I honestly hate creative writing.
Weird, right? A reporter with a distaste for creative writing — one would think that we get tired of writing facts all day, that we have an urge deep inside ourselves to add an unnecessary flourish to our articles that editors suppress in the name of journalistic style.
The reason why is because it makes me think. It’s an introspective form of writing that forces me to think about myself, forcing me to inject my personal writing style and set myself free. It puts me out of a comfort zone that I put myself in for the sake of professionalism.
The thing about writing is that it’s the only thing I'll accept I'm good at, so it’s strange to admit that I thought about giving it up a while ago.
“I might be (expletive) at a lot of things, but I’m a damn good writer”
I’ve told my therapist and multiple people that exact quote. I’m not going to be drafted as the next Ravens quarterback. I can't do math to save my life. My singing should be considered aggravated assault for how bad it is. But I’m alright at putting words together if I say so myself.
Yet a few months ago, I thought I'd never come back to writing or journalism. I bought a GRE prep book for the pipe dream of going to grad school for ... something. My old paper where I had my first and only internship, where I freelanced for nearly five years, shut down at the end of January, a month after I left once I read the writing on the walls.
Rejection letters from jobs piled up, coronavirus hit, my motivation disappeared. I was on the brink of admitting defeat and leaving the industry altogether. Why bother running a race if the finish line is never in sight?
“Cause (expletive) it, that’s why”
I have a bit of a foul mouth, as you might be able to tell. That’s not a direct quote specific to this situation, but it fits. I feel like it’s what I say to justify decisions from applying to jobs to ordering Taco Bell after midnight.
It’s mostly the same reasoning why I decided to text Miguel Pineda, GovSight’s vice president, after a mutual family member of ours gave me his phone number and told me he’s looking for political writers. The rest is history and also in GovSight’s archives under my byline.
It’s ok to be lost
...most times. If you’re in the woods, you might be in some trouble. But career-wise, absolutely. The great thing about not knowing where you’re going in life is that any direction you take is the right direction, because it’s the one you chose. You’ll either learn it wasn’t the right one or you’ll find out it was.
Who knows where I’ll be in a month, in a year, in five years. I’m not sure what job I’ll have, whether I’ll go to grad school, or if I’ll go back to covering high school football and city council meetings for another local newspaper. But right now, I know that I’m an editor for some of the brightest reporters I’ve met and that I’m writing to inform the public about their government. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
No matter what happens, I’ll never really leave journalism. It’s a part of me, something I can’t live without. I have no idea where life will take me, and I’m ok with that. But there is one thing I do know for sure: I’m a damn good writer.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.