In this story, I want to share with you an interview that I conducted with Sharon Hurley Hall. I have started reading insightful stories of Sharon on ILLUMINATION. Sharon’s stories on diversity inspire me. Sharon has gained good recognition by our readers and writers in such a short time as she is engaging with our writers and supporting their content. In addition to her research background, her writing style and artistic side impress our readers. I also added Sharon’s interesting book to my to-read-list. Let’s explore the background of this successful writer!
Tell us a bit about your background, Sharon.
I’m a former journalist (writing for trade publications in the UK), a former university lecturer (I helped develop a postgraduate program in journalism), and have been a freelance writer for 15 years. I’m a polymath, and so I’ve written about a range of topics, but these days my “day job”, if I can call it that, is writing about digital marketing and B2B/SaaS topics. In addition to that, I’ve written a book based on my Master’s research, called Exploring Shadeism.
Why do you write on Medium?
I was first attracted to Medium as a good place to archive my writer mentoring blog, Get Paid to Write Online. I’d run it for more than seven years, and I wanted somewhere to keep the information alive without having to maintain a blog. That proved successful, and people are still finding that content useful.
But then I found I had things to say about issues other than writing, so I launched Being Sharon and published a few essays there.
I love Medium because it makes it easy to connect with a huge community of readers and writers, plus it’s super simple to use.
What are your values as a writer?
Though I love language, one of my core values is communicating information so people can understand. That often means writing simply, though you can still pack a punch with a well-turned phrase. As a former journalist, I try to ensure that anything I write is factual and verifiable — there’s more than enough shoddy content out there, and I don’t want to add to it.
What are the top three books that affected your life?
This is a tough question, because I read daily. I enjoy all sorts of books, from explorations of the English language, to biographies, to “trashy” novels. Three books that have had lasting impact on me are:
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach — despite the title, it’s really about striving for self-improvement and realizing your potential. I read it every couple of years, and always get new insight.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova — this is about a university lecturer affected by early onset Alzheimer’s. Having lived with someone with dementia, the book made a powerful impact on me. Not for the faint-hearted though — it’s also desperately sad.
For the third one, I could throw some names in a hat, but I’m going to go with And Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou, because of the awesome, uplifting and triumphant title poem.
What are your hobbies?
My favorite thing to do in my spare time is read. My second favorite is to play word games. My grandfather taught me to play Scrabble when I was eight and I’ve loved the game ever since then. These days, I tend to play Words with Friends, because I can play with friends around the world without restrictions.
How do you connect with your readers?
As a digital marketer, what I *ought* to say here is via email marketing, but the truth is that at the moment, I just respond to readers wherever they reach out to me. I’m active on social media so I’ve connected with quite a few people thee.
Why did you join ILLUMINATION and how do you find it so far?
Holly Jahangiri recommended ILLUMINATION as a good place for writers, and I totally agree. I’m enjoying the experience, and the ability to connect with a diverse community of writers and readers. It’s like a miniature version of Medium itself.
Who are the top 10 writers you follow on ILLUMINATION?
What are your top five stories that you want to share with your audience and why?
Recently, I’ve been preoccupied with anti-racism, so I’ve written a few stories about that. These two are the most popular:
I’m Tired (of Racism)
I’m a Black woman, but sometimes I don’t speak about race and racism. Because I’m tired…
Surprise, I’m Qualified! Working While Black
True stories of how white employers underestimate Black employees’ education and ability
I also published a short story for the first time. I like sci-fi, so I was happy about this:
An alien, a robot, and a human walk into a bar …
Mox’s jaw dropped. He was pretty sure he’d never seen anything — anyone — anything like that ever before.
And then there are a couple of older stories. The first relates to what’s going on now:
Why This Man’s Daughter is Scared to Visit America
“I don’t want to visit somewhere where I can get shot for doing nothing,” said my dual-heritage daughter, when we were…
And there’s this one about rape culture:
Reality Mongering and Rape Culture
When I was 18 and new to university, one of my fellow students (let’s call her A) was raped. She would never be the…
What are the success factors for you as a writer on Medium?
It’s a much-overused word, but authenticity is crucial. Tell true stories honestly, and people will respond. Once they do, if you also respond, you can have great conversations.
What do you recommend to the new writers on ILLUMINATION?
The most useful thing for me are the daily roundup articles. It’s an excellent way to find ILLUMINATION writers to follow and connect with, and there’s a breadth of excellent writing. And the Slack community is a good place to start to build those connections.
What are your future plans as a writer?
To keep writing, of course. I have plans to update my Shadeism book, and I also have a list of book ideas that I plan to get started on. Most of these are non-fiction, but I’m considering doing another sci-fi story to follow up on the first one.
Thank you for your valuable time Sharon Hurley Hall. I enjoy reading your remarkable stories on ILLUMINATION . Your academic and writing capabilities are impressive, appealing and inspirational to me. I appreciate your wonderful support to our publication, writers, and readers.
You can read Sharon’s writer bio from the attached link.
You may also check other interviews I conducted with inspiring writers of ILLUMINATION recently. These stories can provide a great opportunity to know more about our creative writers and connect with them.
You can find inspiring profiles of ILLUMINATION writers from this story.
You can find inspiring interviews with ILLUMINATION writers from this story.