Volunteer Spotlight: Abigail Welborn
The Mighty Pens would be nothing without our volunteers. We wanted to make sure everyone got the recognition they deserve. Each week, we’ll be spotlighting one or more of our volunteers and they can tell you in their own words a little bit about them and why they are a part of the Mighty Pens team.
First up is Abigail Welborn! Take a look at Abigail’s website or give her a follow on Twitter @AbigailFair to see what she’s up to.
Q&A with Abigail
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I grew up mostly in Michigan, but have now lived in Seattle longer than I lived anywhere else! I got a computer science degree from University of Michigan and worked in Big Tech for 12 years before quitting (retiring!) to pursue my dream of becoming an author. While working as a programmer, I met my husband (also a programmer), got married, and had two boys.
Q: Tell us about your pets! Or dream pet, if you don’t have one.
A: We are cat people, but I can only care for one needy creature at a time! My first cat lived to be 18 🙀 so that’s a high bar. My boys have started asking about getting a cat so I told them when I no longer have to clean up after them, I’ll consider it. 😹
Q: What are you currently reading/watching? What was your last 5 star read?
A: Oh my gosh, fiction has been so hard for me lately. The world is so fraught right now that I can’t stand to read about otherworld disasters. I just finished Just Mercy, which I would recommend to anyone—an absolutely searing portrayal of racism and hope in America—and my latest fiction 5-star was The Princess Will Save You. I need joy nowadays so I’ve been rewatching things like The Mummy and The Princess Bride.
Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: Totally reformed pantser. Once I found out about story structure and realized there were actually criteria to decide what should happen next, the engineer in me won out. Top two resources: Helping Writer Become Authors (her story structure and character arc series should be required reading!) and Larry Brooks, especially Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves.
Q: What’s your favorite writing snack or beverage?
A: I cannot function without tea, earl grey, hot. Although I do add lots of cream! (Sorry, Jean Luc.)
Q: What’s in your ears while you write?
A: I love soundtracks, but my favorites are too distracting because I keep picturing the movie (which was not a problem while programming but doesn’t work great while writing), so I stick with fake soundtracks: Two Steps from Hell, Audiomachine, Really Slow Motion, Future World Music, Immediate Music.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about writing? Least favorite?
A: Favorite: drafting. I love words!!
Least favorite: plotting. I do it because I love a good story, but it’s by far the hardest part for me… getting all the pieces of plot, character and worldbuilding to line up. Being honest with myself about when one is out of whack so that I can actually do it!
Q: Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? Have you won? Are you participating this year?
A: I have won twice before, and this year I’m “cheating”—I’m editing instead of drafting a new thing.
Q: What do you write? And if you can, tell us what you are working on now or will be working on for NaNo.
A: I write YA fantasy. This year for Nano, I’ll be writing the third draft of the book I did for Mighty Pens 2017, which has now been edited and found a mentor!
Q: Any advice for someone who is joining the Mighty Pens or NaNoWriMo for the first time this year?
A: For new nano-ers: have fun. This is only a competition against yourself! Try some very minimal planning to give yourself a goal. While it’s fun to pants the ending, my first draft ended up way better when I had some pieces in place. Here’s one resource I found really helpful.
Q: Are you a Mighty Pens vet or a newcomer? Why did you decide to become a volunteer?
A: I participated in 2017 and had so much fun that I volunteered in 2018, even though I wasn’t doing nano! Mighty Pens has the ultimate combo of fun, community, competition (but only against yourself!) and charity.
Q: What’s your favorite part about the Mighty Pens?
A: As a participant, I was looking for prizes (critiques, specifically). But being a volunteer was fun all by itself! So I’d say the camaraderie definitely makes it special. Doing Nano is more fun in a group.
Q: Do you have a special connection to Every Mother Counts? Or just like raising money for a good cause?
A: I had never heard of EMC, but I had read all the statistics about maternal mortality, especially the disparity between white women and women of color. Since I needed medical intervention for both births, it struck really close to home. I want to help everyone get the care they need to give birth safely.