When I was in seventh grade, I won a Scholastic Magazine writing contest. One of my teachers, a habit-wearing-English-teaching nun asked me to enter the contest. I don’t remember the details clearly now but I wrote a story, something about calling a boy you liked and asking him out on a date. I couldn’t believe I actually won.
In college, I decided to take a Humanities class called Comedy, Wit and Humor. Easy “A+” I thought. The class was neither funny, witty nor humorous and it certainly wasn’t an easy “A”. The Professor, after reading an essay that I pored over, told me that reading it was like, “Roller skating through a museum.” Was that a compliment, my naïve 20 year old self wondered? What did that mean? My writing was brilliant but he really wanted to go to the Guggenheim?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Long before blogging became popular, journaling and newsletters were all the rage. I loved listening to people talk, to hear their stories, to find out what made them tick, why they were who they were. I wrote for myself, for fun, for money, writing was my art form. During my first high school job working for a chiropractor, I developed, wrote, designed and edited a newsletter. Much to the chagrin of my children and they still cringe when I tell them the dragging details, in college I was the editor of my college yearbook. My colleagues and I used to dream of owning our own magazine (that was when print was still relevant) and I actually had a staff of writers and photographers.
My first job out of college was with a small advertising agency in Tarrytown, New York. We were a young creative bunch and had one hell of a time. I then decided, encouraged by a co-worked to work at the Marriott Marquis as a Tour and Travel Manager. This brand new hotel with 1,500 sleeping rooms was thrilling and magnificent. That job did not involve writing but it sure racked up some life experience that a writer hopes to attain to use as fodder later. And oh the stories I could tell. My co-workers were awesome, my job was great but I missed the creativity that the ad agency world provided. So I went back to the suburbs and took a job at another small agency. I was an Account Executive with a keen eye for copy and wrote most of my own. Those were my days of a big fancy office, expense account, and creativity abounding. We were branding clients back then way before the internet. There was no facebook, twitter, pinterest, tumblr, google+, or YouTube. We produced logos, taglines, brochures, commercials and wrote stories. We created content.
Then the kids came and so did the unpaid cycle of my life and the most meaningful. I worked at my husband’s publishing company part-time and eventually took over the business of publishing a real estate magazine. I created, wrote and designed pages and placed them in the careful and insightful hands of my graphic artist. Together, we created visual content. Our work captured the attention of a targeted audience.
I have written for print and online publications about authors, artists, activists, rock stars, psychics, singers, brokers, dogs, soup, hot dogs, donuts, cultural arts, street fairs, libraries, organic produce, back to school shopping, chicken, holocaust survivors, film festivals, antique stores and men cooking chili. I now use facebook, twitter, google+, pinterest and YouTube and can’t imagine how we survived without them. The world is filled with research and information at our fingertips for writing stories. Building content is exciting, fresh, frightening and exhilarating. I wonder where the next several years will take us. Will content still be king?
For now, I will take off my roller skates, put on my shoes and continue to write stories and thank my Humanities Professor for seeing the museum quality in me.