Emma At Work
Talk to us about your work with Glamour magazine – what’s it like being their in house zodiac expert?
I’ve always loved a good horoscope so writing them for Glamour is a bit of a dream come true. I’m forever fascinated by the stars so there’s nothing more pleasing than sitting down to a day of writing about them. They say do what you love and it won’t feel like work… well, this is definitely it for me!
Who are some of your favourite writers?
Oh, so many! My number one is Jeffrey Eugenides who wrote The Virgin Suicides (I gave my eldest the middle name ‘Lux’ after the character Lux Lisbon). I also love Gwendoline Riley, Emma Cline, Kiley Reid, Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith and F Scott Fitzgerald. Non fiction… I absolutely love Clover Stroud’s writing. I love a page-turning memoir… I read Busy Phillips This Will Only Hurt A Little in a day, Candice Brathwaite’s I Am Not Your Baby Mother in just under two and am currently storming through Tori Amos’s Resistance. There’s so much power in stories!
Can you talk to us about your writing process? Is there a specific way you start when beginning your work?
Writing is almost like a magical process for me. Getting started is the hard bit – I can stare into space for hours – but once I do, it’s so fluid and fast it feels a bit like the words are being channeled straight through my fingers on to the keyboard. Hard to explain. Weird but true!
What are your biggest difficulties when it comes to writing, and how do you overcome these?
Procrastination every time. I’ve had to come to see it as part of the process or I’d drive myself mad with frustration. I don’t force myself to sit in front of a computer anymore if I’m not feeling it… I have my best ideas on long walks or in the bath or just as I’m falling asleep anyway!
What advice would you give marketers or entrepreneurs for making sure their copy is as effective and engaging as possible?
Write it as though you’re explaining it to a friend and use the same kind of language. Don’t use a big word when a simpler one will do. Ditch the exclamation marks and adverbs! Remember that comprehension is key… it doesn’t matter how beautifully put something is if no one understands what you’re actually going on about!
Emma After Hours
What key things got you to where you are today?
Great female friends who’ve always got your back is probably the main one for me. I grew up in a trio of sisters and ended up living with a group of eight girls at university in Liverpool. Oh the doubters! Everyone was convinced we’d all hate each other by Christmas… but we’re still super close friends to this day. Knowing they’re behind me every step of the way (successes, failures, everything in between) is pretty much all I need to keep going. I am a big believer in the sisterhood.
Do you have any health, beauty or wellness rituals that keep you feeling nourished?
Yoga, yoga and more yoga. I’ve been practising since I was 18 and I can honestly say it’s kept me sane.. I’d say less is more is my general health, wellness and beauty philosophy. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve been vegetarian since I was 11 years old and try to be as conscious as possible in my choices.
What are your tips for juggling work and family?
I have two young daughters so I know first hand that this is a tough one. I try to separate the two as much as possible (tricky when you work from home as a writer!). I rarely work at weekends and when I am with my children I do everything I can to be truly present. It’s a massive cliché but the days are long and the years are fast. There’s nothing work related that’s more important than my family!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My husband once advised me to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t do… I’d just had my second child, recently gone freelance as a journalist and found myself wanting to say ‘Yes’ to every assignment that appeared in my inbox. But at that time in my life there was no way I could hop on Eurostar to interview a shoe designer with 24 hours notice. I had to quickly learn to say ‘No’ and just let some stuff go.
What outfits and styles make you feel the best day to day?
In my ideal world, I would forever be barefoot and wearing some sort of floaty kaftan on a sun-drenched beach. Bikini underneath for sea swimming obvs. I’m not sure I’ve factored work into this fantasy but I’m pretty sure I’d write better in a kaftan too.