Raise your hand if you have a question.
People ask me things all the time.
An old fella wearing several toques once asked if he could touch my bum. Another time, a man at a coffee shop turned to me and said, "You can see the light, right?" Then he asked me if I thought I'd make it through another Christmas.
Q: What kind of writer are you?
A: I'm a prose writer, with literary leanings and a particular love for creative non-fiction. Some of my published work is on my writing page. I also write The Margette, a collection of short essays, one at a time.
Q: Why did you create The Jill Margo Mini-Mag/The Margette?
A: In the spring of 2014, I read Austin Kleon's book called Show Your Work, which is about doing just that. It made so much sense to me. I started thinking about what I could share on the Internet and how to do it. At the same time, I was thinking about professionalizing myself as a writer and starting a freelance business—this one—and I wanted a way to give people something, in a way that wasn't about icky self-promotion, so that we could connect. Thus, The Jill Margo Mini-Mag was born, which has now evolved into The Margette. I use a great service called TinyLetter to send the issues right to subscribers' inboxes. I post issues online here too (though I still think the best way to read it is in your own inbox). It feels like a gift to me. A gift in the sense that it's a little prezzie I write to give to people, and also in terms of what it's given me back: an amazing community who say lovely, gratifying things about it, like this: "Just when I thought I was alone, along comes Jill Margo to say: 'We are all in this together.'"
Q: What kind of hustler are you?
A: First, let's get the obvious thing out of the way: I'm not that kind of hustler. What I am is the kind of hustler who can start an enterprise for under $100 and spread the word about it in a way that feels true to me. The kind of hustler who has a heart that's bigger than the coldest parts of Canada and who works smart and generously for her clients. A hustler who sets her own schedule and still has time to write and who doesn't want to be a starving artist. And a hustler who sometimes wears cowgirl boots. I'm not sure what this last thing has to do with hustling, but somehow the two things go together in my head.
Q: Why did you create The Pop-Up Shop?
A: The Pop-Up Shop allows me to use the talents and experiences I’ve gathered over the years to help other prose writers and creative entrepreneurs while ensuring that the rent gets paid and I can still buy a fresh flower from the local florist every week (a writer’s income isn’t always predictable or plentiful). It’s a great fit for me to work with people on something I feel passionately about: telling stories. It also allows me to split my time between my own writing and helping others with theirs. This is kind of in keeping with the pop-up shop concept, in which artisans work behind the scenes, then pop up to sell their wares.
Q: I think I want to work with you. How do I know if we're a good fit?
A: Honestly, what you see here is what you get. My real personality and intentions are all over this site. If you like what I'm puttin' down, I bet we'll get on swell. You can always say hello though and see if we connect. You can also book a free 20-minute consultation call during my shop hours, Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 3pm and 8pm EST.
Q: Where are you located?
A: I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Specifically in Queen West, which, according to Vogue Magazine is the world's second hippest neighbourhood. I don't have a big beard though—and even if I did, I'd have come by the lumbersexual look honestly, having grown up in a small, coastal logging town where our family was friends with a logger named Bill who lost his leg felling a tree. If you asked him for a hand, he'd take off his prosthetic leg, chuck it at you, and say, "How 'bout a leg?" But I digress...
Jill Margo has been long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-fiction Prize and a finalist for both a Western Magazine Award and The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize. She has been published in literary magazines such as Geist and The Walrus. Her in-depth interview with Sheila Heti can be found online at Numero Cinq. She’s also one of the contributors for the New York Times bestseller, Women In Clothes. She has over ten years of experience in literary admin, including as curator and host of two renowned reading series, and as the executive director of The Victoria School of Writing. She lives in Toronto, where she writes and helps other prose writers and creative entrepreneurs with their writing.