Students in our older cohorts had a fantastic opportunity to ask their questions about writing to a published author, Maria Ingrande Mora, who had just celebrated the publication of her newest novel The Immeasurable Depth of You. Her perspective is particularly valuable because, outside of her two published novels, she also uses writing every day in her day-job as a content director for a technology firm. Here are a few takeaways from our hour with Ms. Mora:
- Communication is among the most valuable skills to employers. She shared that, as a person in charge of hiring people, if the email or cover letter doesn’t clearly communicate purpose or ideas, then they are less likely to be hired, even if they have the experience the position requires. It is important to be able to work with others, and efficient and effective communication with a team is key to successful collaboration.
- Finding your voice: it is a journey, not a destination. Voice is just another word for perspective, and that changes based on your experiences. It is totally normal for your voice to change and evolve as you get older.
- Audience is an important consideration for every piece of writing and might have the biggest impact on the goal and organization of your writing. Not only will the audience impact how you write, but also influences your content. “It was important to me that the main character of the story struggle with sexuality and mental health, because I didn’t see that representation in stories as a kid, and I wish I had an example of someone like me so that I didn’t feel so alone.”
Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay” bill and “Stop W.O.K.E” act have enforced a renewed wave of book bans in our state, which has impacts on students, teachers, and authors. “An unintended consequence the legislatures might not have considered is the impact book bans have on authors that are trying to make a living.” Because Ms. Mora’s book is likely to be banned at or below the high school level (because the main character is queer), Barnes & Noble have refused to carry her book. But you can get your copy at Tombolo Books or online and you can also check out the audiobook version which Ms. Mora really enjoys.
One of her first pieces of advice was to “think about where words are – where do you see words in your day to day life?” and the answer is “everywhere.” Being a good writer comes down to being a good communicator, and that is a skill that every career path will require.
We try to remind our students of the power of their words (and actions) daily. We are grateful to have equally as brave and conscious people in the world like Ms. Mora who continue to use their voice to inspire others and we look forward to continuing to cheer her on.