Writer Interview Series with Raquel Penzo

This is a writer interview series filled with women who have given themselves permission to be and write authentically.

Every writer faces struggles. Sometimes, these struggles center around grammar and sentence structure. At other times, it may be challenging to generate sufficient content ideas for our readers. Sometimes our biggest struggles may not even be against ideas. 

The people in our lives may not understand the tug we feel to build a writing platform. We may even feel the need to make ultimatums. Should we please our loved ones or choose to carve out our own path in life?

Raquel Penzo is a writer, editor, and literary curator in Brooklyn, New York. Raquel had to ask herself the same question. Would she pursue the path her wonderful loved ones felt was best? Would she ignore the urge to express herself through words? Find out more about Raquel’s writer journey in the interview below.

Some of my takeaways include:

“It wasn’t until I graduated from high school or college that I realized there were writers of color.” -Raquel Penzo

As an elementary-aged student, I don’t think I ever realized I didn’t see any writers who looked like me. Even though I was introduced to writers like Maya Angelou and Lorraine Hansberry in middle school, I still don’t think I understood fully that I wasn’t being exposed to more work from brown writers. There’s a saying that you can’t be what you don’t see. I agree it can be quite difficult to see yourself in a certain role if you are never exposed to it or see those who look like you in those roles. I hope more writers of color continue to write and publish their work as an encouragement to our young writers of color.

“I thought my family would be upset that I was telling these stories.” -Raquel Penzo

It’s easier to write about topics you’ve experienced first-hand. Yet, when our experiences include others, it can be tricky to write without damaging others. The truth is, we write from the view we have through our lens. That view may not be the same as others who shared our experiences, and that’s okay. I like Raquel’s suggestion about using fiction to share your personal moments. If you’re still not quite sure if you should share a specific event, you can always talk with that person first. Keep searching for a way to share your story—because it needs to be told.

“Surround yourself with avid readers.” -Raquel Penzo

I had never heard this advice before, but it resonated with me because as writers, we truly are targeting readers. We need our readers to be honest with us and tell us what they think about our work. The key is to not take criticism personally. After all, we want to continue creating content our readers crave. 

What about you? What were your takeaways from this interview? Share them below in the comments. 

Don’t forget to share this interview on social media and follow Raquel Penzo on Twitter and Instagram @TheJadedNYer and @LaPlumaYLaTinta. You can also find Raquel on Facebook at Raquel Penzo and La Pluma Y La Tinta. Keep up with her upcoming book release at RaquelPenzo.com and PlumayTinta.com

Related contentClick here to watch the other writer interviews in this series!