In the Blog

Jennifer Cowan: Writing to Reach Her Goals

December 10th, 2009     by Desirée O     Comments

Every other Thursday I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!

So without further delay, let me introduce the wonderful Jennifer Cowan…

photo credit: Kevin Konnyu

Having written professionally for the past two decades, chances are you’ve seen something Jennifer Cowan has been a part of. With television credits that include writer and Executive Story Editor of Producing Parker, Show Me Yours, Traders and Big Sound; she also has written multiple scripts for the CBC/FoxKids teen soap, Edgemont, The Saddle Club, The Zack Files, Quads, and Ready or Not. On top of that, Jennifer has produced arts, pop culture and entertainment magazine programs and documentaries for CBC, CBC Newsworld, CTV, TVOntario and CityTV.

Her most recent accomplishment is the novel earthgirl, which follows the eco-evolution of 16-year-old Sabine Solomon, as well as a blog that is written in the character’s voice so that readers have an opportunity to explore the ideas in the book. As this week’s Shameless Woman Jennifer tells us about figuring out what needs to be done to make things happen.

What drives you to do what you do?

I am so lucky to be involved in something creative that I love. And I guess it’s the satisfaction of having the forum, determination and hopefully talent to actually achieve things. I try to set goals that are high, yet realistic for myself then figure out what needs to be done to make things happen.

How does being a woman empower / challenge you?

Having never been a man, I don’t know the difference really. I think there are some doors that are closed and require a bit more prying for women, even now. At the same time it’s possible to get through doors that men might not be able to access with the same ease, or style!

What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?

I think it’s important to be realistic about your goals and seek out mentors who can help you understand what it takes to get places. Anyone who says it’s luck is missing the point. Luck is part of the equation and I am very privileged to live in a wonderful city, country and creative community that affords me many luxuries. But never underestimate the importance of hard work. And having a skill that is important to other people. Our media saturated culture makes it seem like being pretty and flirty and having a camera trail you is enough. Enough for what, I often wonder.

Name one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?

Wow that’s an incredible question. It’s hard to think of one. Two writers who I think are incredible for very different reasons are Miranda July (No One Belongs Here More Than You) and Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness). Both write short stories. Miranda’s are quirky, dark and urban. Pam’s are about women in the wild having incredible adventures. They are immense talents who will take you places you’ve never imagined. As for place, every young woman should know where they feel comfortable and cultivate that. Whether it’s a real tangible location or merely an emotion or feeling you get doing something you love or being with people you love. And never under estimate the power of a puppy to make you smile!

What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?

Being true to yourself and living with integrity - and by that I mean staying conscious about the paradoxes and contradictions that we face every day. We are modern people living in a consumer society and that’s rife with all kinds of choices and questions. Ask those questions, make those choices and make sure you act in a way that gives you meaning, hope and happiness. Be your best at being a better you.

Check out Jennifer’s writing by visiting the earthgirl blog at

EarthGirl by Jennifer Cowan

Tags: shameless women

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