Author Interview: Ashley M. Coleman
How did you become a writer?
I think I’ve been a writer since I can remember. It’s always something that has come naturally to me. I enjoyed English classes and still have the notebooks where I would handwrite short stories. That love developed further through reading. My mom would take me to the library to pick out books and later would pass onto me the books that she was reading. It was getting lost in those worlds that made me feel like maybe I could create some of my own too. The first time I was paid for something I wrote, it helped me realize that it could be something I could actually pursue as a career.
Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?
One of the biggest challenges as a writer has to be navigating rejection. As such a subjective field, you will get a lot of NOs. Being able to channel the rejection to either keep getting better or keep looking for the right opportunities takes wisdom. Ultimately, it builds humility and makes the wins in writing that much sweeter!
Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?
Carli is ambitious. That’s what I love the most about her. Also, her naivety when it comes to certain situations including the men in her life who have feelings for her. There’s an innocence in her even though she’s playing in a big girl’s world.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
I don’t have a very strict routine, but what I have come to find is that I do my best writing in the morning. Quite honestly, if it doesn’t come before about 2 pm, it’s likely not going to come. Even if I do find myself writing at night, I try to make sure to go back and edit in the morning. Sometimes I don’t mind lighting a candle, making sure my desk is really clean, and occasionally I can put on a playlist depending on what I’m working on.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
I would want to tell myself just to keep my head down and work. So much of writing is literally just writing and the great thing about it is that the more you write, the better you get. It’s such a subjective medium like I mentioned, so I would have told myself not to get so caught up in the NOs and also not to compare myself to other writers. We all have unique gifts that we bring to the table and something great about the words that we put together on a page.
Ashley M. Coleman is a writer and project manager based in Philadelphia. Navigating two professional worlds, she has worked full-time at a premier music organization for the last nine years. In addition, building a personal brand where she writes essays and personal stories revolving around identity, music, and pop culture. In June 2017, she launched an online community in“Permission to Write” that cultivates and amplifies the voices of Black writers and writers of color.