Why did you start the Tales of Downtown Blog?
I had recently moved downtown from the Westside, when I went for a walk with one of my loft neighbors on Broadway. It was 8 pm and it was getting dark. As we were walking, she said to me, “Nancy, is that a rat or a Chihuahua?” It just struck me as hilarious. And I thought living here is such an adventure and there are so many more daily things that happen—it would be a really good basis for a blog. I came up with the name Tales of Downtown (www.TalesofDowntown.com) and was absolutely shocked that the URL was available … Do you know how many downtowns there are around the world? So, that is how it began. It went live in July of this year.
How did you adapt Tales of Downtown for the stage?
The world premiere that is coming up at the Company of Angels on December 13 is a spoken word performance of my blog tales. … Basically, five actresses will be reading my blog posts. That is why I refer to it as from the “blog page to the theater stage.” It is very exciting, and many bloggers do not get a chance to see their work performed.
What was your favorite part of the process?
I am floored that this week I will be working with a director for the first time ever, and five actresses, and that I will see my words come alive. That has never happened in my life before—even though I have written hundreds of articles, blog posts, and stories. So for me the most exciting part of the process is seeing my words come alive.
How is your Tales of Downtown audience different from your The Spirited Woman blog? Are their similarities in your approach?
That is a very good question. At first I thought they were two completely different markets, but then I realized they weren’t. Many of the women who read TheSpiritedWoman.com are cultural creatives, very adventuresome in spirit, and up for things that are fun and different. Many of them are fascinated by my downtown lifestyle. I think—between you and me—that many would like to live in a loft, but due to constraints and other issues, they don’t. In a way, I live out that “Annie Oakley” side of their lives for them.
Why blog? How important is it for a writer to have a niche?
Blogging is my martini. It is a fix, if you will, for my creativity. For me, it has replaced a journal. At the end of the day, when I have finished my other work, I sit down and write my Tales of Downtown stories. They fill me will up with joy, help me relax, and I go to a place that I don’t normally go to. I write all my own posts for Tales of Downtown. I have a blogger team for The Spirited Woman—which makes me more of a publisher than a writer. In terms of having a niche—it is essential to stay focused, but I say this: when you write for yourself—write for yourself and the world will come.
What are the similarities and differences between blogging and article-writing?
When I write in a blogging style, I primarily use the words, I and you. It is more of a personal style of writing, letting the reader into my world. When I write articles, I don’t write as personally and they are more formal. I am more concerned with dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s.” In terms of the similarities, I say this: ALWAYS write in your own voice. In other words, let the reader in on your original style—and that style should appear in both types of writing.
How has your life changed since you went from freelancer to blogger?
Actually, there were years between the time I was a freelancer and becoming a blogger. In the middle, I did workshops, events, wrote a book, etc. I like being a blogger better, because it is immediate. I have a thought, write a “tale”, and hit the button, and it is up for the world to see. That is fun and exciting.
Advice for writers?
Stay true to your spirit and you can never go wrong. Writing is a passion and it comes from a passionate place. When it becomes something you dread to do, my advice is to start dancing—if you catch my drift.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
That writing was such a low-paying field. I’ve been in it for years, and the rates have gone down and not up, which is sad. It has provided me with a career of passion, but a career that has had many financial limits placed on it. Maybe, just maybe, if I realized how hard it was I would have chosen another field—but then again, a writer needs to write. So there.
Tags: Blog Company of Angels Nancy Mills Spirited Woman Spoken Word Stage Tales of Downtown