Interview: Alexandra Franzen

Alexandra Franzen wants to live in a world where emails are short, love letters are brave and every ‘thank you’ note is scribbled by hand.

Her lessons on life, love, work and writing are enough to inspire anyone. Alexandra’s simple but extremely effective tips on creativity, productivity, writing and even a blogger’s everyday struggles of writers block will astound you. These tips and lessons have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Huffington Post and many other radio programs around the area. With her huge heart, Alexandra Franzen wants nothing more then to help others become better people, and better writers. Her books – 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome and Our Q+A A Day: A 3-Year Journal For 2 People have inspired thousands of people to do the simple things, such as say ‘thank you’ more often. Her blog posts, such as one titled 88 pieces of fill-in-the-blank blog inspiration are so very creative and definitely the best place to go to discover your next blog ideas. Alexandra writes her blog posts and books to help others to communicate, understand and get to the point with their writing all while doing it with love. Here is what she had to say in our recent interview:

    C: Where did the idea of starting a blog come from and how did you begin? Was it something that you thought of overnight or was there a process behind it all?

    A: In my early twenties – while working at a radio station – part of my job was to write (and sometimes, edit) little snippets of language for the DJ’s and hosts to read. Messages from sponsors, announcements about upcoming concerts, things like that. Pretty simple stuff, but those little 15-second snippets of language had to go through (literally) three levels of ‘approval’ before they ever made it onto the airwaves! I understood the reasons behind the process, but at times, it frustrated me. I was craving a space where I could write freely – no need to acquire multiple people’s approval. Just me, my ideas, my words, and a big PUBLISH button. My current blog was born out of that simple desire:
    To write freely about topics that interest me. With no limitations.

    C: What do you hope to achieve with your blog, and what do you want your readers to get out of it?

    A: Over the years, my blog has evolved from a more ‘personal’ place (muffin recipes, outfit recaps, TV show reviews and whatnot) into a more focused and purposeful place. These days, it’s become a destination for writers, artists, entrepreneurs and other creative souls who want to make the world a better place, but need a dose of motivation, some writing tips, or just a bit of love and encouragement to keep marching. The greatest ‘achievement’ for me, right now, is when somebody writes to me and says: “Reading your blog made _________ feel so much simpler. I can do this! Or, even better: “Reading your blog made me feel like I matter, and my dream is possible.”

    C: What is the key to building such a strong blog with plenty of readers?

    A: Be helpful. Be humble. Be generous with your ideas.
    That is all.

    C: What is your writing process like and for you, how does a small idea turn into a complete blog post?

    A: My process is pretty simple:
    I get an idea in my head (usually, it’s a story that contains some kind of ‘lesson’ or ‘reminder.’ And it’s usually inspired bu something I’ve seen, or experienced, or a recent conversation I’ve had). Then I decide, “OK, what IS the lesson here, exactly? What do I want people to remember after reading this piece?” Then I start writing the piece, being extra-super-careful to make sure that the ‘lesson’ is extremely clear and obvious. So obvious, a six year old could understand it. Then I look at the piece. Then I make it even simpler. Then I publish it. The end.

    C: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in life so far?

    A: Helping people makes you feel proud of yourself. Feeling proud of yourself makes you want to keep helping. This is a beautiful thing.

    C: Who is your inspiration and/or idol and why?

    A: The children’s TV host, Fred Rogers. Because he fully embodies the “big lesson” that I just described. Plus, he has awesome cardigan sweaters.

Visit Alexandra’s website here:http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/
Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused.

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