November is the month when we fall into the mindset of gratitude and giving. This month’s author goes over and above in opening her heart and giving the reader an honest look at how to learn from her hard truths and recognize “red-flags.”
Please meet Brianna McCabe:
Question 1- When and how did you start writing?
When it comes to writing in general, I’ve been told that I’ve always had a “gift” for it by my mom and teachers throughout my entire life (though I never really believed them due to Imposter Syndrome, I suppose) – but I don’t think that I ever actually considered that I could do something with this creative fire within me until college. This passion ignited once I sat down in my “Intro to Journalism” course my freshman year and let my professor’s lectures imprint my mind like that of the ink of a typewriter.
He changed the way that I viewed writing – and his well-articulated criticisms of my assignments and fine-tuning of my sentence structures instilled in me this passion for the craft as a whole. I was convinced that I’d pursue the journalism route post-college and find my way working at The New York Times breaking high-profile stories in the most prolific and objective of ways. Except, that wasn’t the case (and that’s okay!). Instead, I ended up earning my Master’s in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing, working full-time at a few marketing companies (and flexing my creative muscles in a different way), publishing research in academic journals, and becoming an adjunct professor.
While some may have looked at my professional resume as polished and clean, my personal/dating resume most certainly was not. You see, my 9 – 5 work schedule was delicate, balanced, and carefully calculated, whereas my 5 – 9 schedule of chasing after the stereotypical bad boys was chaotic, unhealthy, and ruthlessly miscalculated. It was this bizarre contrast, of sorts, that I could never really figure out until I started to do some serious soul-searching and self-reflections.
So when it comes to writing my semi-autobiographical meets self-help book, The Red Flags I’ve (Repeatedly) Ignored, it was a result of wanting to finally heal from myself and stop hiding behind the professional accolades and plethora of other pseudo-validations – and a mission to try and relate to others to help them heal themselves, too.
Question 2- What do you like to write about most?
I love painting an emotional story and letting descriptive text be the colors that fill the canvas. Now, that doesn’t mean that it always need to be sad, deep, or even profound – it can be funny, shocking, thrilling, sensual, or even frightening. I just like to go there (whatever there may be) with my words and bring the story to the reader and let them feel immersed in that world, even for a second.
And just like my professional versus dating life, I love this element of juxtaposition and play on words so as to hit readers with one-line zingers that they just aren’t expecting.
Question 3-What do you find to be the easiest and hardest thing about writing?
Both starting and finishing. Writer’s block is the most real phenomenon that I’ve ever battled – especially while trying to start a chapter or even a new paragraph in The Red Flags I’ve (Repeatedly) Ignored. There would be weeks where I’d lock myself in my room and stare at a blank 8 ½ x 11 Word document in the hopes that words would somehow just start pouring out. But it didn’t. As a result, I’d almost start to bully myself for this inability to create on command. Eventually, though, I gave myself grace. In those lull periods, I believe my brain was still processing.
But then, out of nowhere, the words would literally pour and I would crank out pages upon pages of text with such beautiful momentum. But then came the editing – and having to understand and accept this philosophy of “letting go.” I recall my publisher telling me that there would always be something that could be changed post-printing, but it was a matter of finding that acceptance and being content that I was ready. So there was this internal balancing act of trying to find peace with my product, and this external battle of feeling both exhilarated and terrified of the public finally consuming my book – which is a reflection of my life.
Question 4- What writers do you most admire and why?
When it comes to authors that I love, I admire Jennette McCurdy for her writing style and courage to ever-so-freely share her vulnerabilities in her memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, and Stephen King for his ability to tell daring, beautiful stories (he’s the GOAT, in my eyes). But truthfully, I admire any author who has the dedication, passion, and perseverance to pour themselves into their own book.
Question 5- How do you get your ideas for stories and what’s in the future for you in writing?
This is a beautiful question. I suppose I will let life, well, life and see where my writing journey takes me next!
Closing – Can you share a memorable experience you’ve had purely because you are a writer?
In The Red Flags I’ve (Repeatedly) Ignored, my goal is to share relatable stories to connect with others. I can’t even begin to tell you how many readers have reached out to me stating that, after having read my book, they haven’t felt so alone in their experiences – and instead, they now feel validated, they feel like they can forgive themselves, and most importantly, they feel like they can grow. I’ve been grateful to connect with others and learn more about their own lives, too. It’s created this powerful, uplifting human experience of sorts. it’s really been a beautiful ride and I truly am so thankful.
The Red Flags I’ve (Repeatedly) Ignored is available as an e-book worldwide and as a hardcover in the US.