So, how did it all start?
Sometime last year I entertained the idea of doing a PhD, and since I’m super into women’s personal development, self-esteem, confidence, self-love etc, I thought that ‘allying a writing genre that I adore’ to ‘helping women feel empowered through their creativity’ would be an amazing topic to research.
I had alreay written my first novel, Loveandpizza.it, (a “coming of age”, self-discovery story) during my MA, so what better “excuse” to finish the second novel as a PhD project? Great, eh?
Unfortunatelly, I couldn’t find a supervisor for the chick lit genre, so I just put the project in the drawer.
Until I noticed a pattern: just like Loveandpizza.it, my current novel draft was also put in the drawer. In the meantime, I’d got to know this amazing group of women (Classy Career Girl) and started a mastermind group to develop a personal project of mine that had been dragging for ages (The Writing Shed), and it was taking so much of my free time (I also have a full-time job) that I just “didn’t have time” to write.
Gosh, how I missed it! For a few months I was all about developing The Writing Shed (which is a real shed!) and my novel was the last of my priorities. This is when I say how important it is to have a support network. My mastermind group is formed by four incredible, strong, creative, supportive and hard-working women (me included! hehe), and we have helped and supported each other through creation of websites (Stephanie, the Techy Girl, helped me make The Writing Shed website perfect, just the way I always imagined it! Now I can create this one on my own. ;)); getting the real writing shed organised so I could focus (Elizabeth, The Lazy Organizer, helped me arrange my stuff in a way that I’d have all I needed at hand, and had as little distraction as possible); and making some creative time in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a full-time job and managing a new project (enters Rebecca, from Creative Habitat. Even though her work is directed to busy mums – I’m not one yet -, her coaching helped me create space in my daily schedule to work on my novel.)
And now… guess what…
I’M INVITING YOU IN! 🙂
I’m inviting you to the wonderful world of chick lit! That’s why I created this “baby website” (The Writing Shed’s child, really) ~ so you and I can focus on our writing for once.
Here’s what my project is all about:
“Chick lit and its strong heroines – a tool for women self-discovery and empowerment”
As it is the norm for a PhD in Creative Writing, my research will consist of two components.
The creative component will be a work of fiction – a novel temporarily entitled “Crafts Bea”. (More on this later)
Chick lit is one of my favourite genres to read and my genre of choice to write in (my first novel was developed during my MA. It is called “” and is for sale on Amazon Kindle). During the process of writing it, I experimented vastly while discovering my voice, and finding effective ways of organising my writing. I spent time reading other chick lit novels, as well as theory books on writing, in order to hone my writing technique. My focus in writing my first novel therefore, was trying my best at writing good and believable dialogue while catering for my main character’s “needs” in the story.
What I expect to do with this project/research and creative writing is to achieve a new level in creating a chick lit novel, and to help you to do the same. I thought about a character who is a writer herself, but I wanted to get out of the chick lit cliché where the main character works in publishing or the media (Harzewski, 2011). What I intend to do is to use self-reflection and even touch on “writing for self-discovery (Schneider and Killick, 2010) and personal fiction writing (Willis, 1984), as for this novel I intend to do a fictionalised version of myself in dealing with bouts of depression, going through therapy/counselling/coaching and gaining confidence through creating: in my personal experience through writing, but in Bea’s experience, through creating/sewing beautiful things, creating new friendships, taking back control of her life after a failed marriage. (Note: I may have Bea keep a journal)
The purpose of the critical component of this project is to place Bea and her crafts in the context of the contemporary women’s life, and how being creative – in whatever form it may take – can grant them self-confidence and empowerment to do/become/achieve anything they set their minds and hearts to.
In my critical commentary, I will explore the history of chick lit and how it has evolved during the years. I will be exploring the definition of chick lit and discussing similarities between the genre with classical, timeless writers such as Jane Austen (Potter, 2007 and Baloria, 2014)) and their heroines. I will discuss “chick lit in historical settings” (Skyback, 2015), and “chick lit as a postfeminist fairy tale” (Ferriss and Young, 2006). I will also be citing modern chick lit influencers, such as Marian Keyes, Candace Bushnell, Jojo Moyes, etc. and how chick lit could be used as “healing and self-help manual” (Leffler, 2014). Therefore, some of the ideas and theories I will be discussing concern the theme of psychology.
My argument for this project is:
Can chick lit be used as a tool for women empowerment and self-discovery?
What do you think? 😉
Are you in this project with me?