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Meet Lauren Small of That Girl Can Write in Midtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Small.

Lauren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
That Girl Can Write was a figment of my imagination. I was working in corporate America and I hated everything.

Nothing seemed to be a good fit. My mother wanted me to be a lawyer. I was working for a PR firm, but I hated going to networking events. I started working in sales where I was told I just wasn’t a hunter. However, whenever I got home and spilled my thoughts into my MacBook everything just felt right.

So, I started blogging in 2014 as a creative outlet, however, when I needed advice on content and the how-tos I couldn’t find anyone (that I knew personally) that would be able to share advice. I asked a few bloggers via email for tips, but most often they were just too busy, or they weren’t familiar with what appealed to black and brown girls.

After about a year, my best friend suggested going back to school. I enrolled in Savannah College of Art & Design in their writing program, and that’s when I discovered the hard truth. I wasn’t getting the advice I was seeking, because black women writing copy and/or publishing are rare. I wanted to change that.

I started using the hashtag #thatgirlcanwrite to form a community of women I can turn to when I need that extra bit of motivation or simply to share what I”m reading or writing. The hashtag is a gentle reminder that despite being a woman or African American, I can write too.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is this even a question? Of course not. That Girl Can Write is a free online resource, which means I still have a 9-5 to keep the lights on and my dog fed, but I also have to come home and put in the extra hours to make sure That Girl Can Write is running and accessible. After a full work day, I’m at home looking for new writers, bloggers, and answering emails.

Another challenge is being accepted as a black copywriter. I’ve had hundreds of phone interviews, and I’ve sent hundreds of writing samples just to get to the face-to-face interview and told: “You’re not the right fit for the office” by a male that has only worked in the newspaper industry for the past 50 years. It’s nerve-wracking, but I refuse to give up.

Please tell us about That Girl Can Write.
That Girl Can Write LLC is a free online platform and resource that is a safe space for women writers of colors to showcase their work, ask for feedback, and/ or get tips on writing and publishing. There is still so far for That Girl Can Write to go, but I’m proud that it’s more than just a hashtag, its a community.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My parents has an attic space (that was later converted into an office), but I remember sitting in that hot attic reading and writing until my heart was content. I didn’t care that it was small and stuffy, it was my place to be free, and unbothered.

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