When I was little, I wanted to be a lot of things. A doctor. A ballerina. A paleontologist.
But most of all, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote “articles” for the kid newspaper I made up for my third grade class. I created stories about my favorite cartoon (Sailor Moon, if you really want to know). After reading a book I liked, I’d try imitating that author’s style.
Here I am, years later, sometimes being paid to do this kind of thing. I don’t think I’m anything special. I’m just another mediocre student journalist who hasn’t been focusing on her writing lately. With the rapid changes to the media field, I’m doing my best to become a jack of all trades – someone who cannot only write and edit, but take photos and video and audio, someone who can design a magazine page on InDesign or post breaking news through some random CMS.
I remind myself daily that I got into this business not to write, but to tell stories.
Yet I yearn for it.
I was reminded of this last week while I was working the ticket desk at the Chautauqua performances. I sat around with this man who asked me about my aspirations. When I told him I was a journalism major, he presumed I was a writer. He said he enjoyed writing – he’d wake up every morning and just write something, anything, whatever happened to pour out of him.
I don’t approach writing in that way. When I have something to say, I’ll write, but I’ve never seen the point of it if it doesn’t mean anything. What’s funny is that this thought process contradicts the point of Twitter, which I’m a huge fan of. I view Twitter as a way of sharing my thoughts (in 140 character or less, of course) instead of writing short, thoughtful sentences that mean something.
I guess at the end of the day, I want to know that when it comes down to it, I will still be the writer I wanted to be as a child. I want to develop my own style, a style that distinctly sounds like me. I want the words I write to paint a picture so vivid that whomever reads them sees the story in his mind, makes him feel something. I want to write for myself, because this is the work that I do, the work that I will have to look back on someday.