On Wednesday, November 12, 6 authors will gather at Indy Reads Books as part of The Downtown Writers Jam, Vol. 2 hosted by The Geeky Press. We’re currently curating those authors, and taking recommendations from friends, colleagues, and other people involved in the Indiana writing scene. Don’t wait to be nominated, though. You can submit your work for consideration.

Meanwhile, we wanted to introduce you to our second brave newbie: Sara Nahrwold.

Nahrwold photoSara Nahrwold is a second-year master student at Ball State University, where she studies journalism. She also earned her undergraduate at Ball State in journalism, telecommunications, and history.

As part of her graduate school requirements, Sara is working on a nonfiction literary journalism piece about a student veteran’s readjustment period following deployment. This is her first extensive long-form journalism work, which is the direction she wants her career to go.

She first fell in love with writing in first grade when she participated in Young Authors Day, an opportunity for young authors to write and draw their own original work and then read it to fellow students. Since then, writing has become a passion that has turned into a career pursuit. She has always wanted to share other people’s stories, a vocation she believes leads to the improvement of communities and societies. She wants to make an impact and she believes this will be best done through the written word.

Her writing background has ranged from newspaper to magazine to online in a range of topics such as student government elections in college, poverty in the community and features on military cadets. Her story she will be sharing as part of the Jam will be her first piece of personal writing.

After she graduates in May 2015 she hopes to find work with a city magazine or a military publication.

You can read more about Sara at her About.me page or follow her on Twitter.

At The Downtown Writers Jam

What’s the name of the piece from which your DWJ story comes? The story is currently untitled but is a memoir that is part of The Invictus Writers project.

What was the question or idea that sparked that original piece? I had never given much thought to writing about myself. With my journalism background, I’m always writing about other people. But one day in a coffee shop, my professor who is in charge of The Invictus Project, asked a simple question: When was the moment everything changed?

I knew exactly when that moment was, the moment when I decided to try not to eat that spiraled me into depression, which shaped my actions and feelings of who I am today. Putting it behind me was easy for so long. But then Invictus happened and I knew I had to write about this time in my life so maybe others could understand as well as myself.

Where can people find or buy your work? You can find her Invictus blogs at The Geeky Press

What should the audience expect from your storytelling at the Downtown Writers Jam? That what you do doesn’t only impact your life, but others around you in ways you may never have realized. This is my story about self-abuse, body image, and depression. But it’s not just my story. That’s what I want the audience to take away from hearing a memoir out loud.

Get to Reading

Best book or long-form writing we should read, but probably haven’t? And why? A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider, by Ishmael Beah. I was required to read this prior to starting my freshmen year at Ball State. It’s a story about Beah’s time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone, recounting the brainwashing he endured as well as the guns and drugs that were a constant in the young teenager’s life.

It’s a story of survival and overcoming harsh life circumstances. Although my Invictus story in nowhere near the emotional magnitude of this book, it has inspired me to work on my own memoir because I believe sharing stories like mine and Beah’s enable better writing and better writers.

I dare say writing about himself was probably the most difficult writing Beah has ever done, as it will be for me. Reading other great memoir work is not only helpful in learning the craft, but also it is inspiring.

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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