Monday, May 7, 2012
May 7 - May I tell you something about writing?
I don't have any writing advice, and it's too soon to really say much about my WIP. So, I decided to tell you all how I got interested in writing.
I've always loved reading, ever since I was a little kid. For the most part, I also enjoyed writing. However, I never, ever thought of it as something I was good at or something I could pursue as a hobby or career. I wasn't on the newspaper staff in high school (or even college), and I never submitted a poem or short story to the literary magazine. I changed my mind every week about what I wanted to study in college and what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I never even considered writing.
I finally decided on majoring in communications in college, focusing on public relations. Why? I don't know. It seemed fun. During junior year, I had to take a news writing class as part of my major. One day in class, my instructor came over and asked me if I'd found an internship for the summer yet. I had not. I had interviewed at one place for a PR internship and never heard back, and I was having trouble finding something. My instructor said he'd get me an internship at the newspaper where he worked, the Post-Tribune. It's a pretty big daily newspaper in Northwest Indiana. I couldn't believe it!
I've always wondered about this but never asked him...Why me? Was I really that good? He didn't offer internships to anyone else in the class. Well, whatever it was, I'm so glad he gave me that chance!
Of course, I hadn't planned on staying in Indiana for the summer, so that was a bit of a problem, but it all worked out. My internship went really well, and I loved it. I learned so much. I studied abroad in England the fall of my senior year, but when I got back to school in January, the newspaper let me write for them again. Plus, they gave me my own column about events and activities on campus.
After graduation, I moved back home to Illinois, so I wasn't able to continue writing for the newspaper. However, I got a job as a copywriter, working at the corporate office of the pharmacy America trusts (you can google that if you're curious). Then I saw a job posting in my hometown's local newspaper. They were looking for someone to cover school board meetings. I got the job and I did that part-time, and after covering the (boring) board meetings for awhile, approached my boss with an idea I had for a feature story. A girl I went to high school with was in the (awesome) movie Center Stage and was dancing on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera. I got the go-ahead from my boss to write the story, and I've been writing feature stories ever since. Of all the jobs I have/had, this has always been my favorite.
I've always wanted to thank my news writing instructor for getting me that internship and sparking my interest in writing, but I have no idea how to get ahold of him. He stopped teaching at my college and doesn't work at the newspaper anymore, and now it's been over 10 years, so I really have no idea how to track him down.
So how does this all relate to my WIP and my desire to be an author? Well, apparently at some point after college, I told my dad that I wanted to write a book. He's never forgotten that. I am pretty sure it was around the time I discovered chick lit (more about that in a future post). Over the years I have thought about writing a book, but never really did anything about it. Until I started reading YA. Then I came up with an idea for a story, and started reading more books, and blogs, and talking to other writers. And now here we are!
I'll finish this post with the best writing advice I have ever gotten: