“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
— Gloria Steinem
A woman’s voice is powerful, passionate, and important. When she believes in her thoughts and ideas enough to let them flow freely into the universe, she is unstoppable. The same applies when those thoughts are written down. It is truly remarkable when a girlboss decides to make her own rules with her own words.
Alexa O’Kane is a young trailblazing student finishing up her third year at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. She writes for Champlain College Marketing, and occasionally interns with Platinum Artist Management, a music management company based in Long Island. Her poem “They’ll Tear It Down” appeared in Pinnacle Anthology in Spring 2019.
When she’s not working on homework, she runs her personal blog. There you can find articles about her concert experiences, music reviews, and new artists she introduces to her community. Alexa erases her limits and also explores poetry, longform fiction, and transmedia storytelling. Not to mention her stellar bass guitar playing has nourished her passion for music since 2015.
Before she could write legibly, her mom would frequently catch her scribbling in her notebooks. A short story about a herd of wild horses in sixth grade sparked inspiration for the future, which her teacher at the time encouraged her to pursue. Once she chose to major in Professional Writing at the beginning of her college career, her goals, aspirations, and work ethic have never been the same. While supporting her creative endeavors, she maintains a 4.0 GPA. Time management is a daily pursuit, and often includes sacrificing stereotypical college experiences.
Her to-do list involves collecting her master and doctorate degrees, writing multiple novels, and expanding her career working as a professor, working in the publishing industry, and/or at a company she believes in. Her main priorities are to support herself with her passions, and maintain a life of happiness.
Being a female in a male-dominated music industry, Alexa has faced her fair share of rejection in the past, “I’ve had people question my qualifications for writing music reviews, and all of them have been men. Responses like these can be scary, and often personally degrading. However, I try to remember that they’re only attacking my gender/age because they can’t see an opportunity to attack my work.”
How do you choose to survive your bad days?
I love this question. I think it’s about choice in many cases. I try to remember that not every day can be great. I have to push through and find joy in the little things until a better day comes along. Even if I have a full day of classes, homework, and writing a fifteen-song album review, I make time to enjoy a lunch I really like, take a quick walk, or watch an episode of a good show.
What excites you to create?
I love being able to get the pictures in my head onto paper, and into my reader’s imagination. I adore the relationship between the creator and consumer. I might not always know who’s reading, but I feel we are still connected in some way.
How do you choose to inspire yourself? How have other women in the industry inspired you?
I am a very self-motivated person. I inspire myself each day by trying to be better than the day before. Instead of letting my mistakes define me, I do my best to still pat myself on the back for my accomplishments, which helps to keep negative thoughts and imposter syndrome at bay. That’s something a lot of writers struggle with, and it’s hard. However, if I keep moving forward and do a bit more each day, I have proof of my improvement. Every woman in this industry inspires me, even if they’re just getting started. Taking that step to put your work out there is a big one, and I’m proud of every female creative who is brave enough to begin.
Describe your biggest dream.
My biggest, most likely unattainable (but that’s okay!) dream is to be a version of J.K. Rowling. I want to inspire my readers to get lost in the worlds I create, acknowledge the issues I present, and create communities in which they can connect to others. I will use my platform and earnings to make a true difference.
Alexa gave a list of works that are close to her heart. Each piece features strong female characters, and worlds that influence her to build her own.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Mobius Strip Club of Grief, a poetry book by Bianca Stone.
Take a look at three of Alexa’s blog posts, “Thru The Appalachian Trail With Tie Goes to the Runner,” and “Bishop LaVey is The Atom,” and “Where the Wildthings Are: A Review of “Tunnelvision”.
If you wrote a thank you letter to yourself, what three things would be on that list?
I would first thank myself for my work ethic. Writing challenges you daily to give up and take an easier route, but I choose to answer my calling and attend school for it. Even on difficult days, I manage to stay focused and ambitious.
I would also thank myself for exercising my talent. Writing can only be taught to an extent. Eventually my natural abilities in storytelling and grammar became useful tools to help me succeed. I love writing, I enjoy it, and it feels like what I was meant to do.
Finally, I would thank myself for the way I love. Showing the people in my life what they mean to me, and giving kindness to others is incredibly rewarding. There’s nothing else quite like the feeling of making someone else’s day better. Accepting love from others, and loving them in return isn’t always easy, but it makes life so much happier.
In the near future, Alexa will release a transmedia project titled “The Pink Lady of Geneva,” one of her most complex works to date. As her spring school semester comes to an end, she plans to increase her blog’s posting schedule during the summer months. Also this summer, she will continue to work on and submit her larger projects to multiple literary agents in hopes of representation.