Write Profile: Hannah Brencher
Hello beloved Eight Hundred Words community. It is with GREAT PLEASURE that we introduce you to the lovely Hannah Brencher. Hannah is an author, speaker, and deliverer of the acclaimed TED Talk on the love letter movement. If you haven’t read her books If You Find This Letter and Come Matter Here, please do. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband. For more about Hannah, peruse her website here!
Hannah was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, from one writer to another. So grab your coffee, your vision board, your bullet journal, or whatever you need to for optimal inspiration. Here is Hannah!
Eight Hundred Words: What kind of advice would you give theoretical young writers who are trying to make connections?
Hannah Brencher: I would tell young writers to reach out to people and ask all their questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask someone to tell you their story of becoming a writer or offer to buy them a cup of coffee and pick their brain. I did this when I was starting out and it made the biggest difference in my process.
EHW: What’s your favorite genre to read and/or write? Do you prefer to read the same or different genres than the one you write?
HB: I love reading memoir and I love fiction that makes me think and leaves me surprised or trying to put the pieces together. I usually cannot read nonfiction while I am writing nonfiction so I give my brain a break from all of it and just indulge in some fiction. I would love to write fiction in the future because I am so fascinated by the craft but, for now, I am in the realm of creative nonfiction for my own writing.
EHW: What are you reading? What’s one book you can’t stop going back to?
HB: I am currently reading The Poisonwood Bible and it is so. dang. good. Wow. The language is masterful and I cannot get over it. I love reading a book that makes me go back and read the sentence twice to catch all the good words.
EHW: What does it mean, to you, to be a writer?
HB: Gosh, what a good question. Honestly, being a writer is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. I know I worked hard and I still write every single day but it is a privilege that I hope I never take for granted. To me, writers are the ones who get to put words to feelings and emotions we all experience. I think a good writer can put language around all the things that make finding the words tough. I feel like I was born for this. I am the happiest when I am writing.
EHW: How do you take your coffee?
EHW: What songs are your go-to writing songs?
HB: I love any good heartbreak ballad. I love the songs from the past that stir nostalgia inside of me, the songs that are so much a part of a memory that you’re taken back to the exact place and remember the smells when you hear them.
EHW: What’s the most embarrassing song on your Spotify?
HB: I love gangster rap so probably all the pump-me-up music you only hear in a night club.
EHW: What does your creative practice/process look like? Do you have a writing rhythm or routine?
HB: Yes, I either start off each writing session with reading or writing something that feels like it will come naturally and easily to me as a warm up. I always put my phone in a box to keep from avoiding distractions. I try to write 3-4 hours at a time with minimum interruptions and I write nearly every day so that my brain stays in the rhythm. My sweet spot for writing-- at least for this book-- has been the hours between 1 and 5.
EHW: What advice would you give to someone working on their first book? If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice in that process, what would it be?
HB: I would tell them to not wait on perfection but to just start writing and seeing what they have to say. Get in the chair and just start tapping out words. Get in the writing practice. So many people want to write a book but they want the finished product, not the process of writing. Fall in love with the process and you’ll never look back.
EHW: What’s your morning routine?
HB: I wake up in the morning and knock out my workout before I brew my coffee and read my bible. That time always ends up leading into my writing for the morning. Unless I’m on some sort of deadline, I won’t check my email until the afternoon so I can spend the morning in the creative zone-- distraction-free!