My heart feels a little less broken today after seeing all the glimmers of hope filling my Facebook feed over the weekend from people attending the Women’s March! So, I thought it would be a good time to keep the momentum going with a new installment in our Interviews With Women Writers series. I’ve been impressed with Ana Gotter from the moment I first met her. The Orlando-based writer specializes in business writing and content marketing, and we chatted about all things writing, like the most rewarding parts and the impact of technology! Here’s Ana’s story…
Name: Ana Gotter
Where are you from: Orlando, Florida
3 words to describe me: Enthusiastic. Tenacious. Grateful.
Website/Blog: Ana Gotter
Tell me a bit about yourself…what do you do, what are your hobbies, etc.?
I’m a full-time professional writer based in Orlando, Florida. I specialize in business writing, content marketing and ghostwriting, but I like to do a little bit of everything — it keeps things challenging and interesting! Both professionally and in my personal time, I love writing creative nonfiction, and my favorite non-writing hobbies are cooking, playing with dogs and kickboxing — all of which are used to de-stress me after the writing is done!).
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Was it always something you wanted to do?
I always really loved writing. When we learned how to write five-paragraph essays in third grade, I went home and asked my mom to come up with more prompts so I could practice more because I thought they were so much fun. I wrote my first “book” (which was about a princess and clocked in at 40 pages) when I was 12. I’ve always loved it and made the decision to study writing the year before I went to college. I’d say it was a good choice!
What writers/books did you admire growing up?
When I was really young, I was a huge fan of J.K. Rowling and Sarah Dessen (still fans, by the way). They both wrote really relatable, believable and interesting characters that you got emotionally attached to. In middle school and high school, I loved Proust (Swann’s Way) and Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns) for largely the same reasons!
What is most rewarding for you as a writer?
The most rewarding thing is being able to use my skill set to help people. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Whether I’m writing a personal essay someone can relate to or I’m using my content marketing to help a small business or nonprofit reach their goals, I’m always overwhelmed and humbled by the fact that we can truly make an impact with just words. Making a difference is so important to me, so this is huge.
What issues do you think women face as writers?
I’m sure this is true in almost every industry there is, but there’s definitely an issue with pay equality. This isn’t true for all (or even most) of my clients, but I’ve had instances where it’s clear that clients are willing to pay men more for the same work. I’ve also had an issue with harassment, both from readers and clients. I’ve had to drop clients that were extremely inappropriate, and I think the fact that I look particularly young doesn’t help how condescending people can be towards me.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were just starting out?
Writing feels extremely personal, but when you’re a freelance writer, it is a business, even if it’s personal, too. That means you need to have contracts for everything, you should always ask for pay and if six different editors have turned down your masterpiece of an essay, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the essay itself — it just means that those exact pubs didn’t need it at that exact moment.
What would you tell aspiring writers today?
I would tell aspiring writers to just keep writing. That’s the best advice I was ever given, and I’ll happily repeat it. I also think finding a truly supportive community of talented writers and a mentor is crucial. I was fortunate enough to have gone to an incredible writing program at FSU, and I got to workshop pieces with talented groups of students and got one-on-one feedback from truly incredible professors. I’m still in touch with most of those professors today. You want someone who will be honest and supportive at the same time, and who will push you to be the best you can be; if you’re open to criticism and learning, you can go far.
How do you think advances in technology have changed the profession, either good or bad?
I think advances in technology have been incredible in the writing industry. While we’ve seen some big name sites go down in the past year — breaking all of our hearts — technology today has made writing, particularly freelance writing, more possible than ever. I have tools and apps for everything I need to run my business, including tools to streamline communication with the people that I hire, project management tools to collaborate with clients and invoicing software. We also have tools like HARO to find sources, and social media has made it easier than ever to forge relationships with other writers and editors, so we can all strengthen our craft.
Thank you for being so inspiring, Ana! It’s exactly what we all need right now! Be sure to follow Ana on Twitter! I’d love to keep this series going, so feel free to email me at email@example.com with ideas or if you’d like to be interviewed! We women have to stick together, right?!?!? xoxo