Ellie’s Insights: Jen Brogan

Jen Brogan is a freelance writer from Surrey, she is currently studying English and Creative writing the University of Plymouth.

Bookstagram: https://instagram.com/jrbsbookshelf?utm_medium=copy_link

Blog: https://creativewriting230401686.wordpress.com/

Tell me a little about your writing.

I feel like my writing style has evolved in many ways and continues to do so. On my blog, I tend to post more of my creative side like short-fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. When I wrote for Disgraceful magazine I began to write about the topic Mental Health. When it comes to my writing I think I’m a bit of a storyteller and a hard fact and figure kind of person – merge the two, especially with my creative side. However, when it comes to my article writing, I’ve always felt quite confident with writing from my own experiences. I try and incorporate my own experiences within my writing as a way to involve my readers – make them feel less alone, or relatable and sometimes there’s comfort in knowing you aren’t the only one feeling or experiencing certain things. But, my general creativity definitely hinders from my own feelings, thoughts and experiences which influences my work massively. 

Where can we find your work?

My blog is available on my website which is: 

https://creativewriting230401686.wordpress.com/

My work with Disgraceful Magazine can be found: 

https://242c7c13-cd59-4f99-b029-725e3ca63618.filesusr.com/ugd/1f7ee1_d2421e7d9b7949ec9182c7ca257dcb94.pdf – ISSUE ONE: DISGRACEFUL: pp. 200-202

https://08485cee-49ba-402d-949f-f5cf88ed5343.filesusr.com/ugd/c9561b_f275c2006437481a8151487dbf8d2fd1.pdf – ISSUE TWO: DISGRACEFUL: pp. 239 – 242 

https://08485cee-49ba-402d-949f-f5cf88ed5343.filesusr.com/ugd/c9561b_ff0e851f8d714eb6b47bf67647ca134f.pdf – UNSPOKEN PROJECT: DISGRACEFUL: pp. 16-17, 70-77 & 108-120

https://www.mouthymagazine.com/projects – Stories Behind The Statistic by Mouthy Magazine (to download via email) 

When did you start writing? And what made you start writing, was it something you always loved? 

I think I’ve always been a very creative person, even from a young age. I remember writing stories when I was little and making little book covers for them. I was also a reader at a young age – I really loved ‘The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton. 

As I got older, I learnt more about writing and literature through college; which is where I discovered ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F.Scott Fitzgerald and completely fell in love with literature after that. 

I started university doing a Fine Art Degree but decided that writing was actually what I wanted to do. When studying English and Creative Writing at university, one of the first things I was told to do was to buy a journal or notebook and write down anything and everything. Then they encouraged us to start running a blog, which I did, and eventually the journal writing and blog-writing just came naturally to me. And because of that, it enabled me to have the courage to write and send my work off to places for the opportunity of being published.

What is your biggest writing quirk? 

I don’t really know if it’s considered a quirk or not, but writing from my own experiences is definitely something that I’ve noticed stands out in all of my work. I just like feeling like I’m not just writing an article, or a poem, or creative piece – I like my reader to feel involved, heard and related to. I think that’s something that I find comfort it when I read these texts, so that might be why I do that myself.

How do you get your writing jobs? Do you pitch a story idea or submit a full written article? 

I genuinely did not know where to start to getting my work out there and published. 

My university tends to send us emails about some opportunities but obviously the topics and writing-styles they ask for vary so they aren’t always the best thing for me to go for.

Even so, I eventually just looked on social media – Instagram especially. There are so many small magazines to support and who need work submitted in order to progress and that was how I discovered Disgraceful Magazine, Mouthy Magazine and PatchworkLit Magazine. 

I have created work for Disgraceful on more than one occasion – I love this magazine I think it’s such a beautiful and inspiring message. You can do either; you can pitch an idea and you can straight up send an article. I feel like, if you were submitting some creative work, you are more likely to send over your work as it is. However, in my case, as it was a self-help kind of article, I did need to discuss things with my editor before writing to help myself to know what exactly I’m writing, who too and how I should portray it. 

What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you started your writing journey?  

Criticism is not rejection, it is an opportunity to improve. I think criticism, particularly when it comes to writing, can feel quite disheartening but actually it’s extremely useful; with anything I suppose, it’s helpful. It’s a seriously good tool for your creativity to use. I’ve just realised over time, it’s okay if not everyone wants to publish your work but it’s good to pay attention to what places look for because it really benefits you. So I tend to make sure my creative pieces are saved for literary magazines, literary competitions etc as opposed to article-styled and vice-versa. 

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