How can we use storytelling to heal when grieving? What does it mean to own your writing and find confidence in your unique writing voice? We dive into it and much more with Sarah Enni!
Sarah is the author of TELL ME EVERYTHING and her short story THE BLESSING OF LITTLE WANTS featured in the New York Times bestselling anthology, BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO HATE ME. Sarah is also the host of the podcast FIRST DRAFT where she shares meaningful conversations with other storytellers about their unique perspectives on the creative process, and to provide more transparency about the professional side of artistic endeavors.
In our conversation, we talk about vulnerability and finding comfort and strength through stories. We dig deep into Sarah’s writing process, where she draws inspiration from, the importance of humility as a writer, and tips on managing your time. And we discuss the development process of her debut novel TELL ME EVERYTHING.
Be sure to download the writing prompt that Sarah created exclusively for our Storyteller community by scrolling down below!
Books and resources
Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham
Bruning Man festival
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
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Check out these highlights:
- Sarah tells us how her imaginative childhood led her to fall in love with storytelling (5:00)
- She explains the importance of vulnerability and shares her journey to becoming an author (11:30)
- Ways reading and writing can help you get through challenging times in your life (16:00)
- How writing workshops help you stay accountable to your writing goals (27:30)
- She shares some writing strategies that help her build lively and immersive worlds (29:00)
- The importance of opening yourself up to new adventures and how Sarah’s experiences at Burning Man gives her the space to exercise imagery for her novels (32:00)
- She gives a snapshot of her debut novel Tell Me Everything and explains how the book came to fruition as an intellectual property novel with Scholastic (49:40)
- Why humility and open-heartedness is important to have as a debut author (58:15)
- Sarah also answers some of our listener questions:
- “I would love to hear how Sarah balances her writing with her podcasting and other work. As someone who also is working on multiple self-directed projects at all times, I find it overwhelming to know what to work on at any time and would love to hear how she handles it.” (1:06:25)
- “I read your story in Susan Dennard’s newsletter – as someone who’s also been through the fire, so to speak, I salute your courage. I wonder if you could tell us a bit about your process.?” (1:10:15)
- “How do you find the energy to grow both your podcast, while maintaining a novel writing practice? Both are very creative pursuits with little guaranteed return on investment.” (1:12:25)
- “Does it get confusing having so many conversations with writers and having all of their opinions and advice in your head? And what are some of the pieces of writing advice you’ve heard that have been the most helpful to you and your writing?” (1:14:52)
- “How do you make a setting come alive when you write a contemporary novel? Most of the world building advice I encounter has been for fantasies, and yours is so amazing.” (1:19:50)
“I have always found books to be a total lifesaver in really tense, traumatic moments.”
“I’m fighting against my fear of dying by writing books.”
“We, as writers, need to own our writing no matter how it’s able to be in the world.”
“I am just always hungry for conversations that go into the abstract, that go deep, that talk about ideas and philosophies and themes.”
“A lot of people get worried that someone else is writing the same book they’re writing and they’ve got to get it out there before somebody else does. I so want everyone to feel confident they are the only person that can tell the story they want to tell the way they want to tell it. There is no replacing you and the filter that you have on the world that is so unique and you have to really trust that and believe that your unique viewpoint is what’s going to stand out in your writing.”
“There’s only one me, and there’s only one way that Sarah Enni can tell a story, and that’s all that I have to do. I don’t have to write the great American novel, I have to write the great Sarah Enni novel and that’s it.”
Say “Hi” to Sarah
Check out Sarah’s Podcast “First Draft”
Learn more about “Tell Me Everything“
YOUR SECRET’S SAFE …
UNTIL IT’S NOT
Ivy is the shy artist type and keeps a low profile—so low that she’s practically invisible to everyone at Belfry High School except for her best friend, Harold. As sophomore year begins, Harold takes up a hundred activities, leaving Ivy on her own. Luckily she’s found a distraction: the new anonymous art-sharing app, VEIL.
Soon Ivy realizes that one of her classmates is the VEIL user who needs new paintbrushes … and another is the one visiting the hospital every week … and another is the one dealing with their parents’ messy divorce. While she’s too scared to put her own creations on the app, Ivy thinks of an even better way to contribute—by making gifts for the artists she’s discovered. The acts of kindness give her such a rush that, when Ivy suspects Harold is keeping a secret, she decides to go all in. Forget gifts—Ivy wants to throw Harold a major party.
But when all those good intentions thrust her into the spotlight, Ivy’s carefully curated world is thrown into chaos. Now she has to find the courage to come out of the shadows—about her art, her secrets, and her mistakes—or risk losing everything and everyone she loves the most.
Learn more about Sarah Enni: