In this week’s Behind the Pen series I interviewed Myra Wright. Myra is a local writer, previous publisher/editor of Piedmont Parent magazine, and owner of Purple Ivy Media.
What do you love about writing?
I enjoy exploring places and people. Writing ensures I’m always engaged and learning.
How did you get into the writing world?
I majored in English and graduated from Salem College in 1995. As I considered graduate school or teaching, I saw a newspaper employment ad. The Winston-Salem Journal needed an editor for its wedding, anniversary and engagement announcements. I was hired in 1996 and held a variety of editorial/marketing positions for several years. When I left the Journal in 2007, I was managing the Niche Publications Department. I worked primarily as an editor at the Journal, but started writing a lot more when I joined Carolina Parenting, a company that owned a trio of parenting magazines including Piedmont Parent. I was the publisher/editor of Piedmont Parent for nine years. In 2016, I founded Purple Ivy Media, a communications agency that specializes in editorial services and content marketing. I’m also writing for several publications now. Through my work with Purple Ivy, I’m writing a lot more than ever before.
What top 2 challenges do you find in writing?
Work-life balance can be an issue. Working from home can be challenging without defined work hours. As a mom to three kids, I enjoy tremendous flexibility in being self-employed. I can drive the kids to piano lessons, attend afternoon track meets or do laundry in the middle of the day. However, that flexibility means I must sometimes set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. to work on an important deadline before the kids wake up or spend a Saturday afternoon in front of my laptop. The line between home life and work is often blurred, but I much prefer this arrangement to working in an office.
Another challenge is time management. My writing is much better when I’m not rushed and when I haven’t procrastinated. It’s hard to avoid lazy writing when an article is due in an hour.
Where do you find inspiration for your article/blog ideas?
Inspiration typically comes from my own kids when I’m writing about parenting. I have one child in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school, so they give me a lot of material!
In my travel writing, I’m looking for unique destinations and attractions that aren’t as well-known.
What is… 1. The most challenging piece you’ve written & why and 2. Your favorite piece you’ve written & why?
The most challenging piece I’ve written was when I shared my daughter’s story of being born with a cleft lip and palate. It was personal.
My favorite piece? That’s hard, but I really enjoyed the research when I wrote 15 Must-Visit Small Towns in North Carolina. I’ve lived here all my life and learned so much about our state. It was a fun piece to put together.
Do you have any tips to writers on conducting interviews and/or drafting interview questions?
I research and prepare questions ahead of time, but sometimes it’s necessary to be flexible and see where the interview takes you. My advice to writers is to do the research ahead of time, but relax and enjoy the process.
If you could give an upcoming writer, one piece of advice what would it be?
The best piece of advice I recently received was from a fellow writer. I was worried about walking away from a steady, full-time job to start Purple Ivy Media. She said, “Sometimes, you just have to take the plunge.” And as scary as that is — with three kids and a mortgage — she was right. So far, being self-employed is the best career decision I’ve ever made.
Where can people go to see more of your work (i.e. blog link or online portfolio)?
I recently started a new online portfolio at https://myrawright.contently.com/