We chat with Shoko Wanger, friend of AWT and blogging force behind sho & tell, an exquisite blog about 20-something growing pains and beautiful bits of daily life.
Tell us how you started your blog. When did you start it, and what inspired you? Has it changed form or focus since then?
I started my site the summer of 2011. I still remember clicking “publish” on the first post and feeling completely terrified. To be honest, I started it mainly as an experiment—I wasn’t sure how long I’d continue with it, or what shape it would take, but it’s been an ongoing adventure since. Early on, I took much more of a scatterbrained approach—I posted on a very wide variety of topics (everything from architecture to animals, street fashion to notable Etsy finds), but this year, after a short hiatus, I decided to narrow my focus a bit. Going forward, I’m including more personal writing, and I’m gravitating toward material that has more to do with embracing the discomforts—and joys—of growing up.
Your blog really gives a sense of you—your values, your inner dialog, your daily life. What are your guiding principles when writing and curating your content and visuals?
Thank you! That’s nice to hear. The only rules that I’ve set for myself are to stay true to my voice and to what interests me. It’s always my goal—no matter what—to post material that’s thought-provoking and has heart and soul behind it.
How did you build your following, and how do you continue to build it? Is it hard to balance this aspect with your writing, or are the two complementary?
I found a wonderful, warm community through blogging fairly quickly. It helped that many of my friends were already a part of that world. But in general, I try not to focus on numbers, or stats, or building an audience—I’m grateful for the readers I have, and I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of them well, which is amazing. But I don’t want my main objective to be growing numbers. I just want to post what I want to post and be proud of it.
You are a dedicated freelancer. Why?
For its many challenges, freelancing allows me a tremendous amount of freedom that I wouldn’t otherwise have, and would never trade. And, because I’m invariably working on several projects at once, I’m always learning about new things, always meeting new people. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.
You wake up and next to your bed is a fresh Moleskine notebook and a new pen. How do you fill the first page?
Probably with scribbles. My mind’s a little foggy in the morning, which can sometimes be a good thing for writing; still, I think my earliest thoughts would be best expressed in chicken scratch.
Sum up your current most important life goal in a Tweet (140 characters or less).
In reference to a favorite passage from The Diary of Anais Nin (which I wrote about here): Stay awake. Don’t fall asleep in the snow.
Photo by Emily Johnston