Interview: Jo Fisher on Heartfelt Writing, Inspirational Bloggers, and Film Soundtracks

12:00 pm


Today's interview is with one of my favourite ladies online, Jo Fisher. She writes, and reviews, and shares her words with the world. She's a wonderfully kind and caring human being, and I can't wait for you to find out more about her and what she gets up to! We chatted about some of her favourite bloggers, writing to film soundtracks, and sharing your truth through your words.

Magic & Musings:
Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions, Jo! First of all, for any readers who don’t know your background, tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are today.

If you could describe your blog in three words, what would they be?

Jo Fisher:
That’s a tough one! I’d like to think my blog is creative, engaging, and relatable.

Magic & Musings:
I would have to agree with you on all three counts.
When did you first get into writing generally? Was there something that drove you to write? Did you study it formally or come across it as a hobby?

Jo Fisher:
Not to sound utterly stereotypical, but I’ve always loved to write. I read constantly throughout my childhood and basically grew up with my nose in book. I loved writing in class as a schoolgirl and ended up studying English at university for four years. Though in later life my writing wasn’t really that creative, I loved coming up with stories when I was little, and I’m still hugely passionate about fiction and telling stories! Now I like to write for my blog, but I try and do some creative writing too (the operative word being ‘try’!). I’ve dabbled in poetry, and have attended a few workshops. As they say, practice makes perfect.

I have always loved sharing ideas and inspiration and stories with people so I suppose it’s natural to want to put that into words - I think it’s also helpful to put thoughts down on paper, too. It’s therapy. I can’t imagine not writing.

Magic & Musings:
When did you first blogging and did you have to overcome any self-confidence barriers in order to get to that place where you could share your words?

Jo Fisher:
I was a student blogger while at university and loved reading other people’s blog posts as a break from my studies. When I graduated and started working full-time back in 2013 I started my first proper blog, She Wears Burgundy, which I kept up for two years before taking some time out for a number of reasons. After a year off, I decided I wanted a fresh start, and that’s where I am now!

It’s a huge confidence thing. I’ve found it incredibly challenging to try and get past that and I still struggle now; there are so many posts and pieces I haven’t published for fear of them being seen as over-sharing, self-indulgent, or just plain boring. I think writers all tend to be more confident on paper, though, regardless of whether it’s shared or kept private. As an introvert, it’s nice to have time to make sense of what’s going on in my head.

I think, though, if your need to write is great enough, you’ll find a way of getting your words out there, even if you do find yourself self-censoring a bit! I’m always so aware what I write is going online, so I really think about what I’m sharing. I’m still working on that so that it doesn’t stop me from saying what I want or need to.

Ultimately, sometimes, I just have to publish pieces without thinking about it too hard; otherwise I’d never share anything! I’m a huge overthinker and worrier, so that’s always a risk.

I still don’t consider my writing to be very good, but I plough on regardless in the hope that someone enjoys reading it - and if they don’t, at least I’ve enjoyed writing it!

Magic & Musings:
On Magic & Musings I love talking about female-identifying or non-binary artists and their work. Which writers and bloggers, if any, would you say have been influences on your work? Do you have any favourites to look at when you need a spark of inspiration?

Jo Fisher:
Oh gosh. My inspiration, blogger-wise, has totally changed since I first started in 2013. Now I really love people who share stories rather than constant product reviews. The more creative and heartfelt, the better. A big inspiration for me is Laura Jane Williams who has a blog but isn’t a ‘blogger’. Now she has two books out and her raw, beautiful words continue to move and astound me; I hope one day I can write something that inspires other people like she does.

I also love the poetry of Emily Harrison. She writes a lot, candidly, about her experiences with mental health, and her poetry is awfully funny and powerful. I saw her perform locally at a poetry slam a couple of years ago and just would love to write poetry with such an honest spark.

In terms of authors and other writers, I love the style of Marina Keegan (The Opposite of Loneliness is heartbreakingly stunning), David Nicholls, and Nick Hornby. Basically anything with dry wit, dark humour, and an unhappy ending. I like characters to be realistic and a bit unpleasant! I’d love to be able to make people laugh with my writing.

Otherwise, I love finding new pieces to read on Twitter, when people share their favourite reads. I wish people would do that more!


Magic & Musings:
Wonderful choices!
This is a question I like to ask purely because of the variety of answers I get! I’m really interested in how people work and get things done. Do you have a particular place you work or find yourself the most productive? Are there a particular set of things that need to be in place for things to get done, like a milky cup of tea or a particular album of music you listen to?

Jo Fisher:
I HAVE to be in a tidy space. If my room is a mess, I need to clean it before I can write anything at my desk. I write mostly there, with a candle burning, a cup of tea, and some film soundtracks playing, in the evening after work. One day, when I have my own place (and hopefully an office!) I’ll take great joy in decorating it myself!

My aim is to get out of that routine and try and write creatively elsewhere; I need to get into the habit of carrying a notebook with me and writing anywhere. It could do me good, I just never find the time or motivation.

Sometimes I really find a change of scenery to work wonders, so if I have a day off or a free weekend I’ll go to a local coffee shop and write there. It’s such a cliche, I know, but I love it! Nothing makes me feel more like a writer than when I’m enjoying a well-made mocha in an independent cafe, watching the world go by. There’s normally cake involved too. It’s like taking myself on a creative date!

Magic & Musings:
What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a rut creatively? Are there any books on writing and creativity you would recommend to others?

Jo Fisher:
Honestly, most of the time I just ride it out. I’ve tried forcing myself to write when I don’t feel like it, and I just get angrier and more upset, and my writing comes out all wrong and jumbled and ugly. Sometimes I won’t write anything for a week or more until I feel the physical need to get something on paper. If I want to write something, it’ll come out better. I want to get more creative with my writing though, aside from posts on my blog; I’m still working on climbing out of that rut!

I do love an inspirational book. I’m still making my way through Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic; I’ve not been reading it very quickly but it’s a book I can dip in and out of and there are some lovely ideas about creativity in there. I am reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment, and I think reading some fiction soon could get me back into the creative zone. There’s only so much life advice I can take!

Otherwise, I just read work by people I want to write like. Caitlin Moran is a good example. I’m reading Moranifesto so I can explore Moran’s short, witty, powerful way of exploring current affairs and ideas in a column-sized piece.

Magic & Musings:
I absolutely love dipping in and out of Big Magic; it always gets me out of a creative rut.
Have you ever explored working in a medium other than blogging? Is this something you would consider in the future?

Jo Fisher:
If we’re talking about other ways of writing; I really want to get into poetry more. I find I can write funny, lighthearted rhymes, like the poems Michael Rosen writes, but nothing heartfelt. That’s my next goal, I think. I would love to spend more time working on that, but it’s hard when I feel I have to be blogging all the time. In my head, I’d love to take part in a poetry slam or open mic night. We’ll see, though!

If we’re not talking about writing...I used to do art at school and briefly considered choosing that as my degree. I loved working with oil paints and exploring light and dark. I haven’t really painted since I was 18 which is a real shame, and I’ve tried getting into sketching but I’m pretty bad now! I also recently got into calligraphy, and I like to make cards and prints; it’s my way of working with words in a different way.

Magic & Musings:
How would you describe your relationship with social media?

Jo Fisher:
Tempestuous! I really do have a love-hate relationship with my social media channels. I’m definitely addicted to it and am always mindlessly scrolling. I recently went on a 5-day social media ban and it was really hard, but insightful; I think I’d like to use it more mindfully, and productively. Being a sharer, however, it’s hard to find a limit and stop myself from oversharing.

I love how much it opens up opportunities and relationships. Most of what I read, online and in terms of books I buy, is influenced by what I see on Twitter or Instagram. It’s a great way to share creatively, and discover people’s stories. I love storytelling, and social media is just another way of doing that!

It’s just so hard to find a balance and I dread to think how many hours I’ve wasted on Twitter and Instagram when I could have been writing or reading. Being mindful online is something I need to train myself in.

Magic & Musings:
What one thing do you wish someone told you when you were first starting out blogging?

Jo Fisher:
Don’t write to please people. My first blog was so clogged up with what I thought people wanted to read; makeup, restaurant reviews, random posts about what I got for Christmas... I ended up getting a good following but I hated most of what I wrote, and how I ended up portraying myself online; hence starting over again. My new blog is more focused on my needs, writing what I want to write about, and hoping someone might enjoy it. It’s hard not to worry when a post gets barely any interaction but I have to remind myself that it’s not all about popularity. I don’t want to write about something I don’t feel interested or passionate about.


Magic & Musings:
Onto a fun question! Can you recommend everyone reading a book you've enjoyed recently, as well as a film and an album or song?

Jo Fisher:
The Muse by Jessie Burton is probably the best thing I’ve read in the last 12 months. It’s just so beautiful! I also really liked We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride; it’s not my usual choice, but a friend loaned it to me and I tore through it! I read David Nicholl’s Us two years ago and it still plays on my mind, so I recommend that one too.

Obviously I’ll throw Laura Jane Williams’s Becoming and Emily Harrison’s I Can’t Sleep ‘Cause My Bed’s on Fire in the mix too.

I couldn’t choose a favourite film! I saw Lion and Hidden Figures in the last few months and loved both, so you have to see them. I also can’t resist Hot Fuzz - I could watch that over and over again. Anything that makes me laugh and think, I love. British films are also the best, and I’m a sucker for a cheesy romcom. I tend to steer clear of films which make me think too hard; I’m not a big fan of action films and hate horror; if I’m watching something, I want to relax and give my brain a break.

Oh gosh, where do I begin with music?! While writing I can’t listen to music with lyrics, so I plough through film soundtracks. Thomas Newman and Andre Desplat create beautiful music, as does Ludovico Einaudi (his music is my favourite). I have a real soft spot for Elbow, The Staves, Florence & the Machine, Mumford & Sons and Athlete, however; their lyrics are so poetic and heartbreaking.

If I need to feel sassy, I’ll just stick on some Sia, Amy Winehouse, or Carsie Blanton.

Magic & Musings:
Oh my goodness, Hot Fuzz is one of my all time favourites. 'No luck catching them killers, then?' I absolutely adore it.
Is there anything else you would like to say before we finish? How can people find out more about you and your work? What’s on the horizon for you in the next few months?

Jo Fisher:
I’m still pretty flattered to be interviewed in the first place! I’m still finding my feet, and am always looking to learn, build and find more inspiration. So, thank you so much for asking me to chat! It means a lot and just answering these questions has left me feeling a little more motivated to write.

I’ve had a few days recently where I’ve felt more motivated and I am hoping to harness this in the next few weeks. Otherwise, I’ll still be writing and thinking and trying my best to push myself out of my comfort zone! Who knows, someone might even read what I have to say!

I just want to get to the stage where I can describe myself as a ‘writer’ without feeling like a fraud; I feel like I’m on my way already.

I’m writing over at www.jofisherwrites.com, and am always waffling on over on Twitter (@joannefisher) or posting photos of cake on Instagram (@jo_fisher_). If anyone’s reading this and has some advice or something to share with me, please come and say hello!

--

Enjoying this series? Want to keep it going? Consider supporting me on Patreon for lots more exciting things in the future. Find out more here.

You Might Also Like

0 comments