February 02, 2004

Write what?

First, a note about writing. I like to write; writing is easy. Look how it just pours out of my fingertips....sure it might not be good initially, but unlike something like carpentry, there is no measure twice, cut once rule. Nope, unless you have some sort of deadline of impending doom and you didn't start early enough, you can always go back and change something and make it better. If I felt like it, I could whip out an old draft of a paper from last year and fix it. Yippee! That said, when I grow up (which is just a few short months from now) I would like to write.

Write what, you ask?

Well, sorry to disappoint, but not my master's thesis. Not quite yet, anyway. Right now I'd just like to do something and get paid. Maybe make enough money to get a sofa upon which to take a nap in the evenings...but that is just a dream at the moment.

As part of my quest to find out what type of writing I'd like to do, I got an internship where I write in public relations mode. Overall, it's a valuable experience. I'm learning all sorts of things left and right. But I'm also learning that I don't really care for public relations. Sure, I can do it, and I might even be good at it, but do I want to do it?

Good question. See, press releases are unreal and possibly pointless. First, you write the press release from other already-written things. You can even fudge quotes, which is a big no-no in journalism. Then you have to get everything approved by absolutely everybody. I'm not big on getting stuff "approved." I think it's weird that you have to do this when what you wrote the release from was "approved" to begin with. Very odd. Anyway, you put six or so hours into this article, and then you send it out to news organizations. They can decide to use your article for a story idea, not use your article at all, or they can hack it up into bits and make it a "news brief."

That is scary. Why write it if it is just going to meet the circular file, or worse yet, a pair of scissors? I'm lucky at my internship, though, that all press releases get put on their website...then at least six hours of work goes somewhere.

But still, if suddenly all of the PR people in the world disintegrated, would anybody notice? I bet it would take a few weeks for editors to notice that their stack of press releases had diminished, but would they care? Or would they celebrate?

In this current state, I think I'd better just stick to "writing" and leave off the whole "public relations" bit. Of course, this is all subject to change, as I am known to be fickle.

Posted by Julie Young at February 2, 2004 09:52 PM

Hooray for fickleness! If that's even a word... better break out the Webster's again. Meanwhile, I wholeheartedly understand your plight for a job that will lead to owning a sofa. It's the little things that keep me motivated as well.

Posted by: Donna R. Hibbs at February 3, 2004 08:56 AM

Julie, I think you're a wonderful writer, and that you'll be happy in just about anything that you do--so long as it IS writing. Although, truly loving what you do is a blessing...

Good luck with that sofa :^) Get some throw pillows and a nice warm blanket for those naps, too!

Posted by: Karissa at February 3, 2004 09:21 PM

Take it from a real "adult" (or at least someone pretending to be one and apparently fooling everyone so far), stick with what you love. Or at least with what you like quite a bit. In my continual quest to "find myself" and still make money, I'm finally melding the two! In addition to getting to play editor of e-magnify and write some nifty (and some dry) articles, I'm thrilled to say that my freelancing is happening. I'm currently editing a book -- how cool is that? And, I have a comfy couch. My mom calls it “fat people furniture” because you can sink into it. I guess it’s good for hiding, or resting, the fat.

So my sage advice to you is to keep writing, even if it is just press releases. Better to get a sofa through press releases than to have to sit on the floor and write poetry. Sit on the couch and write poetry! Or fiction, or user manuals... whatever it is that makes you glad to be you.

Posted by: Jenn at February 9, 2004 10:08 PM
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