Beth Green is a freelance writer and cherished member of Locus Workspace. She comes from the western United States and has been living overseas since 2003. We wanted to find out a little more about Beth’s journey - as a traveler, a writer, and an avid participant of National Novel Writing Month. Read on to learn more about Beth’s passion for writing, her take on Locus Workspace, and the impact National Novel Writing Month (and writing in general) has had on her life.
What is your occupation?
I am a freelance writer and most of my clients come to me for copy writing, copy editing, or proofreading. I also do some consulting for small businesses. I really enjoy doing a variety of projects, ranging from writing brochures to grants to proofreading academic papers. Basically, if it has to do with words, in English, I try to help.
How did you get into this field?
I trained as a print journalist. I worked at a newspaper before I moved abroad. I actually taught English as a Second Language for about ten years. Teaching, however, takes a lot of energy. I started getting burned out and saw that I wasn’t benefiting my students. Then I decided to take the skills from journalism and teaching and channel them into communications.
Was writing a passion of yours all along?
Since I was maybe eight years old, I knew I would be a writer. After I moved overseas, I kept a travel blog pretty faithfully for about six years, and that was also the first niche for me as a freelance writer. I don't do that kind of writing so much now.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working with a grant writer in the US, helping her with research and editing grant documents, which has been rewarding. I have other clients and projects, but some have to remain private. I also have an ongoing relationship with the First Medical Faculty at Charles University. I review papers for a group of research scientists before they send them out to journals. I should also remember to say I have been lucky enough to get business by word of mouth through Locus and assisted several Locus members with their projects. Thanks, guys!
What is a fun fact about you?
I have the cutest cat in Prague (pictured below). Her name is Nymeria (character from Game of Thrones).
Bonus fact: I grew up on a sailboat.
How did you get into coworking?
Well, I've lived in Prague twice. I came back the second time for my husband’s job, and it was a bit rushed. We slept on a friend’s floor for a couple months before we had our own housing. Needless to say, her apartment was not the best working environment, so I looked into workspaces right away. During that first year back in Prague, I kept full-time Locus membership. Now I am a virtual member, but it is nice to be able to switch memberships since my work flow tends to change depending on the season. I like that the space is here when I need it.
Why did you choose Locus Workspace?
I joined Locus in 2013. There were two clear choices for me at the time (both of which I found online), but I liked that Locus seemed more geared towards English speakers. When I toured the space, everyone was really friendly.
What is your favorite part about working at Locus?
I really like meeting people and that the space is clean and well-lit, the desks and chairs are comfortable, and there’s a kitchen. I feel like it removes all the stress that can come from working in a café (like the power plug problem, the wifi connection problem, etc.).
If you could use one word to describe Locus, what would it be?
On Writing and National Novel Writing Month
What motivates you to write?
This is the eternal question for a lot of writers and it is not easy to answer. Though I've been writing since childhood, I didn’t see myself as a fiction writer for a long time. Just about the same time I started NaNoWriMo, I started writing fiction. Writing a story that is long and completely from your own inspiration is really daunting, especially at the beginning. This is one of the reasons I like NaNoWriMo, because the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month pushes you and gives you a space to experiment with this long-form, imaginative writing.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Most of my fiction projects are crime fiction - mystery, thrillers, suspense. A big theme I tend towards is cross-culture topics, not necessarily having to do with borders but also people who are outside of their norm and trying to survive in an environment they are not comfortable in. For example, I have a story about an inept assassin that was published in an anthology earlier this year and it is about this woman who tries to do a job she really is not suited for.
Interested in Beth's work? Take a peak at her anthology here.
When and why did you start being involved in NaNoWriMo events?
I’ve been attempting NaNoWriMo since 2003, and with each attempt I became more convinced I could actually do it. I think if you got a group of ten people together and asked them if they ever thought about writing a novel, probably all of them would say yes. Everybody has an idea for a novel or screenplay or some sort of story that they would like to tell and so of course I had that too. NaNoWriMo gave me a space to experiment. Not all of my projects from NaNoWriMo have been spectacular, but all of them helped me learn something, either about myself or about writing.
What has been your favorite/most impactful experience during NaNoWriMo?
I moved to China in 2006, where I lived in a town with few foreigners in it. Because NaNoWriMo is web-based, I was able to connect with other people, both foreigners and Chinese who were English speakers. After two months of living there, I was a little bit lonely and so it was really nice for me to meet other people that shared passion for writing with me. We all went to Starbucks, something familiar, and got together to write novels. It was really nice to know that I could find something I enjoyed in Prague, in the United States, anywhere. I think that is something very cool about NaNoWriMo, that no matter where you are in the world, you can find other people who share your interests.
What advice would you give to people who are interested in NaNoWriMo or writing in general?
A lot people get hung up on the rules of NaNoWriMo - the idea is that you are supposed to sign up and write 50,000 words in a month. A lot of people look at that, and think, Oh my goodness I am never going to write 50,000 words. But, I think that you need to approach it as guidelines rather than rules and I think those people with self-doubt about writing that many words should look at it more like an opportunity to write more than they would have without the challenge. Maybe you won’t write 50,000 words, but if you get to 10,000, that is 10,000 more words than you would have written otherwise. For example, my goal this month is to get to the end of the story arc and if I happen to write 50,000 words along the way, that’s great. So to me, NaNoWriMo is a self-improvement exercise as well as a creative exercise.
Want to hear more from Beth? Read her blog post on NaNoWriMo here.