Associate Editor Jennifer Snyder was one of our first contributors. Equal parts freelance writer and consummate professional, we were immediately impressed by her beyond-her-years wisdom and quickly knew she would make the perfect fit for our growing team. Her fervent energy and passion for all things creative is not only inspiring, it is infectious! Today she shares a bit about her many interests, talents and how hearing "no" has actually benefited her career.
We know you best as a writer (and insanely organized taskmaster), but you have myriad creative interests. If money was no object and you had to choose one path, which would you pursue?
Oh man… this is such a tough question! If money (and, let’s face it—time) were no object, I think I’d load up my husband and pups in a car (or an Airstream, since we’re dreaming here!) and travel around interviewing and photographing creative people. I absolutely love hearing people’s stories—what gets them going and what inspires them in their lives.
As a writer, you cover various topics from travel to entrepreneurship to health and wellness; do you have a favorite?
I’m not sure I can really pick a favorite. I feel like we all have multiple passions and I can’t help sharing mine as often as possible. I figure if sharing what I know can help others enjoy life a little more, then I’m on the right path. I will say that travel is probably my first love, though. I’m not sure that experiencing new-to-me adventures and sharing those stories will ever get old.
What are three tips you can offer to someone who wants to also pursue a freelance career as a writer?
Practice patience and persistence. It can take a long time to land that dream gig or client and it’s so easy to get discouraged. There are plenty of publications I continue to pitch even though they have yet to hire me. Who knows, those publications may never want what I have to offer, but I’d be missing out on so much if I didn’t at least try.
Embrace the multimedia nature of the industry. My papa was a newspaper man (he helped bring color printing to the Sacramento Union) and I’ve always had a deep love of print—books, magazines, newspapers, etc. That said, I’ve come to appreciate the richness of the online realm. We have numerous ways to share stories—video, audio, illustration, animation—and they’re all fairly accessible. It’s amazing what I’ve learned through venues like Skillshare and even YouTube videos!
Get outside of your comfort zone. I realize this is a bit of a stock answer, but I think it’s important to take on projects that might push your limits or the boundaries of your knowledge base. I find that some of the projects I’m hesitant to take on end up being the most rewarding.
This profession can come with its fair share of exposure and vulnerability: do you think it’s necessary to have a thick skin? Have you developed this skill for yourself - if yes, how?
Yes! That’s a very good point. In line with my first tip above, I think patience and persistence can help. I’m incredibly sensitive to rejection and I’ve had to realize that it’s not personal. When you write from the heart and a magazine or online publication comes back with “thanks, but no thanks,” it’s easy to internalize that. I have to remind myself constantly that the word ‘no’ isn’t always the end of the line (more on that here). It can mean that a manuscript or idea isn’t right for a certain volume or that perhaps a different angle might be better for the publication. I think turning ‘no’ into a challenge to get creative is the only way I’ve moved forward as a freelance writer. And I still have so much more to learn!
You recently started broadcasting a podcast called "Creating Your Own Path." What was the impetus for this project? What have you learned from the interviews and what do you hope listeners will gain?
I had actually been interviewing my creative friends and mentors on my blog for almost a year and, though the interviewees were amazing, I felt the need to make it more conversational and fluid. I love chatting with people and the thought of just sitting down and having a conversation was really appealing. I’m still learning new things about recording and broadcasting every time I interview someone. Luckily, the folks who own my coworking space here in Sacramento are super knowledgeable and helpful.
My hope is that creatives from various fields can relate to those being interviewed. Everyone has a different story to tell and we can learn from one another. I feel like the more we all share our trials and triumphs in a candid way, the better off we’ll be.
We know you love to travel! Are there any "must see" spots you can recommend to our readers? What is currently topping your list of places to visit?
Well, I definitely have a place in my heart for national and state parks. They’re such a valuable asset in our communities and it seems like they’re often overlooked. I also think the “must see” spots are different for everyone. If you’re into the outdoors, I highly recommend staying at the Moulton Cabins near the Grand Teton National Park and heading into the Tetons to explore the stunning backcountry lakes. You won’t regret it, I promise!
For those interested in visiting an up-and-coming city, I have to represent and mention my hometown of Sacramento, California. When people think of California, they might think of L.A., San Francisco or the Napa Valley, but there is so much more of this great state to see! Sacramento has an incredible arts community, our restaurant and bar scene is the best it’s ever been and there are always new festivals and events popping up all over the city. I’ve actually created an ever-evolving list of my favorite spots in the Sacramento area here.
As for what might be next on our list of places to visit—who knows! We have dreams of a grand European adventure and a trip to Australia and New Zealand is definitely up there, but we also have a long list of places to see here in the U.S. We still haven’t visited the national parks in the southwest and I think that might be happening in the near future. We’re always balancing the urge to see new places with the need to keep our community ties strong here at home, so we’ll just have to wait and see where we end up next!
We would love to know who/what you read - can you list a few of your favorite books and/or authors (along with a reason why you love them)...
Oh goodness. There are so many great authors out there—both seasoned veterans and those new on the scene. I honestly read many different genres—from mysteries and beach reads to business books and what my former English professors would deem to be “worthwhile literature.”
“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed – This story resonated with me on a deep level. While I didn’t necessarily identify with Strayed’s life trajectory, I definitely understood her urge to work through her problems out on the trail. A little time in nature goes a long way.
I recommend reading just about anything by Joan Didion. She was born and raised in Sacramento and is an incredibly talented and accomplished writer.
As far as business books go, I found “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson to be pretty fascinating. I loved that they turned some of the most core components of corporate culture upside down.
I could go on, but I won’t. There are too many wonderful reads to mention!
p.s. Have you met Clementine Food Editor, Julia Gartland?