Imagine being a child who loved writing so much that you wrote books recreationally. You consider the written word to be your only talent. Unsurprisingly, you gravitate towards journalism and decide to make it your major in college. You submit your first assignment for your introduction class; when you get it back, you a see a F written in red along with a note to speak with your professor after class. “Promise me you’ll never write for publication,” your professor says. “It’s just words, words, words with you!” This happened to writer and Be That Unicorn: Find Your Magic, Live Your Truth, and Share Your Shine author, Jenny Block.
“Which I realized later meant that I wasn’t great at what I think is probably good newspaper writing, which is very short concise sentences, keep-yourself-out-of-it, very to the point,” Block tells So Booking Cool.
Block switched her major to English and graduated as an honors student. She was advised to use her degree to become a teacher or lawyer. She chose law school. While she excelled at arguing in court, she found that she was “terrible” at writing briefs. “It wasn’t short enough; it inserted myself; it included feelings, and it was about emotions, and it was narrative. So I think she was basically saying I was too good of a writer to be a writer.”
Eventually, Block attained her masters and became a writing professor. She did not use the approach that her former professor did in the classroom. Instead, she earned the reputation of a professor who welcomed and encouraged all students including athletes to find the writer in them.
The Texas-based writer has contributed to a host of publications and websites including the Huffington Post; Playboy; Ask Men; The Daily Meal; and Dallas Morning News to name a few. She has served as an expert for Bustle; Woman’s Day; and She Knows to name a few. She also has frequently appeared on TV and radio including Nightline; The Glenn Beck Show; The Tyra Banks Show; and Fox News and Friends; and BBC Radio.
Her book Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage received coverage in Publishers Weekly; Library Journal; The New York Times; The Guardian; The Observer; and Marie Claire, to name a few.
In addition to quieting the inner critic, Block wants other writers to see the value in their craft,
“If you’re writing for you, everything else is extra. Someone else loves it, one other person loves it, great. Your mom enjoys it, terrific. Somebody wants to pay you a $1 for it, amazing. You become a New York Times bestseller, fabulous. But start with, write the words because they’re demanding to be written…only you can write what you are writing and if you deprive the world of that, those thoughts may never come out.”
Check out the interview to learn more about Block; being a “brain” writer; what determines whether she’ll explore a topic as an article or book; why she doesn’t consider herself a journalist; the heart and soul of Be That Unicorn; the Year of the Yes; and more! For more information, visit the official websites of Block and the book.