By Kate Ferguson
Kailey Brennan is the creator of Write or Die Tribe, an online writing community providing connection and resources for writers of any genre or background. The community offers a place for accountability, connection, and inspiration. Kailey is also a writer for Read Poetry, the Writer Community Coordinator for The Book Slut, and is currently working on a collection of personal essays.
We spoke to the Plymouth, MA-based creative to hear about her love of writing and why she created an online community in support of it.
Tell me a bit about your own writing background…
I’m completely in love with reading and books so I think that’s where my love of writing began. I was always journaling as a teenager and that’s when I realized writing is what I love to do. Naturally, I went to college for English and creative writing and had such a great college experience, with encouraging professors and a tight group of English major friends. It was just a great community to be a part of.
I had had doubts about pursuing an English degree because I was always hearing I wouldn’t make any money in an art field. But I’m so glad I followed my intuition because reading and writing and talking about reading and writing is my absolute favorite thing to do.
Right now, I’m working on a collection of personal essays. The project is very much in the beginning stages but I’m hoping to explore this genre further and see where it takes me.
What inspired you to create Write or Die Tribe?
I came up with Write or Die Tribe in the summer of 2018. I was working in an office job that I didn’t like and I was feeling very stagnant, creatively. When I was in college, I had a great group of friends who were all in the creative writing program with me. We would meet up on Monday nights at this dumpy townie bar, drink beer and talk about what we were writing. I wrote so much at that time and I think it was because I was surrounded by people who were constantly encouraging me to be better.
Now, four years later, after we had all graduated and moved to different states and lost touch, I longed for that sense of community again. I couldn’t seem to find what I wanted online so I decided I was going to create what I wished already existed; A community that provides inspiration, helpful resources, and a way to meet other writers. Write or Die Tribe has truly been a blessing in so many ways.
I now have this fun and inspiring creative outlet, I’ve met and spoken with some of my favorite authors, and I’m able to provide a service for others who, like me, long for connection in a digital world.
What sort of goals do you have for the Tribe?
I have so many goals and plans for the Tribe! I would love to curate in-person writing groups. As much as I love connecting with writers online, there is something to be said for in-person conversations, for physically holding pages of each other’s work. As the Tribe continues to grow, I would love to organize some writing classes, workshops, anything to get writers together.
What do you like about the community element of it?
Writers need other writers. We need other people in our lives who understand our craft. And we also need others in our lives we can talk about books in a deep, analytical way. Writers love that. This community, especially through my followers on Instagram, has connected me with so many amazing, creative, and brilliant people, people I would have never met if I hadn’t created this community. As a people person, someone who loves to get to know people, Write or Die Tribe has allowed me to do just that.
Do you have an easy or hard time being personally accountable to a writing schedule?
I have a very hard time. I love deadlines but I find them hard to keep when I am the one making the schedule. I think I would have more projects completed if I wasn’t so easily distracted! Unless I’m feeling really creative and can’t stop myself from writing, I definitely need accountability from someone other than myself to keep a solid writing schedule.
Do you get writer’s block? If no, why, if yes, how do you get inspired?
I don’t think I get writer’s block. I feel like I have a lot to say, it’s just a matter of making myself sit down and get it down on the page. If I do happen to get stuck, the best thing for me is to walk away from it for a bit. After an hour or even a day, I come back to it and can see everything with fresh eyes. I’m usually able to pick up where I left off and run with it.
Do you think that reading and writing go hand in hand?
Yes! Reading was my first love and I think it might still be. I’ve been a reader since I was a little girl, always with my head in a book. Seeing how others created the stories I loved inspired me to want to create through writing. As a writer, you need to read. It’s how you learn and grow and perfect your craft.
Do you have an easier time expressing yourself in writing than in person?
Yes, 100 percent. I’m often frustrated with myself when I interview authors for Write or Die Tribe, or when I’m in a public speaking situation because I have trouble organizing my thoughts the way I want to under pressure. I feel like I can communicate and express myself much better in writing. That being said, I’m working on becoming a better public speaker because I’m insanely jealous of those who possess that skill. Interviewing authors is probably my favorite part of Write or Die Tribe so I want to be the best that I can at it.
Do you have a favorite genre?
I would have to say fiction. As much as I love non-fiction (I’m in the process of writing my own collection of personal essays) fiction is my go-to and the place I find the most joy as a reader.
What can we expect next from you, any goals you’d like to share for yourself?
Write or Die Tribe will have its own special writing space on The Book Slut, which is an amazing global book community. This platform will allow for more connection for writers and a chance for us to share our work with one other. I’m very excited about that.
I will also be working with The Book Slut as a writer, interviewing authors, and facilitating a book club, The Money Club. Each month we will read books on finance, wealth, and how to achieve all our money goals. I’m very excited about this because I feel like speaking about money is still a very taboo subject.
We all want to make money and live in abundance but for some reason, we can’t talk about how much money we have or how much we make. So I hope this book club will start a conversation about this and eliminate any negative or limiting beliefs about wealth we have within ourselves.
My goal for 2019 is to focus on my own writing as well. I’ve been so busy creating content for Write or Die Tribe or contributing to other publications that I really haven’t carved out the time to write for myself. I’m hoping to change that!