You might know Steven Froias as co-chair of New Bedford Open Studios, or maybe you’ve seen him around downtown on AHA! nights, or maybe you bought one of his awesome hand-lettered signs at Craftorama this year. Perhaps you even follow the New Bedford Now Facebook page, which Steven is behind.
Steven is involved in all the good things happening in New Bedford these days, and most recently we’ve had the pleasure of working with him at Groundwork! to plan the New Bedford Book Festival. In this interview, he shares the secret to getting up early and staying up late, and a jazz playlist that just might make you as witty and creative as he is.
What’s your profession?
I am a writer, editor and social media specialist by day and an artist by night. I guess you could say I am an events coordinator, too, utilizing my media skill set to organize and promote. I write and edit for a news publication in New Jersey and handle their web postings and social media outlets as a day job. Since returning to New Bedford full-time, I have also spent a lot of time getting involved in public events such as New Bedford Open Studios, which I co-chaired during last year’s tour, and now the first-ever New Bedford Book Festival. I am happy to be a member of the AHA! steering committee and and a member of the New Bedford Local Cultural Council, too.
Describe a typical work day for you.
I am one of those freakish people who wake up insanely early and get right to work! Most often, I am at my computer between 5 – 6 a.m. It’s actually a good, quiet time to write and edit. Sometimes I get a lot of my “heavy lifting” done for the day by 9 a.m.
What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?
Staying connected! Because my day job is done entirely via the Internet from another state, it sometimes feels unreal. Getting involved in community events helps keep me grounded – and lets me interface with entities during the day who speak rather than meow. (My two cats are my home-office companions!)
Do you have a morning routine?
See above – plus, I try to get an hour of exercise in early in the day, too. I don’t feel functional if I can’t get a walk, bike ride or trip to the gym in before noon.
What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?
Taking a nap! HaHa – Seriously, because I wake up so early yet still go to sleep between 11 – midnight, I really need an hour of sleep during the day. I tend to lose energy between 2 – 4 p.m. and try to get some shut-eye then. I can become cranky if I don’t. I highly recommend a daily nap. It makes you feel as if you’re getting two days out of one!
What do you listen to during the day?
An excellent writer and friend, Craig Dowd turned me onto jazz a few years back when I edited a special series he wrote about a summer jazz concert series – and I’ve never looked back. From authentic New Orleans to classic Chet Baker to the fresh sound of Erykah Badu, it fills my MP3 player. I funk it up with performers like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Tina Turner and Janelle Monáe. The soundtrack to “Treme”, “From Billie Holiday To Edith Piaf: Live In Marciac” by the Wynton Marsalis Quintet & Richard Galliano; and “Chet Baker in Paris” are part of my permanent playlist.
How do you benefit from using a coworking space?
I couldn’t do without it – and discovering Groundwork! after I moved here full-time has made all the difference in my positive attitude toward New Bedford. It is so necessary to “go outside yourself” – whether you work in an office or not – if you aim to be a creative person with purpose, I think. A co-working space helps you do that; a great co-working space like Groundwork! mandates that you do that by setting the agenda. It’s not only the connections you make in a co-working space. It’s the progressive vibe and atmosphere that make you want to do more of everything you like to do. It’s like the best college campus you ever experienced – except it’s for life!
What’s in your digital toolbox?
Well, I’m pretty simple. Every website I work on is created with WordPress with varying degrees of special CSS editing. I find their Jetpack suite of tools fantastic. They can really help elevate a simple site into a much more textured one with very little effort. I think everyone should install it and put its functions to good use.
What is the most surprising or unusual aspect of your life?
That I’m living in New Bedford! Born and raised here, I left and spent many years in the NY/NJ area. Although this unique, funky city has always had a hold on me, and I always anticipated living here again, the timing really occurred because of a series of events I had little to do with…thankfully, it’s all good though and I’m loving it.
What inspires you?
Places. I tend to “feel” places deeply and draw inspiration from very simple things like just walking down a certain street. I love walking everywhere and feel attached to a place by doing just that whenever possible. It energizes me as well as inspires me.