I started out as a journalism major at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
I had no idea what I was supposed to do when I went to college. All I knew was that people always told me that I was a good writer and so naturally I signed up as a journalism major. It was my roundabout path to my hopes of working for E Entertainment News but I ever so quickly realized that I could not survive the news background that was probably needed for that career.
I hated news. I remember how strict my journalism 101 class was. You failed if you misspelled a name and there was no room for creativity in presenting the who, what, when, where, and why of a story. Where I am grateful for having those classes because I think ultimately it helped me become a better writer all-around, that’s never what I wanted to do. From the beginning, I always loved magazine writing vs. newspaper and I won a high school award for creative writing. Why was I completely blind to the fact that I always wanted to write more creatively?
Even now that I have a blog, occasionally I find myself envying other writers who are writing features and conducting interviews. But at a certain point I had to ask myself, “do you want to be the interviewer or the interviewee?” Clearly these roles become interchangeable for many writers, but ultimately, I want to talk a lot more about what I think than presenting a story on others. I am not a reporter. Nor do I want to be. So, why would I ever waste the time? Because social media. LOL. Sometimes bylines make other writers seem more viable, more established, but if that’s not what you do, why should you care?
Do you think about the fact that there are various styles and types of writing? We often will compare ourselves in arenas that we were never even really in to begin with. There are times where I have felt like, “I’m not even good enough to write something like that.” And then I quickly realize, I don’t want to write stuff like that. HA! And then there are other times when I’m clearly just putting others on a pedestal because a lot of journalism isn’t even that good these days. I mean when did we just start regurgitating press releases? But I digress.
It’s important that you think about the style or type of writing you actually want to produce. It’s okay to do whatever it is that you do. Are you an essayist? A reporter? An op-ed writer? Blogger? Whatever it is, know that you are not less established or accomplished because you chose a different path. I often see people turn their nose up about bloggers because they’re not in print. Really? Checks are still cashing from online writing last time that I checked.
Click to Tweet /// You are not less established or accomplished because you choose a certain style of writing.
For me, it’s important that people realize I am a writer first that has a blog. Not that I think there is anything wrong with being a blogger. But I personally would not want to box myself in that way. I write books, short stories, poetry, and blog posts and articles. Writer, is all encompassing of those things for me. But if you are a blogger, own it. If you are a poet, own it. It’s important that you know who you are as a writer.
And it will change over time. I love my online space. But I have also always been a sucker for print. So it means something to me to see my name on the cover of a book, whether it’s self-published or not. Play the field. Try different things and most importantly, don’t be afraid.
Publishing deals, printed bylines and big contracts will always be a driving force in the writing industry. But we are creating new landscapes whether the “powers that be” want to accept that or not. I always say, just make sure you are doing your best at whatever it is that you choose. There are AMAZING blogs out here. Well written and successful without even seeing an ounce of ink. Bylines will not validate you. It’s all in the writing.
The focus here then, is to continue becoming a better writer. I’m in the process of going back and deleting some old blog posts that simply no longer fit the brand aesthetic and it’s laughable. I really thought my little 500 word posts were doing something. But I’ve grown. Here I am. An author, event planner, writing coach and much more because I have been dedicated to the process. I know who I am. And that is one of the most important steps in becoming a great writer. And even as I evolve and grow, I’ve learned how to articulate that process in my writing.
I am a writer and all that means. I love words. I read often. I love pen and paper and adding new terms to my vernacular. Who are you as a writer? It’s time that you’ve learned how to define it for yourself and climb out of the identity crisis that you’ve been in chasing after what’s popular as opposed to highlighting your strengths. This is a tip in writing and really in life, “When you compare yourself to others, you are cheating the gift that God has given you specifically.”
Remember, no one can tell your story or a story like you.