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Conversations with Kathryn H. Ross

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn H. Ross.

Hi Kathryn H., it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’ve been a creative writer my whole life and a freelance writer for the last nine years, and both paths really started taking off while I was in college. I had my first publication when I was less than a year out of high school: a couple of poems in a local review. My next publication came in 2014 in a now-defunct online literary journal: it was a braided personal essay titled “Defiance” in which I talk about my faith, my hair, and the many microaggressions and overtly racist experiences that came with growing up as a Black woman in SoCal. Though I didn’t know it in 2014, that essay became the foundation for my first book, which actually began as my thesis project for my MA in English program. “Defiance” led to a collection of personal essays and poetry that I christened “On the Brown Body and the Mean World.”

After I finished my grad program in the winter of 2018, I shared my manuscript with a writer friend I’d met the previous spring. As it turns out, he was starting his own independent press and wanted my work to be his first release. “On the Brown Body” became my debut book, Black Was Not A Label (BWNL) published in 2019 by PRONTO. My professor and advisor during my grad program became my editor, and together we molded those extremely personal stories and poems into a book. Between 2014 and now, I’ve published numerous other short stories, flash fiction pieces, poems, and personal essays in online and in print literary journals, mags, and reviews nationwide. My second book was published in October 2021: a poetry chapbook entitled Count It All Loss (CIAL) released by fledgling indie press, GoldScriptCo.

In my professional life, freelance writing supported me through undergrad and graduate school. I’ve also worked as a copyediting intern for Red Hen Press in Pasadena and a columnist for Pasadena Now—two positions that fulfilled my professional creative writing dreams early in my career.

After a short stint with a 9-5 job in 2019 that didn’t work out and the onset of the pandemic, I decided to return to freelancing. But now, I was ready to go all in: I started my small business, CreatedtoCreate, in August 2020. My services include freelance writing, editing, consulting, proofreading, and web design, and since its launch, I’ve worked with amazing individuals on their manuscripts and creative projects as well as with companies doing their blogs, articles, newsletters, and socials.

In addition to my small business, I’m also a contributing writer for Hallmark Mahogany’s Writer’s Community and an adjunct professor at my alma mater, Azusa Pacific University, where I teach in the same English department that shaped me.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road definitely hasn’t been smooth, but it has been blessed—that’s something I believe wholeheartedly. I think the biggest obstacles have been the emotional setback of my first full-time office job and Covid-19.

After finishing grad school, thought it was time to leave freelancing behind and get something steadier. I got a job as a copywriting specialist with a digital marketing agency, and though I learned a lot during my time there, I also lost a lot of confidence in myself and my writing abilities. I’ve written for digital marketing agencies on a freelance basis before, but something about this job was just not clicking and I wasn’t fitting in. What’s more, I have a pesky but mostly-tolerable condition called fibromyalgia, which more or less causes widespread fatigue, pain, muscle aches, and exhaustion if I’m not careful. It’s exacerbated by stress and lack of rest, and the pace of that 9 to 5 was not easy on my body. Flexibility is one of the reasons remote work is so appealing (and lifesaving) for me and with this job, I just didn’t have it. So, for both my physical and mental wellness, I chose to leave the position pretty quickly after I got it, and it led to a pretty confusing and bereft time in my life. Several months after my departure, the pandemic hit, and the book tour my publisher and I had scheduled for BWNL that spring was suddenly canceled. Thankfully, I was able to move some of my tour events (namely readings and talks) online. Though they were different, they were fun and I was able to reach a lot of new people with my writing!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As a creative and freelance writer, I specialize in stories. Whether I’m crafting a piece of fiction or helping a client with an essay, I want to tell stories that are real, raw, relatable, and most importantly, understandable. There’s purity and integrity in writing that really draws me to it. I feel like when you’re reading a book or even an Instagram caption, you’re getting a glimpse at who the writer is, no matter what their words might be. I know in my own writing that I sometimes can’t get the words right or my meaning across, and so I want to help people create their own stories and narratives as clearly and genuinely as I can. I’m most proud of working with clients, friends, and other writers as an editor because if you keep at it, the editing process ultimately reveals the truest version of every story.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Integrity for sure. I always tell my students that as a writer, you’re nothing without integrity. People can see through disingenuous words very quickly. As a creative writer, not having integrity just makes you look and sound like a hack, and as a freelance or business writer, it just makes you look untrustworthy and unskilled. I want to be clear that integrity has nothing to do with talent or writing ability. Even if someone is not the best writer or could use a few workshops and English courses to sure up their skills, true integrity will show that they’re trying, they mean well, and they truly want to tell a story worth reading. I don’t believe you can fake sincerity in writing for long because a lack of integrity always shines through eventually.

Pricing:

  • All my freelance services are $40/hour (2-hour minimum) if you’d like to work with me!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kami Arant, Bailey Yettaw Photography

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