Last week, I wrote about my favorite part of social media.
You can read that blog here, but essentially, I talked about how I look at social media as place to get inspired. I've fixed it to where the people I follow are only people that I know and love, or people that I've found that inspire me with the way they live their lives. (A lot of the people I follow are both.)
One of these people, Sammi Harvey, very quickly became one of my favorites. I've followed Sammi on social media for a little over a year now, and through the course of that year, I couldn't help but want to be her friend. Luckily for me, I was assigned a profile piece for a writing class, and was essentially told to get to know anyone in the writing world that I thought I could learn from. So, I emailed Sammi, and she graciously decided to let me interview her for my class.
On a Monday morning, we FaceTimed for about an hour and a half, and it was such a gift. Sammi is wise and inspiring and kind, and I'm excited to get to share what I learned in our time together.
Who is Sammi Harvey?
Sammi is a writer and creator who lives in Nashville with her husband, Branden, and their dog, Poptart. She loves words and people and tacos. (Her favorite place in Nashville is Mas Tacos.) She's passionate about self-care, authenticity, and traveling. Sammi moved to Nashville six years ago when she started college, but loves it so much that she decided to make it home. She's an enneagram 9, and has recently been taken with the power that can come from learning and understanding different personality types, including, and especially, her own.
Sammi reads a lot (the dream), travels more often than I could ever dream of, and starts everyday at her desk, ready to write before she starts her day. (If you know me, that sentence alone should sell you on why I wanted to get to know Sammi.) She has been writing since she was in middle school, got a BA in English, and now, at 24, Sammi proudly calls herself a writer.
When I first emailed Sammi, she was very quick to tell me that she doesn't consider herself a professional writer. I was very quick to tell her that that doesn't matter. I knew I had a lot to learn from her, and the more we talked, the more I knew I was right.
When I asked Sammi about her creative process, she was told me that she loves her routine. She's a morning person, which also makes her a morning writer. Before she writes, though, she does yoga, as she's learning the power that exercise and self care can have, not only in her writing but in every area of her life. After her yoga, she makes her way to her desk and begins to write, always with tea or coffee at hand. She has a daily goal of three pages of stream of consciousness, but the important thing to her is that she produces words. Along with her morning pages, she makes sure to practice gratitude and prayer. These are her practices, and she loves them. I found that Sammi has a good grasp of what works for her, which is a really important part of being a writer.
When I asked Sammi what her favorite thing is about being a writer, we both laughed as she said, "We have the excuse to do whatever we want." On the serious end, though, she told me that she loves the processing and the healing that can (and often does) come with writing. I asked Sammi what her goals are for her writing, and she talked about the beauty in the "human library," a poetic way to describe every book that's ever been written. She told me that she hopes to add her own book to that library one day, but she doesn't know when that will happen. But, she will keep writing, no matter how long it takes her book to "be ready."
Advice for Young Writers
Sammi is two years older than me, and I was encouraged by her two-years-out-of-college-nonprofessional-but-serious-writer perspective on things. One of the main reasons I wanted to interview her is because of how realistic it would be for my life to look like hers two years from now.
I couldn't help but ask Sammi the typical, "If you could go back two years and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?" and her answer was simple: Stay curious. She told me that she'd want to make sure she knew to keep learning, keep reading, to learn from others and travel as much as she could. We talked about how all of our experiences add up, how they create who we are and the stories we have to tell.
I also asked Sammi what kind of advice she'd give a theoretical young writer who is trying to make connections (aka me). She told me that the best thing to do is to be authentic and be kind. She spoke of how much power there is in unapologetically being yourself and loving people no matter what. If you can be kind, you can make it.
Recommendations from Sammi, to me and you:
The best books I've read have come by way of recommendation, so I made sure to ask Sammi for some before we ended our time together.
- Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way // A book that guides its readers through the creative life, and where Sammi adopted her practice of morning pages.
- Bird by Bird, Anne Lamont // For writers.
- The Writing Life, Annie Dillard // Also, for writers.
- The War of Art, Steven Pressfield // For creatives.
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerlad // Seriously, if you haven't read it, it's time. It's one of Sammi's all time favorites (and, for the record, one of mine as well.)
- Pick Me Up, Adam J. Kurtz // For fun, for laughs, for brain-breaks. Sammi keeps this in her desk drawer and pulls it out when she needs it.
- She just read: Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey & A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- Her Blog // Honestly, I rarely have bloggers that I keep up with (which is bad, considering that I am, in fact, a blogger), but I get excited every time Sammi posts something new.
- Story Podcast // A podcast for creatives, and one of my favorite discoveries of 2017 so far.
- Instagram, because duh
- Also Twitter, because duh
My time with Sammi was so fun and so rewarding. By the end of our conversation, it didn't feel like I was interviewing her as much as it felt like I was talking to an old friend. Sammi Harvey is a person of natural light and inspiration, and I am so thankful that she took the time to share her life with me. I believe that the way that Sammi lives and loves and writes will change the world because it's so rare and so special. I'm thankful that I got to meet Sammi, and I can't wait to see the way her words shake the world around her.
A special thanks to Sammi, again, for giving me the chance to learn about her world. Keep writing, friend, and miracles will continue to happen.