Jane Eklund, ‘81, Writer and Journalist

 Jane_Eklund-350"Working for a newspaper is like this: Do a couple of phone interviews Wednesday afternoon, crank out a story in two hours, slap it on a page Wednesday night. Thursday morning, people are reading the story in the paper. Friday morning, the paper is lining their cat box. Obviously, the cycle is quite different for creative writing, and hopefully the cat box part doesn't apply, but that practice of just getting the words out there and then being able to let them go is really freeing," says Jane Eklund.

 Working for a newspaper changed the way she thought about writing – according to her, "it's great practice for any writer, and in particular poets, who tend to agonize over every word." Eklund started on these dual writing tracks – journalism and creative writing – when she was at Colby, working on the Echo and taking classes on contemporary poetry. "Earl Smith, who was dean of students at the time, was the Echo adviser," remembers Eklund, adding that he was "always available to give [them] advice." "Colby was really critical to my development as a writer," Eklund says. At Colby she "learned to edit and to paste-up pages – the old fashioned way, with X-acto knives and wax," and was exposed to poems "that were vital and alive," inspiring her to write on her own. Her creative writing mentor, Ira Sadoff, is "a wonderful teacher and friend" that she is still in touch with today.            

Her favorite part about writing is that "words are so versatile." Eklund has worked "as an arts writer, critiquing books and music and visual art," and found that "the process of writing is akin to the process of thinking." She loves that she can employ "the same raw materials to create a poem, a letter to the editor, a how-to manual, marriage vows, a grocery list, etc." Despite or perhaps because of this versatility, "the blank page is always daunting." Eklund explains, "[t]he joke about writers is that they love having written something," the reason why writer's block is the worst part about writing.            

Eklund is currently "earning a living via writing," attempting to create a freelance business. She does a little bit of everything, from "a bit of magazine writing, editing an occasional newsletter for a local nonprofit, and doing editing and PR work for [her] spouse," along with writing romance novels, which are "silly but fun." She is motivated to stay hard at work by "the prospect of having to return to a 9 to 5 job," and enjoys the fact that her job is "portable," allowing her to work from anywhere. She describes her work as "eclectic," and tries "to make [her] journalism creative, and [her] creative writing accessible." - Katerina Faust, '14, William D. Adams Presidential Scholar