Writer Profile: Kirsten Robinson

Credit: Giselle Keena

Credit: Giselle Keena

Welcome Kirsten Robinson to the Writer Profile spotlight!

Kirsten Robinson is a writer and editor based in New York. She is the author of Evergreen (2019, Thought Catalog), which came from writing inspirational, relatable poetry under the social media pseudonym Naked Writing. She believes that writing and creative expression can be powerful tools for supporting people in healing and processing daily life. She has also written for Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Seventeen.com, CosmoGirl.com, Thought Catalog, Elephant Journal, SurfYogaBeer, Fashionablebride.com, and more.

Shop Kirsten’s new book, Evergreen!

What do you write and how long have you been writing?

Outside of my professional writing career, I write a lot of poetry, short-form prose and essays. Writing is the thing I’m most passionate about—I have been in love with words since I was little. My first AOL screenname was BookwormKR because I was so obsessed with reading and the way that a good story or book could make me feel. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me, and as I’ve gotten older, it’s also become a form of therapy. It helps me process my thoughts and things I’m going through. Not every piece is about one specific person or event, though some are; many are a composite of different things.

A lot of the more “inspirational” pieces I have written started out as notes to myself because it was what I needed to hear to feel better at the time. And then I wondered if it could help me, maybe it could help someone else, too. I’m also just inspired in general to write about people, places or sights that move me—I try to find beauty in as many things as possible, and often joke that I fall in love every time I walk out my front door.

Tell us about your vision behind Naked Writing? Where did the name come from?

Naked Writing is the name of the Instagram account I started anonymously a little under two years ago. I had not yet started sharing any of my creative writing, and wanted a place to do so without any fear of judgement because I was scared of what people might think—that my writing might be bad or that no one would like it. But the more that people responded positively, the more encouraged I felt and that helped my confidence grow.

I started Naked Writing during a time of major personal change. I had gone through a difficult breakup that left me questioning who I was, who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing with my life. But sometimes when you’re thrown off course from the path you’ve been expecting to stay on, it’s the perfect opportunity to try new things and pursue the goals you maybe had been putting off. For me, that meant chasing my passion for creative writing, and hopefully one day achieving my dream of being a published author.

Naked Writing doesn't mean literally being physically naked while writing—to me, it means baring yourself in your writing, or writing from the heart. The pieces of writing that have always resonated with me the most—whether a story, poem, article, whatever—are the ones that are raw, real and relatable, and I wanted to come up with a name that embodied that. If sharing my experiences and ideas in a vulnerable way could help even just one other person feel better, then that makes putting myself out there worth it. 

When did you start writing regularly for Thought Catalog and how did that relationship form?

I started writing for Thought Catalog two years ago, a couple of months before I created Naked Writing. That relationship formed in what felt like a serendipitous series of events. I had been too nervous to submit anything, but then I stumbled across another Thought Catalog writer’s work—who is also named Kirsten—and was very moved by something she wrote. When I submitted my first piece, she is the one who contacted me as a publishing liaison, and my superstitious-self felt it was meant to happen. She was so supportive, and that is what encouraged me to continue.

Do you write daily? Weekly? Or whenever inspiration spontaneously strikes?

I do not have a consistent writing schedule. There are periods of time when I am having a creative streak with so many ideas that it’s literally painful to keep all of it inside of me, and I can spend hours just pouring it out onto paper. There are periods of time when I have absolutely nothing to say, no matter how hard I try. Either period can be days, weeks or even months long.

Unfortunately for my sleep hygiene, my most creative writing moments tend to happen when I wake up at 3am. It’s when my mind is the most clear. I keep a notebook on my nightstand and also carry one on me at all times, just in case inspiration strikes.

You have a book coming out! Tell us a little bit about it and how this book came to be.

My book is called Evergreen, and it’s being published by Thought Catalog. It’s a collection of poetry and prose. The title comes from the idea of people being strong through all seasons of their lives, and I use a lot of other nature references to speak metaphorically about human resilience and the cycle of being broken down and then growing back new—and stronger—than before. The overall theme of the book is about that journey of personal growth that comes from finding beauty in breakage and love after loss. My hope is that others can relate to the things I talk about and maybe even find comfort in whatever point of their own journey they’re at.

Is writing a book what you expected it to be? What has been the best and worst part? What has surprised you the most?

I knew writing a book would take a lot of work, but I didn’t realize how much. First of all, there are not enough hours in the day. By the time I’d finish work during the week, I usually did not have the headspace to get in the zone creatively—which meant spending the majority of my weekends last summer holed up writing. I had to be more selective with my time and say no to more people than I would’ve liked. Writing is a very lonely thing sometimes. You are literally by yourself for extended periods of time.

Secondly, it was emotionally exhausting, and that is what surprised me the most. I was forced to tap into feelings I’d been suppressing, and in some cases, think about events that had been painful to go through. That being said, it was an extremely cathartic process and helped me find silver linings in things. It was healing, in a way.

The best part has been watching it all come together, and to see a childhood dream come to life. Each milestone along the way never really sunk in as being real until just recently when I saw the final book designs and it became available for pre-order. I cried many happy tears, and I know I will cry even more when I get to hold it in my hands.

What else do you do for fun?

I’m a total beach bum. If I have sand under my feet and an ocean nearby, I’ll be the happiest girl in the world. I love being outdoors and being active. In addition to writing, the biggest form of stress relief I’ve found is exercise. Working out helps me feel better physically, mentally and emotionally—it clears my head and keeps anxiety at bay. I’m also very much into music, traveling whenever I can, and pretty much anything related to dogs.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers who are looking for opportunities to write regularly and maybe even write a book one day too?

My first piece of advice is: exhaust all resources. If you’re looking for writing opportunities, post about it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn—whatever social media channel you’re on. You will be amazed by how many people either know of an opportunity themselves, or know someone who knows someone who does—if you simply ask. And to that end, talk about it to your friends or people you meet. Networking is an amazing tool. But no one is a mind reader, so it’s important to take that initiative.

Secondly, don’t pass up opportunities just because they seem too small, or not the perfect fit, or don’t pay enough—if they pay at all. A great way to grow your network and portfolio is to be completely open to different types of tasks, because you never know where they might lead to.

My last piece of advice is to never give up: everything you need to say is worth being heard, and there are people out there who need to hear what you have to say.

Shop Kirsten’s new book, Evergreen!