.
What’s filling you with life and inspiration right now?
Right now, I am deeply inspired by artists like David Blaine, the magician, and Kai Greene, the athlete and artist, and my friend Nicole Antoinette, who recently completed an 800-mile solo-hike through the wilderness—she’s so disciplined and so brave! And I’m inspired by anyone who says, “I have a goal and I’m pursuing it now, not later, right now.”
More about Alex:
Alexandra has been a self-employed writer for about 8 years. She has written several books, including two non-fiction books and two novels. She leads writing classes and retreats, and she’s taught in 18 different cities around the world. She runs an online writing class. She also works 1-on-1 with clients to help them complete all kinds of exciting projects—from books to podcasts to TEDx talks, and beyond. You can find all of Alexandra’s current projects at: AlexandraFranzen.com.
Love Alex’s encouragement and words? Here are the links to check out her book: