Sometimes you hear a blast of truth that immediately takes your breath away. That is exactly what happened the first time we read Tyece’s words over on Twenties Unscripted. There may or may not have been some truly ugly tears, but along with them was a sense of empowerment and love. Excuse me, what? How does a person even manage to infuse all of those things into words? I’ll tell you if I find out, but for now you’ll have to trust me, she does it. Looking for a life changing read? Check out her blog, or first book!
Tell us a little bit about how Twenties Unscripted was born, and what inspired you to start and maintain it.
Twenties Unscripted started while sitting on my couch back during my stint in Plano, Texas. But the prelude to Twenties Unscripted was the blog I started in 2009, Free Love. Writing has always served as an outlet for me, and blogging became a natural fit. I had a lot of observations about the world around me and even more to write about those observations. Even though my inspiration for blogging is rooted in those simple observations, my reasons for maintaining Twenties Unscripted are more complex. I love seeing a smart, strong and unconventional group of women rally around my work. I love hearing how my words resonate with them. I love that my little outlet and tiny corner of the Internet somehow means something to someone else.
How do you maintain honesty and vulnerability on a platform that is often read by strangers?
Honesty and vulnerability aren’t things I think about; they are just muscles I naturally flex. I believe all writers have a beautiful case of TMI; that’s why we’re writers. I don’t think about the strangers. I think about the vibrant community I’ve built around my work. I hope that the strangers become part of the community, but there’s no love lost if they don’t.
You just published your first book, Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity; tell us about that journey.
Phew. Pulling together all of the content for the book started in April and I announced the launch of the book in June. Suffice it to say I did not sleep much during those months. But, the book represents three years worth of work and that’s the journey I deem most important. Writing in the wee hours of the morning. Evolving as a woman. Changing my mind about things and writing my way through the uncertainty. Painting a beautiful picture out of my ugliest memories. That three-year journey is the only reason the book was even a possibility.
What were the easiest and hardest aspects of putting together the book? How was that process different than blogging?
Hell, I don’t know if there was anything easy about putting that book together. I will say one piece of it that made the process more seamless was the incredible relationship I have with my graphic designer, Emily Hedeman. She has worked with me since the beginning of Twenties Unscripted in 2012, so when I asked her to do the cover and layout for the book, she was just as invested in the product as I was. She was the person on the phone with me at midnight when we uploaded the book for print. She endured my neurotic bouts of perfectionism. Overall, her encouragement and keen understanding of Twenties Unscripted made things a lot easier.
The hardest part about putting the book together was combatting my perfectionist tendencies. Even if I read the book through now, there are probably 1,479 things I would want to change. But, I became such a perfectionist that there were many times when I considered not even following through with the publication (even after announcing the launch!)
Curating the book was different from blogging because of the permanence of what I was creating. There’s a Leandra Medine quote from a Vanity Fair article that says, “I feel married to my book, whereas I’m in these perpetual one-night stands with my blog posts.” I couldn’t have summed it up better. With a blog post, it’s very one and done. Publish. Promote. Write the next thing. But the book is etched in my creative history forever. There is something haunting and exquisite about that.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
One of my mentors who I met during my job at the IT office in undergrad told me, “Don’t just survive. Thrive.” You can make a choice to simply exist, or you can make a choice to blossom and bloom wherever you are. The latter always yields the best results.
Do you have any tricks to share about balancing work, passion projects and life in our twenties?
1) Give yourself permission to enjoy things that aren’t tethered to your goals. I’m a workhorse. I like working and producing results. But, that does not always make for a balanced life. Now I’m giving myself much more permission to just be happy and enjoy the world around me. In my workhorse mind, I should have sat down and worked on this Q&A the minute I got home from my job today. In reality, I drank two glasses of wine and twerked profusely before finally sitting down to do this Q&A. That’s balance.
2) You don’t have to be a full-time entrepreneur if you don’t want to. There’s so much pressure in our generation for everyone to work for themselves. I am perfectly OK right now saying that is not what I want. I enjoy my passion projects. I like having an outlet after a long day at work. I’ve learned so much from my full-time job and the people I’ve met. And I don’t know if I would love Twenties Unscripted quite so much if it were tied to keeping a roof over my head.
3) The only antidote to uncertainty is adaptability. These years are filled to the brim with change. We won’t always know what’s next. But we can always adapt.
How do you tackle writers block?
I don’t believe in writers block. That’s how I tackle it. I don’t give it any power. I’ll write and delete until I like what’s on the page.
What is one thing you wish you could tell your twenty-year-old self?
Break up with that guy. You’re going to waste so many emotions on him unnecessarily, not to mention you’ll waste your dad’s money taking the LSAT simply cause that guy convinced you that you would make a great lawyer. Don’t buy it.
Tell us three things about yourself we couldn’t find online!
Oh, lord, I’m pretty sure my entire life is online, including but not limited to where my birth mark appears.
But, here’s a shot:
1) I will throw a Tupperware container away if it’s been sitting in my fridge long enough and I’m afraid to even check inside for mold.
2) I never believed in emotional affairs until I found myself entangled in one.
3) Every night between 11 p.m. and midnight, I watch Golden Girls.
What word, in your opinion, best describes the twenty-something years?
Did we miss something? Tell us!
People always ask me what’s next. I want people to know that I feel I’ve done a hell of a job branding Twenties Unscripted during the past few years, and now I want to turn some attention to enjoying and branding myself. I want people to know and understand the voice behind Twenties Unscripted. Not through inference. Not just by connecting the dots. But by hearing much more from me about me.
Tyece Wilkins believes in the power of witty women, wise words and full wine glasses. She is the creator and editor-in-chief of Twenties Unscripted and author of Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity, available for purchase on Amazon now. Visit www.twentiesunscripted.com to read more of her work and connect with her on Twitter @tyunscripted.