How can you find time to write while being a mom to young children?
In this illuminating episode, host Ashley chats with Amaris Castillo — an award-winning journalist whose roots trace back to winning a storytelling contest in elementary school and whose prowess led her to be hired as an NPR Public Editor in Research at the famed journalism school The Poynter Institute. As we explore Amaris’ journey, join us for an intimate look into the interplay among journalism, fiction writing, and motherhood.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Ways to draw from your personal experiences and passions to fuel your freelance writing journey.
- Methods to manage time efficiently.
- The potential silver linings and unexpected opportunities that can arise during personal challenges.
- The importance of understanding and embracing the balance between pursuing your dreams and other roles, such as parenthood.
- Practical tools and habits to integrate into your daily routine to ensure consistent writing output.
- The significance of setting boundaries in your freelance business to maintain work-life balance.
- Techniques to juggle your 9-5 while seizing freelance opportunities.
- The value of mentorship and community building in the freelance space.
- Tips on infusing authentic storytelling into your writing.
4:22 How Amaris Castillo fell in love with Journalism
10:32 Amaris’ work at Poynter Institute
15:02 How Amaris ventured into the world of fiction writing
21:43 How Amaris finds time to write as a busy mother
25:49 How Amaris turned her bout with COVID into a makeshift writing retreat
29:53 The battle between chasing a dream and being a Mom
36:29 Handling Motherhood the best way we can
39:39 Amaris’ tips for finding time to write
49:30 Balancing a full-time career and freelance
56:49 Amaris’ biggest lessons from her freelance journey
About Amaris Castillo
Amaris Castillo is an award-winning journalist, writer, and the creator of Bodega Stories, a series featuring real stories from the corner store. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Dominican parents, she credits the many tales she heard growing up to her love of storytelling.
Amaris has reported for The New York Times, The Sun (in Lowell, Massachusetts), the Bradenton Herald, Remezcla, Latina Magazine, Parents Latina Magazine, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the International Center for Journalists, the International Women’s Media Foundation, the Society for Features Journalism, and the Journalism & Women Symposium. In 2018, Amaris was named New England Journalism’s Newsroom Rising Star by the New England Society of News Editors.
When she isn’t reporting on the media for her job, Amaris is piecing together fiction stories. Her writing has appeared in La Galería Magazine, Aster(ix) Journal, Spanglish Voces, PALABRITAS, Dominican Moms Be Like… (part of the Dominican Writers Association’s #DWACuenticos chapbook series), and most recently Quislaona: A Dominican Fantasy Anthology. She has new work forthcoming in Sana, Sana: Latinx Pain and Radical Visions for Healing and Justice — available for preorder now.
Her short story “El Don” was a prize finalist for the 2022 Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writers’ Prize by the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival, and her short story “The Moon and the Sun” was longlisted for the same prize in 2021.
Amaris is a volunteer reader for Aster(ix) Journal and a book reviewer for the Dominican Writers Association, a literary arts organization whose mission is to highlight and promote the works of Dominican-American authors. She has received mentorship from several amazing authors and an amazing editor: award-winning author Natalia Sylvester as an inaugural Periplus Fellow, award-winning children’s book author Monica Brown through Las Musas, and Arely Guzmán through the Kweli Journal Sing the Truth! Mentorship Program. She is currently being mentored through the Latinx in Publishing Writers Mentorship Program and actively seeking representation.
Amaris earned her B.A. in journalism from the University of South Florida and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is currently a research/writing assistant for the NPR Public Editor’s Office and contributes to Poynter.org. She lives in Florida with her family and dog, Brooklyn.
Connect with Amaris
Noteworthy Quote From This Episode
“At my core, I’m a storyteller. I love stories. I can listen to the elders in my family talk all day. When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do at family gatherings was to go to the kitchen and just listen and be nosy. My family were my first storytellers. They would tell stories in such a nonlinear way.”
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