Nina Herzog (’16): Re-Establishing a Writer’s Identity

A 2009 alumna, writer Nina Herzog arrived for her second Saltonstall residency with one goal: to finish the final chapters of a nonfiction book that had been languishing in file boxes. But Nina didn’t feel like a writer anymore. “I hadn’t been writing regularly for quite a few years,” she says. Upon arriving at Saltonstall, the pressure to produce something quantifiable — a certain amount of completed work — felt overwhelming.

But Nina’s fellow Saltonstall colleagues helped shift her focus. “(They) have established such an extreme ‘okay-ness’ here,” she says with a laugh. “I felt so liberated from the burdens that close you down as a writer, that I instantly dismissed the goal I came here with.” Instead, her focus became more personal. “I wanted to re-establish my identity as a writer,” she explains. “And I wanted to leave (Saltonstall) with a framework of a (writing) practice.”

She’s succeeding with both. Working full-time made the second goal just as important as the first. “What I’m actually doing is discovering what my practice is going to be for that one small hour (I have) every day before work,” she says, sounding inspired. “I’ve also begun writing again, re-established connections with an editor and agent, and I’m hoping to complete a short nonfiction piece in time for the Open House.”