The good thing about being a writer is that you have plenty of company. That is also the bad thing because of all of the competition.
Yes, there are plenty of other writers who enjoy their profession. But it’s a lot harder to my make a living as a writer than it used to be.
Remember the good old days when newspapers were delivered to every doorstep in every town in the country? Those subscription fees helped pay for all of the reporters, photographers, editors, and other newspaper staff. But the old printed newspaper is dying off as people get their news online.
I remember working for magazines and newspapers when I was young. After college I would go wherever I could find work, even if that meant moving to different cities every six or twelve months when one job ended. It was fun learning how different media companies worked and I tried to learn as much as I could.
What was there to learn from other writers?
- People have different writing styles
- Tiny bits of information sometimes mean quite a lot to a story
- There are important deadlines
- There’s always work to be done for the next edition
- Recent news matters a lot
- It helps to be extroverted and social
- Facts matter a lot
- Get lots of good quotes from relevant sources
I had a lot of fun at those media, newspaper and magazines jobs and I think about those times a lot.
- The time I got lost in Los Angeles traffic on a rainy morning on my first day at a magazine
- The time I was answering ten calls a minute at a newspaper and the metro editor kept handing me things to type with a note at the top that read, “Need This Typed Right Now!”
- The time I worked at a television station and assisted on the editing and syncing of video for the evening news stories
- The time I worked as a TV camera operator for a local television station that covered high school sports games
- The time I worked in newspaper circulation and loaded thousands of newspapers into vans and trucks
- The time I worked in radio advertising and got to meet so many cool radio personalities
What do I think is important for someone who wants to be a writer?
- Follow your interests
- Work hard
- Be a really great writer, if you can
- If you can’t be great, be good
- Keep writing
- Support other writers and build your network
- Try to have fun
I’ve always enjoyed working for media companies. It’s not the most well-paid profession but I’ve sure had a lot of fun along the way. In some ways I’m just getting started because every day I meet new great writers and people on this platform where you’re reading this story.