Growing up, most kids dread writing assignments. Book reports brought about eye rolls and grabbing CliffsNotes to squeak out a report in the nick of time.
Not me. I loved it. What I loved more than the reading and the writing was doing it under pressure and on tight deadlines. It was exhilarating to get a final paper done with mere hours, sometimes minutes, to spare.
Most writers live in two worlds. The one in which everyone else roams and the one where their imaginations run wild. There is something about putting words onto paper, or now on a screen, that allows the thoughts in writers’ minds to manifest as reality.
I fell in love with journalism in my junior high years thanks to Barbara Walters. As I went through high school and honed skills with a very encouraging English/Journalism teacher, it soon became clear that writing was the only college major I could consider. I never loved school or studying, so in order to push my way through four years of college, I had to choose the one thing that made early classes worth it.
I wanted to take my place at the anchor desk like Babs, but my Midwestern dialect – speaking too fast and not annunciating well enough – kept me to field reporter and copy writer. After an amazing internship at NBC 5 Chicago, I moved to a small town in Arizona to launch my journalism career.
There is something about the interview, the slow divulgence of information and personal conversation. There is something about building a relationship with those in your community, in civil service, DEA agents, and occasionally a celebrity. Now I’ve interviewed athletic celebrities and even mascots – Red Bird from St. Louis. I’ve enjoying talking with Ed McMahon and sitting in press conferences with Noah Wyle.
I’ve covered elections, council meetings, police beats and education news. But there is still something about bringing out someone’s personal story. Making the everyday person on the street into a household name, even if just for a week in their small community.
In my reporter days, we had a weekly feature in our community newspaper. The Personality Profile allowed us to find the hidden gems within our coverage communities. Most people are hesitant to talk about themselves and don’t feel they have anything importance to share. As conversations developed, their inner story is revealed and everyone has a story.
Writing doesn’t just allow for the author to put their works into the hands of readers. It allows authors to bring their subjects to life. To share a portion of their imagination. To bring a glimpse of how we see the world as people, places and things to unlock and share.
Now more than 20 years since making the decision to write for a living, I’ve come home to it. I bring with me over a decade of journalism experience, five years of marketing and public relations writing and even a few years in non profit outreach. Each of those jobs and years of experience aid in my ability to manage time, work under deadlines, get the story out and touch the hearts of readers. That’s still the best job I can imagine.