We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Zorina Frey a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Zorina, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What do you think matters most in terms of achieving success?
It takes finding something you like to do, getting good at it, and doing whatever you can to turn it into a career. Even if that skill set doesn’t seem to have monetary value at the time, go for it. Even if people tell you it’s a waste of time and you should do something else, do it anyway. Even if you are actively pursuing that thing and it still doesn’t seem like anything is coming from it, do it anyway. The truth is it takes passion and tenacity to be successful. That passion and tenacity aren’t embedded in what pays you, but in what you’re doing. If that passion, tenacity, and loyalty are for the organization that pays you, you’ll get burned out because the people who make up an organization are contingent on the people. People change. Changes can and will affect you positively or negatively. However, if your tenacity, passion, and loyalty are in yourself and what you can do and offer, that will never burn out. It’ll be challenged, but YOU won’t burn out. You won’t get bored either, because your talent will always open doors of opportunity. That’s your foundation and framework. Do that, and you can work for anybody, even yourself. Great talent is always recognized and impossible to ignore. You can only be great if you believe in yourself enough to invest the effort, time, and money into being the best at it.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m an English, writing, and publishing instructor, a spoken word poet, an author, and owner of IWA Publications, a publishing service offering writing, book design, graphic design, and video editing services. IWA is home to 45 Magazine Literary Journal where aspiring writers can get published. I design book covers and interior layouts for print and ebooks. I also produce award-winning videos that have been recognized in several film festivals. I originally started publishing writers on my platform, but with the convenience of Amazon KDP, I now offer preparatory print services empowering writers to be independent publishers.
Can you talk to us about how your side-hustle turned into something more.
As a spoken word poet, people always told me I should write a book. After several rejections of my poetry manuscript, I self-published I Won’t Apologize for Being a Woman with Xlibris Publishing. Michiana Monologues, the then-student organization of my alma mater, Indiana University South Bend heard about it and asked me to publish the 2011 edition of Michiana Monologues, A World of Difference. This book would be used in the university’s Women’s Studies courses. After that, IWA got recognition. I published mostly entrepreneurs who needed to compile their blogs and seminars into a polished publication.
Since you can’t make a person decide when to publish, I used my downtime to enroll in Emerson College’s Literary Publishing Certificate Program that’s now a master’s curriculum. The final project for that certificate was to present a proposal for a magazine. That’s where 45 Magazine Literary Journal was born. The launch was in Miami, Florida, where it got shelf space at Books & Books and was recognized by WNDU-TV, an NBC affiliate in South Bend, Indiana, my hometown. I then delved into my undergrad background in Journalism and learned search engine optimization (SEO) techniques through a digital marketing firm. Many businesses require good writers, so content writing, with everything else, keeps me busy.
This question brings me to the art of writing. Many marketing managers who don’t have an academic background in English don’t fully understand the writing process. That’s why they hire writers. As a result, the expectations of how much time writers ought to spend on quality content are unrealistic. After writing SEO content for 5 years, it occurred to me the main objectives for some marketing firms are volume and speed. As an SEO Copywriter, I was tasked with writing 1,000-word blog articles in an hour with 30 minutes’ worth of editing. Also, businesses need poets as well as English majors. My job description also involved assisting marketers with content for advertising campaigns, websites, and social media. The writing always needed to be concise and witty. What they were asking for was poetry. So, I decided to go back to school for an MFA for 2 reasons:
1) To get a masters so I could teach and prepare student writers what to expect when writing SEO for some companies.
2) Master the art of poetry and storytelling because that’s what every business needs to attract and keep a reader’s attention.
- Website: http://zorinafrey.com/
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- Other: 45magazine.com iwapublications.com
All artwork and photos are owned by Zorina Exie Frey.