‘Adulting’ alumna talks life after Loyola
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 19:03
Loyola alumna Kelly Williams Brown has perfected the art of “adulting” in 468 easy(ish) steps.
Brown, A’06, has written a book on how to become a grown- up. “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps” comes out this May and has already received a lot of attention.
As a mass communication alumna, Brown said she took away invaluable knowledge that would later lead to her success.
“Loyola taught me how to write for an audience. Everything you create has to be useful and beautiful. You can’t waste your reader’s time,” Brown said.
Brown also learned to accept constructive criticism to become a better writer.
“In Professor Martin’s class, I would get papers back and they would be bleeding red. It was really important to have someone tell me I’m not perfect,” Brown said.
Brown visited with Martin’s communications writing class to give students some tips she has gathered throughout her career.
“Kelly is brilliant. It’s great to see how far she has come. She talked to my class about letting go of bad habits in writing. I can lecture them one hundred times over about getting rid of habits they need to break; but when they hear it from a former student, they take it as gospel and run with it,” Martin said.
Brown said that being a Loyola student was special because there is a team of people who actually care about you and your success.
Getting her start at The Maroon, Brown worked as a staff writer and a columnist. Brown said she was in line to be editor, but Hurricane Katrina halted this dream.
She came back to her alma mater this week to talk to mass communication classes about life after Loyola.
“She was really funny and I was so intrigued with her life. She has a great personality and listening to her made me excited to start working,” Aimee Brown, mass communication junior, said.
After graduating, Brown took jobs at small publications and worked her way up. She has worked in rural Mississippi, the Statesman Journal in Salem, OR and now at Leopold Ketel, an ad agency in Portland.
Brown has worked in the newspaper world most of her life, so recently taking a job at an ad agency has been a breath of fresh air.
“I think newspapers are all about doing things simply and straightforwardly, which is important. But I’ve found it’s also really fun to be working in this fantastical world of ads. I’ve written songs about sad seals and a dog who wants to meet Obama,” Brown said.
Brown used this same creativity to write “Adulting.” She said she treated her book as a reporting project. She wanted to focus on practical tidbits that you should know and your mom probably told you, but you weren’t really listening.
“I would find someone who’s good at keeping their house clean, and then I’d ask them how exactly they keep their house so clean. I was actually intrigued, because I can’t even wipe a counter properly,” Brown said.
Brown comically describes her fear of inanimate objects throughout the book and her quirky ways of dealing with this confusion.
“I always grew up wondering how bleach worked. I thought that if I even had a bottle of bleach in my house, it would somehow float out of the container and go ruin my clothes,” Brown said.
"Adulting" covers a wide range of how-to's, including domesticity, cooking, money, love, and relationships.
Brown’s book is the culmination of knowledge she has picked up throughout her lifetime. The process of creating the idea to turning in the first draft took her just about a year.
Although her book doesn’t come out until May 7, Brown is already creating a lot of buzz.
While nothing is set in stone, “Adulting” has been optioned by Warner Brothers to be made into a TV show, with Bad Robot and JJ Abrams as the producers.
“TV is always an iffy thing, but so far it’s been amazing. When I was in LA, I got to have this really cool, long conversation with JJ Abrams. I tried to play it really cool, I think I did an okay job,” said Brown.
Brown describes this entire experience as a whirlwind, and her adventure is just beginning.
“Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps” will be on sale May 7, so learn how to properly and comically use bleach and pay your bills while supporting this Loyola alum.
Melanie Potter can be reached at email@example.com