5 Writers Lighting Up the Internet
I always tell other writers I learned how to write by reading: from novels to the newspaper, we as writers constantly consume other content and voices that fuel our own. We build our own writing quirks over time, brick on brick, as we take mental (and sometimes physical) note of what glistens on the pages.
The internet, for better or for worse, makes that consumption much, much easier. But instead of settling for overwhelm at the number of writers emerging around us, why not highlight them, celebrating the way they form and nurture us as creatives? So that’s what I’m going to do here: give you a little peek into my vault of storytellers I return to when I need to catch a quick glimpse of hope in my craft. Here are five writers who light up the internet:
I met Christy when she hired me to coach her as she prepared to release the book she’s working on, but I quickly realized I should maybe be the one hiring her. This girl is whip-smart--and I should have known, because she taught college writing (pipedream alert!). I knew she was good when I asked her what kind of sensory language she was using in her book to support the story. Let’s just say I took notes on her answer. Since then, she’s written for us at Upwrite and crushed it with an article over at Relevant. I’ll say it again: Christy writes smart because she is smart. She crafts provocative, stimulating pieces with just the right balance of style and skill.
The best writers are the ones who make you think “I wish I would have thought of that.” That’s D.L. Mayfield. I knew I loved her when I found her essay on Sufjan Stevens for The Curator, “Carrie & Lowell & Me” (still lamenting I didn’t come up with that title). I would also add this disarmingly humble article for Christianity Today to any Mayfield primer--a sparkling example of the humility that permeates her work. Author of the recently released book Assimilate or Go Home, Mayfield pens her stories with candor, inviting readers into examine where they are and where they want to be. Here’s her website.
This one’s kind of cheating, because Stephanie is an editor (rumor has it, of Wild and Free fame). Her monthly email newsletter, cleverly dubbed Slant Letter after Dickinson’s “Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant,” equips writers to find and work their angle and “write their way out of the jungle.” I’m a (slightly overzealous?) subscriber myself, and though I’m not one to spoil surprises (actually, I totally am), I will say I was both inspired by Smith’s earnest warmth and challenged by her practical how-to steps on chasing your spark. Click here to join the party. And when you find your angle, pitch us. Or maybe even Stephanie.
With the gauzy beauty of a Victorian poetess alongside (ever surprising) wit and culturally relevant candor, Bridget Park creates some of the most disarming Instagram captions I have ever read. I picture her sprawled on an oak floor in a vintage frock, weaving words together like tiny pearls on a string--slowly, carefully, always with marvel. Yes, her work is ethereal and next-level dreamy, but the way she roots transient emotions with hand-crafted (locally sourced) imagery invites readers into a whole different dimension, where, at the end, they will 110% sigh “me too.” Find her work here. And go follow her dreamy Insta.
Wiebe’s words are like the other side of a coin: fresh, glistening, and somehow at the same time both foreign and familiar. Her style--old-world, pure, devastatingly cadent--slips on to her content like a (very beautiful) glove. The “did I just read a Proverb in a new translation” feeling I get whenever I read her probably stems from her dual vocations as a psychologist and mother--her work is peppered with both pithy calls to action and deeply empathetic anecdotes. Also, hers is another painstakingly beautiful Instagram. But for the full experience, I’d recommend getting a drink and treating yourself to some soul-nourishment on her blog.
Is there a writer we should know about? Share them with us in the comments below! We’re always mining the web for voices who remind us what’s what.