Series: Keeping the Faith Fridays, Spotlight Andrea Wetherald

Welcome back to the third round of Keeping the Faith Fridays. Today we spotlight my dear friend, the HILARIOUS comedy writer Andrea Wetherald. Girlfriend wears a lot of hats–entrepreneur, social worker, improviser, sketch writer, etc. just to name a few. This lady knows how to go ALL OUT in pursuit of a goal, and her kindness and sense of humor are things of wonder! Follow along with her adventures on Twitter and her website. Without further ado. . .

 

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1.) Why do you write? What does writing mean to you?

Writing is the number one way I process what’s happening around me. Even from the time I was a kid, I would write songs about whatever was on my mind as a way to make peace with it. Most of what I write is just for me, for my own survival purposes, but when I do write for other people, I usually write on topics that I think are meaningful.

2.) What do you write?

I write short stories, essays, songs, sketches, poems and blog posts about improv.

3.) How long have you been writing seriously?

That’s hard to answer- I took my writing very seriously when I was a kid, but I never did anything with it (thank the Good Lord above that there was no YouTube when I was 9.) I wrote a lot in college, mostly songs and poems, which I also mostly kept to myself and my friends. I didn’t start putting stuff out into the world until a few years ago when I started writing blog posts for my job- I just suddenly realized I didn’t want the only publicly known written work of mine to be about point-of-sale systems. So I started producing sketch shows and writing about stuff that mattered to me.

4.) Do you have a writing regimen? (Outlining vs. pantsing? Process for various drafts? Beta readers? Revision m.o.? Do you send pages to someone as you’re drafting? Tell us anything/everything!)

Yes- I have a very strict regimen. I start by spiraling into a dark place of shame for the amount of time that has passed since I sat down and devoted time to writing. Then, I sit and complain to anyone near me about how hard it is to write. Then I waste the rest of the day doing nonsense, and then I stay up late into the night writing something I care about.

Once I start writing, my style depends on the type of work I’m doing. If I’m writing a sketch- I’ll write out the beats or bones that make up the story arc. I’ll also write out any jokes I know I definitely want to keep, and then I’ll fill in the rest from there. If it’s an essay, I usually try to edit as I go, and pepper in as much complaining, procrastinating and wine as possible.

5.) What’s the number one thing you’ve learned while writing? What piece of advice would you give to others/yourself?

Oooh- I like this question. What I’ve learned (from Liz Gilbert- I didn’t come to this on my own) is to give myself permission to write the story I need to write, and not get caught up on writing the thing I think I can publish. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and it’s easy for me to think in terms of what has the highest potential to become groceries in my fridge. But writing is more special to me than that; it’s more healing for me than that. So I try to give myself space to write what’s on my heart to write, and find other minutia to pay the bills in the mean time.

6.) What non-writing activities do you do to help your creative process?

Improv & babysitting are two things I do regularly that help me generate ideas. Cleaning, baking and reorganizing/decorating are activities that usually help me feel calm and give me a sense of control over my life that help me prevent shame spirals, which is very important for healthy creativity.

7.) What are you working on right now?

I am currently writing about how improv transcends the stage into all the most important aspects of being a person or being a teammate of any kind. I’m also writing a book I don’t know if I can publish, but it’s in my heart and it wants me to write it… it’s about forgiving religion and my slow process of coping with my “Jesus baggage.”

8.) Who are your big influences in your genre?

Woof- I have a smattering of genres. Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling are big influences to me in my comedy writing life. When I’m writing about the ways improv helps me be a more whole and happy person, Brene Brown and Liz Gilbert are big influences for me.

9.) Top three favorite books of all time. Don’t think. 

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, Yes Please by Amy Poehler & Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

10.) Your turn for the Sorting Hat. Which is your Hogwarts House? Why?

Oh god- the one on the left is my favorite… because I have no idea what this means. I can tell it’s about Harry Potter, but I missed out on this phenomenon on account of being told I would go to hell for reading about sorcery and devil worship.

*Bonus Question!: A magic fairy waves her magic wand and grants you one superpower. What is it?

Knowing about the late 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Due to “my time in the bunker” as my comedy friends call it (AKA, growing up in very conservative Nazarene culture), I never understand pop culture references from that time period.

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