Today’s Daily Post asks: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?
As you might suspect from the title of this blogsite, writing is my passion. I was an avid reader as a child (still am) and often dreamed about writing my own stories and books, and even movies. My heroes ranged from Sherlock Holmes and Ellery Queen to Conan the Barbarian and Batman. In the ’80s, I became a huge comic book fan, reading just about everything Marvel and DC had to offer. I even started writing and drawing my own comic book one day (though I never finished it). I wrote three novels, mostly handwritten while in school. The novels are in a file cabinet in my closet, waiting for me to one day dig them out and revive them.
When it came time to go to college and choose a course of study, writing was a natural pick. Unfortunately, I may not have thought it out as well as I should have. Instead of choosing a path toward a degree in fine arts (and a potential teaching job), I chose to learn journalism. Here, after all, was a profession in which I could learn how to write and make money writing. I sometimes wish I had chosen the former path.
As I’ve stated elsewhere on this site, journalism is a bear. It’s certainly rewarding in that you do get to meet fascinating people, you get to write about intriguing and newsworthy events, and you do get to see your byline in print. A lot.
Sometimes the sources are uncooperative. Sometimes they are just plain rude, or even stupid. Most of the time they are very cordial and our discussions/interviews go really well.
Sometimes the stories are difficult to pull together. There are so many facts or angles to the story, it may take a while to figure out how to tell it in a compelling fashion. But other times, the stories just flow.
I especially liked seeing the finished product in print the next day, along with a neat headline, photograph, and, of course, my byline. I appreciated it when my sources thanked me for my efforts and my attention to accuracy. Such feedback seemed to make my efforts worthwhile and knowing that what I was doing was having an impact was rewarding.
It hurt deeply if I made a mistake. I hated making typos. I hated it if I used wrong word or added up numbers wrong. I hated it if I ever misquoted someone (very rare, but it did happen). I hated having to write corrections.
I hated the long hours. I hated having to work nights and weekends. I hated bossy editors. I hated the low pay.
I enjoyed later on becoming an editor, but it had its own downside. Here, I was able to work with other reporters and shape the news of the day, from story planning to editing to publication. My skills as a writer and editor grew each and every day, and the end product always gave me that same thrill of accomplishment and pride. I liked my paycheck better as an editor, too.
But for all of that, I hated that fact that all of the above kept me from my one true passion: writing fiction.
I’m no longer a working journalist, thanks to corporate downsizing. It’s taken a while to get used to that fact, and the loss of that regular paycheck. But the positive is that now, more than ever, I am able to focus on my true passion. I am writing fiction. I am learning about screenwriting. I will finish a novel this year. I will finish a screenplay this year.
My journey of transformation, my journey to realizing my childhood dream, is getting closer and closer to fruition.